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Balabanova All Over

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[Augusta, GA, June 2, 2018] Once my visit to Congaree National Park was over, it was time to connect with friends! On my way back to Augusta, I stopped by the little town of Aiken, SC to see my Bulgarian friend Toni. In typical Bulgarian fashion, she fed me, and we skyped with another mutual Bulgarian friend.   Once back in Augusta, I only had time to change before dinner. My friend… Read More

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[Lake Worth, FL / Boca Raton, FL, Dec 25, 2017] Christmas Day! What to do, what to do? If you are in the United States, it is highly likely that you will find yourself at the movies. It’s as American as apple pie! If you know B, you also know that he’ll take any excuse to go to the movies. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we were meeting friends… Read More

[Los Angeles, CA / Boynton Beach, FL, Dec 22-24, 2017] Last year’s holiday trip to Florida did not start as planned. We were supposed to take a red-eye on Dec 21 and make a beeline for Key West and Dry Tortugas National Park before returning to the Palm Beach area on Dec 23, in time to spend the Christmas holidays with family. Unfortunately, our flight was one of over 200 canceled (many… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 23-24, 2017] I spent the last few days spending time with dear friends and family before I head back to Los Angeles. On Saturday, I spent the whole day at my friend Slaveya’s house. Another friend of hers visited, and we had 3 coffees and snacks over a six-hour period. 🙂 I always wonder why I can’t do that in the US. I cannot remember the last time I… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 15, 2017] School begins here in September 15th. It’s the same day for all schools in the whole country, and it’s a big celebration. First, your parents send you off by spilling a bucket of water outside the door for good luck. I know it sounds strange, but there is a saying that goes with it. The literal translation is something like “may everything go like on water”, which,… Read More

f[Schwerin, Germany] Hamburg presented an interesting challenge – one could day-trip very easily to Bremen, Luebeck or Schwerin from here. Bremen and Luebeck, both being Hanseatic towns, were tempting because their town centres are both on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Hanseatic towns were part of the Hanseatic league, a confederation of merchant guilds that dominated Baltic maritime trade in the middle ages. Schwerin, however, was interesting because it boasted a… Read More

[Hamburg, Germany] When we woke up on Saturday, it was pouring rain. Luckily, the rain stopped by midday and the sun was trying to poke out from behind the clouds. On weekends, there are always festivals and markets in Hamburg, so we headed to the city center to check them out. We parked close to city hall and walked over the Hafencity from there. Hafencity (Hafen means port, so this translates into… Read More

[Hamburg, Germany] Situated on the river Elbe, Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city and its own province with 1.5 million people. 2,000 bridges all over the city have earned it the nickname Venice of the North. Hamburg has the biggest number of millionaires per capita and the second largest port in Europe (Rotterdam is the largest). Two devastating fires 100 years apart – one in 1842 and one in 1943 – have… Read More

[Berlin, Germany] I had a leisurely last morning in Berlin. My train to Hamburg was not until half past noon, so I had breakfast at my favorite little bakery around the corner from my AirBnB, then went to see one last attraction – Hackesche Hoefe. These are a series of courtyards connecting restored buildings in the Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) style. The courtyards are full of shops, restaurants and there’s even a… Read More

uid[Potsdam, Germany] By Wednesday, I was ready to leave the history-heavy Berlin behind and head out of town to Potsdam, where Frederick the Great (1712 – 1786) spent his summers. In Potsdam, Frederick had two places, at opposite ends of the grand Sanssouci park (a UNESCO World Heritage site). The small, more intimate Sanssouci housed his quarters and apartments for guests. Normally, a kaiser’s residence would also have his wife’s quarters, but… Read More

[Florence, Italy] I fit in a lot more than I thought I would today, even by my standards, and that says a lot! I am looking forward to a more relaxing Friday in Firenze ahead of a couple of side trips Sarah and I are taking this weekend. At 8:30 am, I left the house and stopped in for a coffee at a place just a couple of corners away called Caffe… Read More

[Chicago, IL] A couple of major Chicago attractions book-ending a divine lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant? Not a bad way to spend another day in Chicago, I think! We started off our day at Willis Tower. Built as and still commonly referred to as Sears Tower, it was the tallest building in the world from the time it was completed in 1973 until 1998 when the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia were… Read More