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Balabanova All Over

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[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

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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), King of Prussia, spent his summers. In Potsdam, Frederick had two places, at opposite ends of the grand Sanssouci park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The small, more intimate Sanssouci palace housed his quarters and apartments for guests. Normally, a kaiser’s residence would… 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

[Chicago, IL] Kristina did not know this yet, but sightseeing with me is no joke. There are places to be seen and meals to be eaten and pictures to be taken. I have a checklist with must-dos and nice-to-dos, and I have google-mapped the place to death because my worst nightmare is wasting precious time trying to figure out where to go next, or, even worse, having to come back to an… Read More

[Normal, IL] Going on this trip was really exciting for me. I had not traveled in over 4 months and was starting to feel antsy; I had not attended the Higher Education Data Warehousing (HEDW) conference (THE conference for the work I do in my field in Higher Ed) in 3 years; and I had not been to Chicago yet – a gaping hole in my travel experience that became more evident… Read More

[London, United Kingdom] I woke up on Sunday fully expecting the cooler, cloudy, misty weather that had been forecast for that day. Instead, I saw rays of sunshine peeking through the blinds. I was very excited – that meant warmer temps, and awesome photos of London from the London Eye, which I planned on riding that day. Before that though, I had a few other London must-sees on my list. I started… Read More

[London, United Kingdom] Saturday was the first of only 2 full days I had in London, so my plan was to tackle as much of the basics as I can on that day, and have a more relaxed Sunday. My parents had been to London so I used their knowledge and maps to build an itinerary, which I then re-arranged a bit once I checked the opening times of some of the… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] Mom is always in-the-know of what is going on in the city from a cultural perspective, and she told me that the National Art Gallery is hosting a unique exhibit showcasing some of the most famous sculptures of Frenchman Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). In addition, just last week a new museum had been opened below the St. Sofia Basilica. Off we went on Tuesday to check out those two things. The… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] One “danger” of spending one’s time sweeping the streets of Sofia is over-caffeination. It’s really not that hard to do. You meet up with a friend. You sit at a cafe to catch up. It’s too early for alcohol, so you order a coffee. You run a few errands. You sit at a cafe to rest up. It’s probably still too early for a beer, so you order another coffee…. Read More