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Balabanova All Over

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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

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[Vienna, Austria] Here it is, before you know it – the last day of my trip! How did this day come so quickly! I am by no means ready to go home yet!!! Honestly, I have so quickly gotten used to the public transport and the amazing food and the architecture and real coffee (espresso) and al fresco dining and castles and high speed trains and such. Alas, I had one more… Read More

[Vienna, Austria] I had murky memories of Vienna from a high school trip in 1995. It was late December, and the city was decorated to the nines for the holidays. I remember the Christmas market in front of city hall; the main cathedral, Stephansdom; Schönbrunn with its gardens; and an evening outing on the metro during which I’m amazed we didn’t get lost – we were only 15, after all, and this… Read More

[Venice, Italy] Built 1500 years ago as an escape from the barbarians after Rome fell, Venice became a medieval powerhouse when clever middlemen turned it into a trading empire between East and West. Venice was a uniquely diverse city at the time, welcoming every race and religion, as long as they carried cash. The discovery of the Americas and new trade routes spelled trouble for Venice, but as the city declined, it became… Read More

[Florence, Italy] Today was my last full day in Florence –  I am staying here through Tuesday of next week, but I am taking side trips for the rest of my stay here. I checked out the last few attractions I had not been to but I also did a couple of things today that were distinctly Florentine – and those were much more enjoyable; may I even say, divine. I first… 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

[Istanbul, Turkey] Our last day in Istanbul was jam-packed with activities. We had plenty left to see in this ancient city and we were determined to get to most if not all. We started our day with trip #3 to the Blue Mosque. The goal – to finally get inside! On the first day, the line was so long we decided to try later, and the next day we went too late… Read More

[Mysore, India] Faced with the prospect of spending the entire Saturday in Bangalore with hardly anything to do and a late flight to Hong Kong (11 pm), we decided to take another road trip instead. The destination: Mysore, the cultural capital of the state of Karnataka, and a city known for its palaces and temples.