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Balabanova All Over

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[Santorini / Athens, Greece, May 18, 2019] Our flight back to Athens wasn’t until late afternoon, which left us with some time to explore the other parts of Santorini. There is so much to this island other than Oia and its gorgeous sunsets! First, though, we made the most of our stay at Aqua luxury suites. We enjoyed our breakfast and took one last dip in the hot tub before we said… Read More

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[Santorini, Greece, May 16-17, 2019] There are over 6000 islands and islets in Greece, of which only 227 are inhabited. The Greek islands account for almost half of the country’s 16,000 km/10,000 miles of coastline. They are split into six groups based on their georgaphic location. Offbeat Greece has a great guide to the different groups. The most popular group is by far the Cyclades, which includes Mykonos and Santorini, as well… Read More

[LA/NYC, Nov 1/2, 2018] Unbeknownst to me, my boyfriend had been planning a surprise weekend trip to New York City for my birthday since February. I did not find out that our destination was NYC until the morning of my birthday, when he gave me a card featuring the Brooklyn bridge on the front and a boarding pass for a flight to NYC later that night inside! I was so surprised and… Read More

[Santa Fe, NM, Aug 31, 2018] Our trip to New Mexico over Labor Day weekend was inspired by B. He’s always wanted to see it thanks to the 1994 movie Speechless. If you haven’t heard about if before, don’t worry – I hadn’t either before B introduced me to it. The movie is about two speech writers, played by Geena Davis and Michael Keaton, who work for opposing candidates for the governorship… Read More

[Berlin, Germany] I got a hint of Germany’s tumultuous 20th century history yesterday at the German History Museum, but today I got hit in the face with it. I started with Dutch and German painters in the Gemaeldegallerie (“Painting Gallery” in German), but the day turned somber as I visited memorials dedicated to Hitler’s victims and the Berlin Wall. To get to the Gemaeldegallerie, I traveled to Potsdamer Platz. Previously a wasteland… Read More

[Berlin, Germany] In typical Nadya fashion, I spent the ENTIRE day walking around Berlin, save for a short break around dinner. I racked up 30,000 steps on my step counter, I went into four museums and I watched on amazing sunset from the dome of the Reichstag, to sum it up. I started my day with a coffee at the coffee spot just across from my AirBnB. I sat outisde and people… Read More

[Toronto, Canada] The 2016 Higher Education Data Warehousing (HEDW) conference was in Rochester, NY, hosted by the University of Rochester. As usual, the conference starts on Sunday evening, so I decided to fly out from LA with the red-eye on Friday in order to explore the surroundings on Saturday and Sunday. Upon landing in Rochester, I rented car and checked into my hotel downtown. Rochester is no bigger than Augusta, GA, where… Read More

[Salzburg, Austria] Today’s adventure entailed another day trip – this time to Salzburg, Austria. The fourth-largest city in Austria, with a population of 150,000, is famous as the birthplace of Mozart, one of the largest music festivals in Europe and one of the continent’s largest intact medieval fortresses. Its city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I made the 2.5-hour trip by train. I’m still amazed and how convenient, fast, clean… 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

[Pisa, Italy] I remember seeing pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I was growing up, and thought it’d be so fascinating to see this leaning building up close. Today, I got my wish. Pisa is an easy 75-minute train ride away from Florence. The only hard part for me was finding my train, which was not clearly marked! I ran around a bit and got really vague directions from train… Read More