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Balabanova All Over

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[Sounion, Greece, May 19, 2019] After spending more than half the day touring the ancient sites of Athens, we went back to our AirBnB to relax. This was much needed downtime before our evening adventure. In the late afternoon, we picked up our rental car from a small Hertz rental office just a 5-minute walk from our AirBnB. Our destination was about an hour and a half south of Athens. We were… 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

[Northfield, OH, Apr 12, 2019] I’ve been going to the Higher Education Data Warehousing conference since 2011. It’s an annual conference that typically takes place in April and different universities take turns hosting it. Other than my very first trip, I have always added a few days on the front and/or backend of this conference to sight-see. Thanks to this, I’ve seen Chicago, Niagara Falls, Toronto and Saguaro National Park in Tucson,… Read More

[Seattle, WA, July 22, 2018] And there it was, our last full day on this trip! It’s hard to believe we have come full circle in such a short time. We reluctantly left our cabin in the forest and headed to Seattle, WA, also known as the Emerald City. The term Emerald City came from a contest held by the Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1981. The name was selected in 1982 and… Read More

[Bellingham, WA, Thu, July 12, 2018] Those of you who’ve been with me for a while may remember our previous Ragnar adventure in Hawaii. That was back in 2016. Our crew likes to get together for a running trip once a year for either a national park half marathon or a ragnar, and this year’s honors fell to Ragnar Northwest Passage. The course for this race runs from Blaine, WA, near the… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 27, 2016] Even though our trip to the Dry Tortugas in 2016 got cancelled, we still did a day trip to Key West. B knew how much I’d looked forward to the trip and he felt bad that it fell apart. He suggested that we get up early one day, explore Miami and its environs and, if we still felt like it, head to Key West and come back… Read More

[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

[Grand Canyon National Park, Sun, Nov 26, 2017] I think I speak for all three of us when I say that we did not want to leave Phantom Ranch. I could have easily spent a week here hiking around and relaxing. Alas, we had an 11 mile trek back up to the top, so we had an early breakfast (5:30 am!!!), then packed our bags and headed out at dawn. We took… Read More

[Grand Canyon National Park, Nov 23, 2017] Laura and I arrived at Olivia’s house bright and early today, Thanksgiving day. We briefly compared pack sizes. Olivia is using the smallest pack  (18-liter) and Laura and I are both wondering how she managed to get everything she needs in there. Laura is bringing her 28-liter Gregory pack weighing about 13 lbs before water, and I’m bringing my 34-liter Osprey pack weighing in at… Read More

[Kalabaka, Greece, Sept 19, 2017] Meteora means “suspended in the air” in Greek. This name quite aptly describes the collection of monasteries precariously built on the rocks just North of the town of Kalabaka, in the Thessaly valley in Northern Greece. Meteora was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. The rocks upon which the  monasteries were built are a result of sandstone and conglomerate deposits being pushed up into a… Read More