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Balabanova All Over

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[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

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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

[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

[Kona, HI, Oct 16, 2016] Sunday was our day to celebrate! Our organizer extraordinaire Arev had arranged for a lunch for all 36 of us at the Kona Brewery – same one we visited on our first day here. It was great to see everyone and hear the other teams’ stories! Everyone had some good ones to share! We took lots of photos, of course! One set of photos was the corresponding… Read More

[Flagstaff, AZ] Mother Nature gave us a rainbow and took away a sunrise. We woke up today to rain in Monument Valley, which meant we were going to do our sunrise tour with little chance of catching the morning light.

[Monument Valley, UT] After our tour of Antelope Canyon, we drove out to Monument Valley, another 2 hours east of Page, AZ. We arrived there around 4 pm – or was it 5 pm? We keep getting confused about the time, because we are supposed to be an hour ahead of LA, but Utah observes daylight savings time and Arizona doesn’t, which means Arizona matches LA time but Utah is an hour… 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 shot just across from my AirBnB. I sat outisde and people… 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