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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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[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

[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

[Monterosso, Italy] Today’s entry will be very short – I’ll let the views do all the talking. The Cinque Terre (meaning the Five Lands) is a remote section of the Italian Riviera. There isn’t a museum or a Vespa in sight – just sunshine, sea, beach (pebbles, not sand, but still) and wine. The five villages comprising the Cinque Terre are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso Al Mare. They are all… Read More

[Florence, Italy] Today is not my day to ride on buses. I got on the wrong one going from my AirBnB in Rome to the train station – luckily I realized it in time. And in Florence, I got on the right bus but missed my stop. Luckily, stops here are close together so neither one of these were too big of a faux pas, but it’s still pretty stressful! I caught the express… Read More

[Aguas Calientes, Peru] Our train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Callientes was spectacular! This was not the luxurious Hiram Bingham, but it was still roomy and clean, and we got snacks. The views, though, were what made it so magical. The Urubamba river was right next to us the entire time, and just on the other side of it were mountains draped in fog and mist. It started raining for a little… Read More

[Jaipur, India] We arrived in Delhi late Friday, May 20th. The next day, we were originally supposed to do a city tour of Delhi and then head to Agra in the afternoon. Wanting to explore more of India and to take advantage of a having an Indian (Ryno) on our team, we decided to deviate and detour to Jaipur, a city famous for its palaces and the Amber fort. The Amazing Race:… Read More