Balabanova All Over

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Ahhh, Istanbul! This magical city, which straddles Europe and Asia, has gone through many transformative changes in its history. Founded under the name of Byzantion around 660 BC, the city grew in size and influence. Roman Emperor Constantine, who had just converted to Christianity, made it the new capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD and began its transformation as a major Christian center. A thousand years later, in the 15th… Read More

You know you’re looking at a picture of Athens when the Acropolis is in view. Many people associate Athens with the Acropolis but don’t know what else there is to do in this sprawling city. Here are 3 things not to miss on your visit. 1 – The changing of the guard at the Hellenic Parliament If you read my 3 tips for visiting Athens, you already know that I recommend staying… Read More

Athens often becomes a short stop-over on the way to Greece’s fantastic islands or as a home base for day trips to Delphi, Meteora and elsewhere. But spending at least a couple of full days in Athens is well worth your while. These three tips will make your stay even more pleasant. Tip #1: Choose an AirBnB or similar service instead of staying in a hotel This tip (not sponsored!) probably applies… Read More

Many of the national parks in the West offer amazing accommodations in the form of historic hotels and lodges built at the beginning of the 20th century. Train travel made America’s national parks more accessible at the time, creating the need for accommodations within or nearby. Spending the night at a national park lodge isn’t cheap, and the amenities one might expect at that price point are often not there. Forget about… Read More

After 20 years of lots of long haul flights between Europe and the US, I’ve perfected comfort in an economy seat. Deciding what to take and even what to buy among the many choices out there can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d share the 5 essentials I always pack with me when I fly long distances. Ear Plugs This seems like a no-brainer, but not all earplugs are made equal! My… Read More