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Balabanova All Over

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[Taos, NM, Sep 2/3, 2018] After two days exploring around Taos, we finally had time to stay in town. After a great breakfast at our B&B, we headed out to visit two of its major sights. Our first stop was the Rio Grande Gorge bridge, just north of town. The bridge is roughly 600 ft (182 m) above the river and it is a quarter-mile long (388 m). It was built in… Read More

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[Olympic National Park, July 17, 2018] The Olympic peninsula is on the Western edge of Washington state, across Puget sound from Seattle. Its home to the northwestern most point in the United States, Cape Flattery. At about 3600 square miles, the peninsula remained largely unmapped until the late 19th century. The Olympic mountain range sits in the center. It blocks the passage of rain-producing systems and casts a dry “shadow” in the… Read More

[Kalabaka, Greece, Sept 20, 2017] Mom and I saw four of the six Meteora monasteries yesterday. Today, we headed for the other two. We took dad with us, as one of the monasteries involved no stairs. The monastery of St. Stephen was first on the list. It was built in the 16th century. It was bombed by the Nazis in WWII because they believed rebels were hiding there. In 1961, the monastery… 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

f[Schwerin, Germany] Hamburg presented an interesting challenge – one could day-trip very easily to Bremen, Luebeck or Schwerin from here. Bremen and Luebeck, both being Hanseatic towns, were tempting because their town centres are both on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Hanseatic towns were part of the Hanseatic league, a confederation of merchant guilds that dominated Baltic maritime trade in the middle ages. Schwerin, however, was interesting because it boasted a… Read More

[Hamburg, Germany] When we woke up on Saturday, it was pouring rain. Luckily, the rain stopped by midday and the sun was trying to poke out from behind the clouds. On weekends, there are always festivals and markets in Hamburg, so we headed to the city center to check them out. We parked close to city hall and walked over the Hafencity from there. Hafencity (Hafen means port, so this translates into… Read More

uid[Potsdam, Germany] By Wednesday, I was ready to leave the history-heavy Berlin behind and head out of town to Potsdam, where Frederick the Great (1712 – 1786), King of Prussia, spent his summers. In Potsdam, Frederick had two places, at opposite ends of the grand Sanssouci park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The small, more intimate Sanssouci palace housed his quarters and apartments for guests. Normally, a kaiser’s residence would… 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

[Nessebar, Bulgaria] Bulgaria has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all of them inscribed in the 1970s and 1980s. Among them are the Thracian tomb in Kazanluk, which I visited and wrote about in 2014; Rila Monastery, which I visited in 2009, and Boyana church, which I visited in early 2013. Coming to the Sveti Vlas with my parents gave me the opportunity to visit #4 – the ancient city of Nessebar, which is only about… Read More

[Vienna, Austria] Here it is, before you know it – the last day of my trip! How did this day come so quickly! I am by no means ready to go home yet!!! Honestly, I have so quickly gotten used to the public transport and the amazing food and the architecture and real coffee (espresso) and al fresco dining and castles and high speed trains and such. Alas, I had one more… Read More