It’s been another entertaining week. Classes are in full-swing now; I get the impression that the professors are glad to be into some real content now as opposed to the multi-hour syllabus readings we got last week. Not that it’s too stressful yet. My roommates are all doing real degrees so they’ve been hard at work, but my mixed bag of SMPA and design classes hasn’t given me too much stress yet. The immediate benefit of learning short-form journalism is getting short-form readings—for which I am eternally grateful.
The easy transition was made even cruisier by the early arrival of the labor-day weekend. My small group of exchange student friends decided to capitalise on the spare time and take a day-trip to Baltimore in pursuit of some cultural learnings. We bought greyhound tickets on Saturday, knocked off most of our homework on Sunday, and on Labor day we hit the road.
The bus was an hour-and-a-half late. So much for greyhounds being fast.
Baltimore’s reputation as a deeply-troubled city wasn’t helped by the quiet roads and empty stores we found there. Even near downtown we struggled to find much in the way of activity. It took us about an hour to join the dots and establish that it was probably just because of Labor day.
Walking a lonely road
Foregoing the closed museums and the empty streets of downtown, we elected to sight-see around the harbor and relax for most of the day. We scored a cheap Cuban lunch and good weather, so nobody really minded the lack of activity after a few hours of walking in the sun.
Taka taking it easy
It can’t have just been the day that made Baltimore such a bizarre city. I feel like a fair bit more time is required to figure it out—I’m sure there’s at least one course at GW that’s dedicated to the intricacies of socio-economics in the North East. Probably a ways past my grade.
The sightseeing was honestly remarkable. The enormous hill overlooking the harbor is sexy as hell, basking in the sights was enough to keep us entertained in spite of an overwhelming lack of indoor options. I get the impression that Baltimore has a lot more to offer than what we saw. At the very least it was an insight into what I presume DC had going for it pre-gentrification.
It’s just the second week of classes and I can tell that studies in GWU are SO intense. We’ve already had a quiz, assignments, case studies, and tons of readings. What’s different in classes in GWU is that I feel like everyone is so passionate about what they’re studying and everyone is participating. Maybe I should consider participating as well if I want to pass my classes T.T. I feel like time is running here in GWU because of the many activities that we’re doing and intense classes that I have.
Since everything is so large in the US especially the food, I decided to subscribe for the fitness classes that the university is offering. It was 80$ a semester but it was totally worth it. I have a variety of classes which I can attend from Zumba, to yoga to bodypump… and a lot of other classes. I think these were the best fitness classes I’ve ever attended thanks to the professionalism of the instructors. For me, it was like one of the famous Youtube fitness classes. In general, it’s a good investment to have fun, relieve stress and prevent from gaining the extra-kilograms.
One of the “must-do’s” in Washington DC is kayaking in the Potomac river. It was one of the most fun activities I’ve done here in Washington. It was 16$/hour for single kayaks. I loved how the scenery in the river is so different from side to side. You can take a shot with the bridge, with the green forest or with the skyscrapers. It felt so peaceful inside the river, away from the city hustle and I would definitely try it one more time.
I ended the weekend with a one-day trip to Baltimore with some friends. We used Wanderu website to find the best deals of buses and it costed us 27.5$ round trip. Baltimore is the major city in Maryland known by its seaport. And it’s 1 hour only away from Washington DC so we arrived at 11am. The main place to visit there is the Inner Harbor. It reminded me a lot of my hometown’s harbor. What I loved the most is walking around the waterfront of the harbor and discovering its different sides. We also visited Little Italy which is the Italian neighborhood of Baltimore. It had the cute European style buildings and Italian music and food. Concerning the food, we went to Hard Rock Café. It was my first time and I loved the hard rock vibe that the restaurant was giving and I recommend it 100%. The lunch was really good and I enjoyed: staring at all the guitars hanged in the walls and the hard rock decoration. Our return bus was until 8:25pm so by the end of the day we got really tired from the 18km that we walked around the city and we stayed chilling in front of the water. Baltimore is definitely a must-visit city but I think couple of hours are enough to tour the main places in the city. It reminded me of my childhood with the “Good Morning Baltimore” song in the Hair Spray movie.
One week more, and many new things to tell.
It’s been my third week in Washington DC and I’m starting to feel like it’s not summer anymore, two weeks since classes started and everything is overwhelming. I have so many readings and papers to do that I can’t catch up, but it’s okay, I need time to adjust to this new system, everyone of you is probably having the same problem.
Either way I also had time to go to new places and even visit a new city. We are still adjusting to Washington DC, and one of the things that I really love is walking down to Georgetown and looking around all the shops and restaurants. Georgetown is really beautiful and the walk there by the Potomac river is too. One girl from DC told me that the best cupcakes of Washington were there, in a small place named Baked and Wired, so there we went. The place was awesome and we had an oreo cupcake that tasted incredible, the coffee was also really good compared to the ones I have tried in The United States, as coffee here is also different from Spain it has been difficult for me to find one that I really like, but I found it there, and all of you guys should go to try at least the cupcakes, there are so many cupcakes to choose from and the place is also really cool.
I also want to talk you guys about the gym, I have been going this three weeks, it’s a really good gym and it’s for free. It has all the machines that you could possibly need, the only problem is that there are usually lots of students there, but you should probably be able to use any machine you want if you don’t go at 5 pm.
This week I also went to Baltimore to spend a day there. Baltimore was really nice but I didn’t like it at much as Philadelphia because there weren’t many things to visit. Anyways it was a really good place to spend our Saturday, we arrived at 11 am, walked around for a bit and then we had lunch in Hard Rock Cafe, the food was awesome, as was the place. After lunch we went to the Italian neighbor and we were so lucky because it was the Madonna Arts Festival so the streets were crowded with people and lots of paintings in the floor. It was really beautiful. Then we went to Fell’s Point neighbor took some pictures and came back to the Inner Harbor. It’s not a must, but you should probably go there to chill and have a nice day.