Tag Archives: Maryland

Discoveries around Washington, DC

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It has been already a month from the first day I came to GWU. I feel like time is flying, and I still have a lot of things to take out from my bucket list.  Since my weekend starts from Thursday at 9am, I always feel like my class days end very fast.

In this week, I tried something I wanted to do in the US. I went to the AMC movie theater to watch the horror movie IT. Well, the movie wasn’t as scary as I expected, but I loved the movie theater. In Morocco, the movie theaters that I tried have usually normal seats. However, the reclining seats in the AMC theater are just AWESOME. You can literally lay down 100% and enjoy the movie. Also, since all the seats were sold out, I think that Americans still have the culture of going to the theaters to watch a movie.  In my country, it’s less common to see a crowded movie theater.

In the weekend, I went with some friends to visit the National Harbor in Maryland. We took an Uber for 30 minutes, that costed us 10$ each round trip.  First, we went do some shopping in Tanger Outlets. I spent around 100$, that I will regret later when I’ll run out of money, but it was worth it. The stores were way much cheaper than the ones in Washington DC. For example in Nike, I found many sneakers that costed 34$. Even in Morocco where everything is cheaper, you couldn’t find less than 60$ Nike sneakers. So, I really think it’s worth to go there for shopping. The National Harbor Waterfront is a popular place where you can find hotels, restaurants, stores… It’s also a nice area to chill by the water or walk through. There are fun statues, like foot, hand…, everywhere if you love to take original pictures. And we stayed there for 4 hours approximately and we were lucky that we had the chance to be there by the sunset time. The sunset behind the Capital Wheel is fascinating and terrific. It’s one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. So, you should definitely visit this place if you’re in Washington DC.

This semester, I didn’t join many association, I only joined DC Through A Lens, the photography club in GW. Why did I join it? I’ve always been passionate about photography, even my previous part-time job was a photographer. So, I think that this club was the perfect one for me. And you always know that you will go to exciting places with a photography club. Well, this is what happened this Saturday and they paid admission tickets for Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens. Basically, it’s the house of Marjorie Post, a businesswoman and socialite in 1955. I can’t even describe how fascinating and magical this place was. It reminded me of castles I always saw in movies during my childhood. The art and decoration inside the house were fancy and beautiful and the different gardens around the house were amazing. You can literally imagine how rich people at that time were living and what they were wearing… I think that this place is one of the most interesting places I’ve been into and going there is definitely a must. Stay tuned for my next experiences 😀

IG: @Sarajebbar

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Gym, Kayak, Baltimore trip…

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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.

 

 

IG:@sarajebbar

Into History and Nature

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I think one of the best parts of exchange in DC is the access to national parks that are within driving distance whether in Virginia, West Virginia or Maryland. Being located in such a prime location on the east coast meant that hiking the Appalachian Trail is possible for a day trip and without the added cost of camping and plane tickets.

So on Saturday, the 5 of us rented a car and took a day trip to Harper’s Ferry and Shenandoah National Park. Aiming to cover 2 destinations in a day was really ambitious, and to top it off, it rained while we were at out first destination so we could not do much. That being said, we decided to head off to Shenandoah National Park ahead of schedule and it was probably the best decision made that day.

Harper’s Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where  Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia meet. It is the easternmost town in West Virginia. Driving in, you will be greeted with the sight of a quaint historical town that very much resembles colonial days and this is probably because it was an important site of the American Civil War. We took a break there from an hour’s drive and treated ourselves to some food and ice cream.

While I recommend hiking up the Maryland Heights trail, we were simply not blessed with good weather.

Next stop, we drove for another hour to Shenandoah National Park via the Thornton Gap Entrance (There are four entrances but this is the nearest from DC and also intercepts the Skyline Drive halfway). With national parks, cellphone reception is always a problem so I do recommend downloading the park’s map before you enter for ease of navigation (unless you’re an expert at reading analog maps, which we found out that we were inept at a little too late).

Shenandoah Park is filled with many wonderful viewpoints and waterfalls but due to time constraints, we chose to do the Hawksbill Trail, which led us to the highest point in the park. Man, the view was all sorts of spectacular despite the cold and unrelenting weather – I managed to get some pictures but the cloudy backdrop didn’t do it justice.

Kudos to the drivers who survived the nearly 6-hour drive, it was really not easy for them while us non-drivers simply snacked and napped at the back!