• Morocco,  Travel

    Place Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakech

    Place Jemaa el-Fna is the large market square in the Marrakech medina (old city). This square features street performers, snake charmers, and vendors all surrounded by a myriad of alleys full of souks. You simply cannot visit Marrakech without experiencing this bustling area.  I’d recommend visiting both at night and during the day, because it is a completely different experience!   Jemaa el-Fna has been a meeting space since the founding of Marrakech in the 11th century.  The square inspired UNESCO’s  “Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2001.  Place Jemaa el-Fnaa features a lot of aspects of Morocco’s heritage, including storytelling and entertainment. – “The…

  • Morocco,  Travel

    Essaouira: Morocco’s Windy City

    Essaouira, formerly Mogador, is called “The Windy City” due to the strong winds coming off the Atlantic.  It’s a very popular beach for windsurfing!  This vibrant coastal city is a must-visit when in Morocco.   Essaouira was Morocco’s main port until the end of the 19th century.  It was a prominent hippie city, attracting artists including Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens!  You still see lots of backpackers, surfers, and artists throughout the city.  Archaeological evidence shows that the city has been inhabited since prehistoric times! Essaouira Medina One of the highlights of this port city is its fortified medina, or old town.  Inside the ramparts and medina walls, the streets are…

  • Europe,  Travel

    When in Rome: Can’t Miss Sites

    Rome is a quintessential tourist destination. The capital of Italy, this city is home to so many iconic places!  From the Colosseum to the Spanish Steps, there are so many things to do and see! Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it certainly cannot be toured in only one day either!!  Below are some of the can’t miss sites in this stunning city: Piazza del Popolo Piazza del Popolo, or the People’s Square, sits just beside Villa Borghese.  This square is super lively with performers and tourists.  The piazza was a place for public executions until 1826!  You can climb the hill at…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Marché de Noël de Lille (Lille Christmas Market)

    Every year, Lille hosts a Christmas Market complete with a giant ferris wheel!  From the end of November until New Year’s you can enjoy Christmas lights and decorations throughout the city.  Marché de Noël de Lille is the largest Christmas market in Northern France!  Apparently this tradition is centuries old.   Grand Place A 164ft Ferris Wheel stands in Grand Place during the holiday season, in addition to a Christmas Tree and other decorations.   Riding the Ferris Wheel is absolute must – the views from the top are unreal!  Definitely wrap up if you’re going to ride the Ferris Wheel because it can be quite windy up there!   I rode the…

  • Travel,  United States

    Enchant Christmas – Washington, DC

    Enchant Christmas is apparently the world’s largest light maze and market!  It changes locations each year, and this year it is in Washington DC!  The event takes place in Nationals Park and is available until December 29.   Though tickets are a bit pricey, there are discounts for children, Seniors, Military, students, and family packs.  Be careful when selecting tickets and make sure that you select the correct city!  Enchant is also located in St. Petersburg, FL and Seattle, WA this year. I know the website says it is the world’s largest light maze, but I did not think it would be as large as it is!  It takes up nearly…

  • France,  Travel

    Paris at Christmas Time

    I recently posted about Paris in the fall.  However, Paris is especially magical at Christmas-time.  By mid-November, Paris is completely decked out for the holidays. The city is covered in lights and decorations, everywhere you go!  There is a ton to do in the City of Light near the holidays.  Here are some of my favorites: Galeries Lafayette As if Galeries Lafayettes wasn’t already stunning enough, every year it has a new Christmas Tree design.  The year I spent Christmas in Paris, the tree was made out of recycled paper!  The interactive window displays were all made with the recycled materials theme.  The tree was very intricate, with polar bears…

  • France,  Travel

    Strasbourg Christmas Market

    Strasbourg is on the eastern border of France in the Alsace Region.  This city has gone back and forth between being part of France and part of Germany, which has created an interesting blend of both the culture and the architecture.  Strasbourg is well-known for its annual Christmas market, or Christkindelsmärik.  The Christmas Market reopened this year with additional security due to last year’s attack. Strasbourg isn’t a large city, and the Christmas market is spread across town.  The best way to explore the markets is definitely by foot.  There is plenty of vin chaud / gluhwein (mulled wine) to help warm up!  There are also fires to stand by…

  • Travel

    Indoor Attractions in Ottawa

    I just went on my first international business trip! I had a training in Gatineau, which is just across the river from Ottawa. Gatineau is part of the Quebec province, while Ottawa is part of Ontario. Despite one side being francophone and the other side being anglophone, you will find both French and English speakers on either side! November is not the most ideal time to visit this area, because all the summer/fall attractions have closed but the winter attractions like skating in the canal don’t begin until December.  Already in the first week of November, the weather was FRIGID!  It’s nice to walk around and explore Ottawa, however, I…

  • Travel,  United States

    Skyline Drive in the Fall

    One of my favorite fall activities is to visit Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park! Skyline Drive is a scenic route atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, stretching 105 miles long. This is the only public road through the park. Not only does Skyline Drive boast stunning views from Front Royal to Waynesboro, it also offers access to hiking trails, camp sites, picnic areas, and cabins. There are four entrances to Skyline Drive: Front Royal Entrance (off of 66 in Front Royal, VA) Thornton Gap Entrance (off of 211 near Sperryville, VA) Swift Run Gap Entrance (off of 33 near Harrisonburg, VA) Rockfish Gap Entrance (off of 64/250 near Waynesboro,…

  • Life,  United States

    Virginia Horseback Trail Ride

    For my fiance’s birthday, I surprised him with a horseback trail ride in Front Royal, Virginia!  There are a lot of stables in the DC area, but I decided to book with a stable in Front Royal so we could enjoy the mountain views without driving all the way to the Shenandoah area.   I looked at several different places before deciding on Double H Stables.  There are a lot of great options and each have pretty affordable prices for hour or 90 minute rides.  I mainly chose Double H for the convenient location off the highway and I thought the trails would offer great views.   I was nervous that the…