We continue to wait.  Six weeks plus three days and counting…  To silence the inner countdown clock, if even for just a few hours, we took ourselves on a bit of an adventure to Great Falls National Park where we took a good long hike and spent the afternoon communing with Mother Nature.  And then we stuffed ourselves with hamburgers, fries and a decadent milk shake topped with whipped cream and a cherry.  It did the trick.  Unfortunately, today the inner countdown clock is ticking louder than ever.

Great Falls National Park

As it turns out, Great Falls National Park is just 20 minutes down the road from where we are house sitting.  The forecast called for a blue sky and temps hovering around 80 degrees.  How could we not go?

The interesting tidbit about Washington, DC and the surrounding area which includes Virginia and Maryland is that all three seemingly run together.  One can visit Great Falls National Park in Virginia and/or Maryland but many do not realize the falls are just 15 miles above the nation’s capital.  Okay.  We didn’t know that factoid either, but having lived in the area for three years now, we do know how close in proximity everything is.  GPS will tell you, as you drive along and within miles of each other, “Welcome to Virginia” or “Welcome to Maryland” and of course, “Welcome to Washington, DC” and you’ve only been in the car for 30 minutes or less.

For the History Buffs

For the history buffs among us…  George Washington envisioned a systems of canals that would allow the transportation and trade of goods between the east and the Ohio Valley, which would in effect tie the country together.  A series of five canals were constructed in order to navigate the Potomac River.  Where the river could not be navigated, at the point of the Great Falls and rapids, locks were built.  Keep in mind the design and construction of the canals and locks took place between 1785 – 1802 and the canals were in use for 26 years transporting flour, corn, whiskey, etc.  It was quite the engineering feat of the day and remnants of the locks can still be seen.

Great Falls National Park

Remnants of the locks along the canal at Great Fall National Park

All Creatures Are Entitled

Communing with Mother Nature always tends to soothe our souls, or at the very least quiet the damn countdown clock.  Plain and simple, it feels good to walk through the forest of trees while watching the rippling water of the Potomac flow nearby.  With one exception.  I am not a fan of snakes.  This cannot be emphasized enough.  As it happens, near our temporary home, there is a hiking trail that crosses a creek and I have seen several snakes basking in the warmth of the sun, on a rock in the middle of the creek.  I suppose all creatures are entitled to enjoy the warmth of the sun.  I did not know (not being a fan) that snakes are such agile swimmers.  And, now that I’ve witnessed a copperhead snake swimming in the calm water of the Potomac River above the Great Falls, I am fairly confident that it will be a cold day in hell before I ever again wade into a river.  But, I digress.

A Lesson in Patience

So, we continue to wait.  I’m pretty sure the universe – and the country of Portugal – are trying to teach me a lesson in patience, something I sorely lack.  If you look up the word patience in the dictionary, you’ll find my picture.  In the meantime, we continue to be grateful for our lovely house sit and the days are being put to good use.  We have mapped out our Eurail journey and booked accommodations at each destination.  We are scheduled to board our first train on July 15 in Brussels.

Yes, I know, that’s just four weeks plus five days from now.  Tick. Tick. Tick.

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