It should be noted that this blog is a team effort: while my prosaic stylings describe our experiences, it is the artful photography and design aesthetic of Liz that, like herself, makes these periodic publications so easy on the eyes.
We continued to be conscious that we had passed from one solitude to the other, traveling deeper into Quebec as we continued downstream on the Seaway. Of course, the concept of “two solitudes” is a Laurentian bias based on the old construct of Upper and Lower Canadas and fails to acknowledge that there are solitudes centred around the North, the West Coast, the Prairies and the Maritimes, as well. It takes traveling across this country to really appreciate the differences between the peoples that are monolithically grouped as “Canadians”. And of course, that is more starkly placed in the fore when you enter a province whose principal language is your second. It really feels exotic! And Montreal – probably still my favourite big city in this country.
After our dose of cosmopolitanism (and a night spent in Costco parking lot – a little bit of bohemianism thrown in) we began the trek to Quebec City. We chose the secondary highways to benefit from the quaint little towns and scenery along the St. Lawrence, as well as the immersion in Quebecois culture. Once outside of Montreal, there is little English displayed or spoken, but happily my attempts at using my second-language training French were well received. It is amazing how quickly it returned after laying dormant so long in Calgary, and I soon stopped mashing together French and Spanish. It made for some nice interactions with the locals.
Midway to Quebec City lies Trois Rivieres, which has a history almost as old as the original Quebec and is a bit of a hidden gem, likely bypassed by many tourists to the province. A small old town is still preserved here, but it is also rejuvenating itself as a bit of an arts centre now that the stinky old pulp mills have been decommissioned and torn down. We quite enjoyed the vibe here, with its slightly gritty edge.
Finally, on to Quebec City, where it all began for Canada. I had never been and needed to rectify that deficiency. It helped that we had a connection for a place to stay nearby, so we could stage up at the home of Bill and Lucie and make a foray into the city. Unfortunately, Bill was tied up with some family business in the St. Catherine’s area of Ontario and could not be around to host us, but Lucie (who didn’t know us from Adam) graciously stepped up and made us two strangers very welcome.
With our visit to Quebec City at an end, we are heading into the area where the St. Lawrence is salty and we get get to dip our toes, o too briefly, into Gaspésie before crossing over to the Maritimes! liz is excited because she thinks she will be able to understand the language again, but that is a mistake.
Married mother of two awesome boys who is now living full time in a self converted Camper van and seeing more of the world.
We gave up something super special to live our dream of living a free and simple life on the road exploring new places and taking joy in the discovery of the extraordinary
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