We had a great time despite it being rather expensive in this province during the "construction vacation". These are the two weeks when all the construction industry workers are off and many Quebeqois are traveling. Honestly, the last night we paid seventy bucks for a total fleabag motel. (We were desperate at that point.) We started out by going to Quebec city for a meet up with our friends that we met while in Cuba last December. We spent many hours noshing, drinking and laughing together. The next day we drove the whole isle d'orleans which is a big island in the St Lawrence river just North of Quebec City. This pic is from a stop we made. All our self taken couple pictures are looking the same lately so we decided to mix it up with one of us being more in the background. We picked up some local cheese and pate and a hot baguette (is there anything more divine?) and picnicked in the countryside.
If there were a staple of this roadtrip, it would be the churches. No matter the size of the village, the largest structure was inevitably a church. Often times the village cemetery was just next to it. We spotted very worn headstones of folks that had died in the mid 1800's.
Our next stop was a couple of hours North where we stayed at the inn of Serge's long lost cousin. They hadn't seen each other in over 20 years. (Maybe that's why there was no family discount haha. Not that it was expected, well maybe a little.) There we had a lovely view overlooking the St Lawrence. This part of the "river" is mixed with the sea and there are tides and everything. It is about 18 kilometers across at this point. I thought the sign was funny. There really was a beach but it sure didn't look like it from the road.
The next day, mother nature was unkind. This was our big day for the cruise up the fjord, the tickets for which had been purchased weeks prior. It was freezing, gloomy, windy, raw and rainy. Like the rawest winter day in Los Angeles. Serge hadn't even brought a sweater or jacket with him so he ended up having to buy one.
See his new coat? They were so kind to sell him that for eighty bucks. After the cruise, we continued up the route du fjord to the town of Chicoutimi. This was the only day we didn't drive around with the top down. Too cold! I just can't believe we were cold in July. But as I've said before, I've been cold every month of the year up here.
Finally at the very end of the day, the sun came out. We walked down to the port from our hotel to look around. We stayed at the Hotel Chicoutimi where we got drinks and breakfast included. The restaurant was a comedy of errors though. We wanted mussels but they were out and we ordered two vodka martinis and the server came back and told us they were out of vodka. It was so funny because the liquor store was 12 feet away across the street. We glanced that way through the window when he told us but he didn't get the joke. We took gin instead and he forgot to charge us for them. Oh and we asked for french fries but were told no because they were only served with the mussels, which they were out of. I suspected the usual asshole chef behind such a thing. I saw the server clear a burger plate with remnant fries from another table and he tried to shield my view. I know how these things work - surly chef and bad management do not a good restaurant make. Twas cheap though and that almost made up for it.
The next day was clear and beautiful. Our first stop was the little white house that you see above. This is the house that withstood the incredible flood of 1996 while everything around it was obliterated. Let me see if I can find some youtube footage of it. No youtube but a news archive video is pretty good. We took the little tour inside and walked around the site.
After that we toodled on up toward Lac St Jean. It was a spectacular day and the countryside was beautiful. I insisted on classical music during the drive. We had a little adventure too because the route was closed due to a terrible accident. We ended up taking a dirt farm road to get around it and it worked! We don't have GPS nor a map for those little dirt roads.
The next stop was a cavern that we visited. It's a bit of a hike to get there but the forest and rushing river and waterfalls were glorious. We took the guided tour of the cave, basically a 150 foot crack in the cliff, and saw the lone stalactite, a mere two inches. Limestone creates stalactites ten times faster than granite, so it was very small.
We made it to the lake. It is a pretty big one too. We toured a cheese museum which was fun but we were tired of the podunkness of it all. We always agree after these rural outings that we are city boys through and through. Time to head back home. This was where things got tricky. Every place was full! That's how we ended up in a gross motel in a logging town a couple hours South of the lake. La Tuque is a town I'm fairly sure I'll never see again.
I took a lot more pictures and once I get them loaded onto facebook I'll post the link here. We got back yesterday and life came crashing in all around us. The ugly news was that the government didn't receive one of our declarations and didn't cash the check. Spouse didn't notice that the check never got cashed so now it's time to pay the piper. The good but kinda ugly news is that I go back to work Saturday and it looks like I'll be pretty much employed through December now. I really wanted August off too, but in my business you don't say no to contracts because you never really know when the next one will come through. We still have one little junket left coming up in a couple of weeks. More on that later.
Today I celebrate my 45 years on the planet and Serge is taking me to dinner. Yay!