The Gaspe – Scenery? Awesome. Roads? Crap.

The Gaspe Peninsula or “Gaspésie” as it is says on the road signs is beautiful.  We travelled from Quebec City to Rimouski, around the Gaspe Peninsula to Gaspe, Perce, Bonaventure and then crossed the river in to New Brunswick.  The scenery is awesome, beautiful villages all along the coast.  As you travel you enter one village and go up over a hill and down in to another village.  Everyone takes such pride in their yards.  All the grass is mowed, yards, fences, shrubs, plants all in pristine condition.  It is so beautiful.  Gaily painted houses, out-buildings and small sheds.  The roads?  well that’s another story.  Granted we are pulling a 30ft Travel Trailer so that carries it’s own limitations.  The speed limit is 80 or 90 KM.  The Gaspe has very steep cliffs which makes for very steep roads.  You might get up to speed half way up an incline, huff and puff your way over the top and BWAM, time to slow down because the speed limit declines from 80 to 70 to 60 and finally 50km thru the village.  After clearing the village it’s back up another incline, huff and puff your way over the top and ride the brakes down to 50 and then repeat the same scenario.  This isn’t the worst part, the worst part is the condition of the roads.  Narrow, patched pot holes, dips, bumps, holes both big and small.  Towing a trailer is quite the challenge!  The best part is the road ahead of you is always clear.  Behind you is a train of frustrated travelers who are no doubt yelling thru their windshields as they stare at our Beautiful British Columbia license plate.  Sorry about that folks 🙂

Here are my photo’s from Rimouski.  Perce and Forillon National Park in Gaspe and some beach pictures from our campsite in Bonaventure, Quebec.

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Point-Au-Pere Lighthouse in Rimouski, Quebec.

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Onondaga Submarine at Point-Au-Pere in Rimouski, Quebec.

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RMS Empress of Ireland Pavillion and the Point-Au-Pere Lighthouse

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Perce Rock in the fog in Perce on the Gaspe!

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Beach side at the Marina and Campground in Bonaventure, Quebec.

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Moon rise over the beach at our campsite in Bonaventure, Quebec.

 

Rimouski – Metis sur Mer July 29-2017

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Point-Au-Pere Lighthouse in Rimouski, Quebec.

After leaving Quebec City we headed for the Gaspe Peninsula.  We are not travelling far in a day so we made plans to stay at Camping Annie at Metis Sur-Mer just outside of Rimouski, Quebec.  We were only there for a day so we drove in to Rimouski and visited Point-Au-Pere historical site.  The lighthouse is 108 feet tall and is the 2nd tallest in Canada.  The HMCS Onondaga submarine has been brought up on shore, it is the only sub open to public viewing in Canada.  We didn’t go inside as we are both a tich claustrophobic and everyone knows subs are notoriously small.  Also part of the property is a pavilion dedicated to the RMS Empress of Ireland which sank in May 1914 in the St Lawrence River in 140 feet of water.  1012 people died of the 1477 who were on board.  Next part of the journey is:  Around The Gaspe Peninsula!

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RMS Empress of Ireland Pavillion and the Point-Au-Pere Lighthouse

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Onondaga Submarine at Point-Au-Pere in Rimouski, Quebec.

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Lighthouse off in the distance at Camping Annie campground in Metis-Sur-Mer, Quebec.

Visiting Canada’s Capital – Can’t park here!

Ottawa – July 18 – 2017

Well, what do you know?  We made it to the nations capital city of Ottawa.  What a great country we live in eh!   Our campsite was in Cantley, Quebec about 30 km outside of the City.  It always amazes me how you can drive 20 minutes away from a metropolitan area and be transported to another style of living.  Away from the bustle of traffic, people everywhere, tall skyscraper buildings, the noise of the city, the hectic energy and the feel of commerce.

Cantley was small, quiet and rural.  Our campsite was set in rolling hills, surrounded by farms and a few houses scattered around the area.  My 10 words of French that I remember from 3 years of straight A’s in school 45 years ago is tres’ rusty.  Good thing that most everyone around us can speak both languages and are happy to do so.  I admire their ability to switch back and forth when needed.  They always start with Bonjour and as soon as you say Bonjour back to them they switch to English because it is readily apparent to them that I AM NOT French..  sorry Mr. French Teacher from School, my accent still sucks.. haha.

The first evening there we ventured in to town and met with my high school friend Ingrid.  She lives in Ottawa and gave us parking instructions and a tour of her downtown neighborhood.  She walks to work and her area has everything you need.  Groceries, liquor, gas station, pharmacy, restaurants, museums.  Big City Life right out your door.  I always wonder what it would be like to live in a big city, to have so much opportunity for entertainment, shopping, and professional sports teams within a reasonable distance.  I’m sure I would bust my budget quite quickly buying tickets to everything that interested me.

We took the hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city.  It took us thru Ottawa, over to Gatineau, along the Rideau Canal,  Justin Tudeau’s residence on Sussex Street, past the RCMP Musical Ride barracks and training ground and thru the ritzy neighborhoods of the Governer General and past the foreign embassies scattered near the Parliament Buildings.   Day 3 we decided to “park” downtown near the Parliament Buildings and wander around the grounds of Parliament, and walk down to Byward Market and stroll the streets looking around.  Sounds like a plan.  We are driving our Ford F150 down busy streets, some of them under construction and it’s BUSY.  We are 2 blocks from the Parliament Buildings when we spot a parkade that is OPEN.. wahoo Yabba dabba doo – I turn off the street and BLAM, there is a yellow bar looming inches away from the windshield indicating that the height restriction for this parkade is 5’8″ or something equally ridiculous.  No way is the truck going in there.  I put the truck in reverse and can hear a car horn behind me, luckily I stopped before backing over top of them.  I open my drivers door, stand on the running board, point to the low hanging yellow barrier bar and just as I am about to say something.  A Construction Guy yells “IT WON”T FIT”.  I guess he sees this kind of action all day.  The young lady in the car behind me is now yelling (in French) to everyone around her to back up and let ME back up.  Randy is out of the truck and directing traffic and now helping me back up without hitting anything to make our great escape.  End of story – we eventually found an open parking lot (not underground) about 10 blocks away and continued with our walk about.  Here are some of my favorite shots from Ottawa:

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The Parliament Buildings, Rideau Canal Locks, the Ottawa River and Gatineau Quebec in the background.

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Parliament Buiding – Ottawa.

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Botanical Garden in Gatineau, Quebec. One of the many structures there, all made from living plants, this one was about 30 feet high.

When in Montreal? Take the train!

Montreal July 23 – 2017

Yikes, we are on our way to Montreal, as in Quebec, as in I don’t speak much French, as in I heard the driving there is brutal.  We are both a little nervous about the language issue and if we can just find our campsite and get settled maybe we can just take a cab or bus everywhere we want to go.  That would alleviate the “driving” issue – right?

We leave Cantley, and head out for Montreal,  a couple of freeway exits and we are on our way.  Driving is a snap.  We turn off the freeway in Terrebonne (maybe 30km from Montreal) to get to our campground, and BOOM, a detour of some kind.  We follow the arrow around the corner and then we have no idea where we are going.  All the signs are in French (of course).. Garmin-dy gets her butt in gear and calculates a new route for us.  Which is great, but there’s no way to tell her that we are pulling a trailer.  Consequently she sends us thru a residential neighborhood with traffic circles and windy streets, eventually we get out on our intended road and to our campsite.

Camping Plateau Etoiles 5 – we arrive and the spot that they intend for us to park in is a eensy teensy weensy entry around trees and posts.  They offer to guide us to another spot in the campground.. we drive around to the next camping street and of course we are now facing the wrong way to successfully back in to the next spot they’ve chosen for us.  We then perform a 3 persons yelling at me (with directions to turn around in the campsite beside the one they want us in) –  and then somehow drive out of there and back it into the other spot.  I’ve just successfully backed into THIS spot – why can’t we just stay there?

It’s empty!

Is it really empty?

Yes it is.

Ok, yes, you can park there.  But I’ve already driven mostly out of it, so after a few more manouvers we get ourselves back in there.  Phew!  That’s awesome.  Nicely treed park (no satellite reception though).  But it’s nice and we are happy.

Now, how do we get the 30KM in to the city?  Do they have a shuttle?

NO!

Can you take a bus?

SORT OF!

What does that mean we ask?  There’s a bus that goes past the campsite, and it drops you off at the Bus Terminal where you catch another bus to the Rail Terminal and then you use the Subway/Train to get downtown.  We decide to drive the 8km to the Bus Terminal and take the bus to the Rail Terminal.  All in all from Campsite to downtown Montreal takes a little over an hour.  Once we figured out which bus to take and which rail line takes us to where, it was incredibly easy and efficient and we could figure it out even using English.  It was nice that we didn’t have to drive and could just enjoy the City.  We went to The Basillica, Old Montreal, The Casino and The Botanical Gardens.  We took the Aqua-Bus tour of Old Montreal and then they slide into the river and you can see Montreal from the water.  Pretty cool stuff.  You couldn’t possibly eat in all the restaurants there – it was hard to choose where to go.  We had Brazillian BBQ, and Seafood Pizza.  Both were fantastic!  It rained a bit while we were there – nothing torrential, just drizzly, then sun, then clouds etc.  It’s always nicer when the sun shines :-).  I decided that Montreal is so colorful that the buildings and street scenes really look better in black and white… it simplifies them and creates a better texture and feel for the streets there.

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A sharp dressed man strolling thru the square in Old Montreal.

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Along the Port in Old Montreal – Gaspar’s in the rain.

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People are so immune to having a camera pointed at them- no one’s looking at me and I was crouched right in front of them. A sign of the times.

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Just a bee doing it’s think along the harbor in Old Montreal.

Montreal Botanical Gardens – July 2017

I absolutely love photographing flowers.  I like their colors, the details in the leaves, or stems or the flower itself.  While in Montreal I took an afternoon to myself and found my way to The Montreal Botanical Gardens.  They are near the 1967 Montreal Expo Site so I got to walk past there as I found the entrance to the Gardens.  Here are my 3 photo’s that show the colors and serenity of the gardens.

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People enjoying the Lilly Garden at Montreal Botanical Garden – July 2017

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A rose at The Montreal Botanical Garden – July 2017

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A couple enjoying the Montreal Botanical Garden Lilly Pond.

Quebec City – Food? Good – Driving? BAD

Quebec City, Quebec – July 2017

 

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Holy crap, I’m so behind on this Blog.. haha.  We are now in PEI and I’m still posting pictures from Quebec City.  But, I need to do things in an orderly fashion, so I update my story and this site when I have time to sit down and spend a couple of hours organizing things.

What can I say about Quebec City?  It wasn’t HUGE, but it was so charming.  Different styles of architecture in doorways, roof lines, window shapes and building materials.  Copper, Tin, Brick – it has it all.

We did NOT enjoy driving there.  The streets are narrow and do not run in a straight line.  You have triangle intersections with angled stop lights and stop signs.  One way streets, signs in French only.. aye yaye yaye.  It was frightening, and I’m really happy to report that I didn’t run anyone or anything over.  I did cross a few lanes abruptly.. but no one seemed to mind.. tee hee.

Quebec City is very hilly, you would sure get your butt in shape if you lived there and walked to work, or home, or grocery shopping (for instance).  I can not imagine how awful it would be in winter – it must be frightening.   There is NOT a good public transit system like in Montreal.  Part of the reason is possibly the size of the City??  It’s not huge and the population is not as dense as Montreal’s is.   This is just a wild guess on my part.  We would certainly have taken advantage of it if it had been available.

The FOOD in the Province of Quebec is amazing – the French sure know how to cook.  Smoked Meat Sandwiches, Crepes, Poutine, Lobster Poutine (OMG it was delicious), Cheese, Pastries.. you get the idea.

We took advantage of the hop on – hop off bus (our driver was a jerk), but the tour was still worthwhile.  We saw the Plains of Abraham, The Citadel, Churches, Art, Historical Buildings, New construction.  It is a busy city with a European vibe and the French have a great sense of fun and joy with each other.  I would recommend any one who is interested to go there.  Don’t worry if you don’t speak French (because I don’t), and everyone was very accommodating and friendly towards us.

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