Distance = 279 km Gas = $31.08 ($1.42/L in Trois Rivieres)
Summer is over. I woke up to sunshine in Montréal this morning, but outside the wind was blowing and it was about eight degrees outside. After saying goodbye to Eve and buying myself one last chocolate croissant for the road, I found my way (no thanks to Siri and her terrible French accent) towards Quebec City.
Trois-Rivieres is about half way, so I stopped there for gas and to buy some fromage to have with the leftover bagels from St. Viateur. I ate my lunch on the waterfront boardwalk (or, I guess I should say promenade), which today was deserted since it’s the end of the season. It may have been cold, but the sun was still shining, and being from Vancouver, I know that’s not to be taken for granted.
Travel tip: If you visit Trois-Rivieres, go to the visitor’s centre. It’s easy to find since the signs will guide you there from the highway, and the people who work there are super friendly and really helpful. They’ll also give you a free parking pass that’s good for the whole day at a parking lot right near the waterfront. The old part of town is evidently the thing to see, but I ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to wander around.
The drive from Montréal to Quebec takes about three hours if you take the route on the north side of the St Lawrence River. If you take the south side, following the Trans-Canada, it takes only about 2.5 hours. I decided to take the more scenic route, though, because I’m actually staying half an hour north of Quebec City – St-Gabriel de Valcartier has 3,013 people and four churches – with a local couple, Denis and Pascale. Somewhat dissappointingly, they’re English is excellent, so I’ve not had to speak French since I arrived here this afternoon.
The house where I’m staying is a beautiful bungalow in the country (a small town called St. Gabriel de Valcartier), away from everything, and very tranquille. I only met my hosts a few short hours ago, but there’s nothing like a home cooked meal shared among strangers to make you feel like you’re among friends. (Pascale even made bread.) By the time we were standing in the kitchen together doing the dishes – Denis washing, me drying and Pascale putting everything away – we were laughing together and talking enthusiastically about books (they’re both avid readers), and I felt right at home. I highly recommend couchsurfing as a way to meet locals while travelling, even in one’s own country.
Tomorrow Denis and I are going to see what there is to see (and eat) in Quebec City. So far, j’aime beaucoup la belle province (and I’m not talking about the local fast-food chain!)
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