Sun 2 Oct 2005 - Sun 2 Oct 2005 24 °C
After a week in Montreal, it was time for Sam and I to hit the road and explore some of the countryside and other attractions Quebec has to offer. After comparing prices, we settled on Avis for our rental. Of course, even though I asked for the smallest car possible, we were given a Grand Am, which seems pretty darned big to me. I'm starting to wonder whether rental companies should actually give you a discount when they do this, considering the extra fuel cost involved. After finding a decent road map, we set a course for Quebec City.
Quebec City is an absolutely gorgeous place, something like a North American Prague. Really a very quaint place, with some beautiful old streets, a gigantic castle and a very nice aspect on the river. After a drive-by view of the city, we pulled up at the Information Center to arrange some accommodation. Booked a nice little place in the old town; Hotel Vieux de Quebec, drove down, zig zagged down a few backstreets and finally found a metered car park right next to the hotel that would eventually save us a whole dollar compared to the parking garage; bargain! The next morning we walked around the city and enjoyed some incredible weather; warm, blue skies and barely a cloud to be seen. There were some gigantic cruise ships in town while we were there, so the streets were packed with tourists. It seems a popular stop for the cruise companies and for very good reason.
After a couple of hours of looking around, we set on our merry way towards lac (lake) Saint Jean, a couple of hours drive east through beautiful fall scenery. The leaves are changing colour this time of the year and it really does make for some spectacular views. In particular if you have colour tinted glasses like I do. I swear these shades serve a double purpose sometimes; saving my eyes and just improving my outlook on life.
We pulled into the small town of Roberval on the lake and booked into a motel with a pool table on display. Dinner in the nearby "resto pub" proved a cultural experience. The menu was entirely in French of course, so we spent a while deciphering it as best we could. In the end I chose the tempting Croque Monsieur Grande, which turned out to be a panini and beef sandwich of sorts. Pretty good fare actually. Sam's Beouf le Pub looked pretty apetising as well.
This morning we woke up to another fine Quebecian (made up word alert!) day. Starting to wish I brought some more t-shirts. The nearby Zoo sauvage de Saint-Félicien (Wild Zoo of Saint-Félicien), which proved to be a great few hours. In particular, seeing the polar bears dive into the water and swim about was well worth the entry price. Other attractions included Grizzly Bears, Lynxes, Cougars, Moose and so on. We hopped on a little train cart thingy for an hour. Supposedly "bi-lingual", but it turned out the only bilingual part about it were the small signs in our cart. In fact, I wish they didn't talk so much on this trip - it must have been the loudest wildlife experience ever. It felt good getting some peace and quiet when it was over.
Other than that, we've just been enjoying the beautiful scenery seemingly on offer in whichever direction we head.
Church in Alma