I’ll just start with the bad news: On our first day in Québec City, I left our camera in a coffee shop downtown where it was stolen. It was our anniversary (although we didn’t realize that the camera was gone until the next day, which was kind of a blessing because it would have ruined the day for me), we were in a rush to get to the hotel, I am terribly absent-minded, etc. I do have to say that Mark was so gracious and kind to me when we realized our mistake that it totally made me want to marry him again.
The night of our anniversary, when we were still blissfully unaware that our incredibly expensive camera was probably being pawned at that very moment, we went out for a fancy French dinner. We even ate snails! They basically tasted like mushrooms. Then we meandered back through the Old Town.
Before reaching Québec, we had heard nothing but amazing things, and it definitely lived up to our expectations. It’s the only fortified city in North America, and it definitely had a distinctly European feel to it. It really reminded me of Dubrovnik, another city I love. We had two full days there, which was a good amount of time to get a feel for the Old Town. We didn’t really spend any time outside the walls, but I don’t know if anyone who visits there does. It was a bit overcast and gloomy, which made me so damn happy.
We took a guided tour of the Citadelle, which is still used as an existing military base. Here is an amazing panoramic shot which I took (NOT MARK) and had no help from Photoshop whatsoever with:
Afterwards, it started raining pretty heavily, so we ducked into a tiny café on one of the back streets for something to warm us up. My hot chocolate came in a bowl, and the Amélie soundtrack was playing and the walls were painted yellow. This is what my own personal heaven is like, even though it’s a terrible cliché:
That evening we checked out Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world. We couldn’t afford to stay there, so we did the next best thing and had terribly overpriced martinis. Delicious and extra boozy!
After leaving Québec, we crossed the St. Lawrence river and headed up the Gaspé Peninsula. So far, this has been the most stunning scenery we’ve seen. The highway hugs the coast, so you get uninterrupted stretches of cliffs, rocky beaches, and endless water. I know that we are incredibly lucky to live right by an ocean, but something about this landscape just makes me want to pontificate endlessly and write hideously flowery sentences. Can you blame me, though?
We spent a rather rainy night in the van. This was the first time we’ve camped in it in over a month (due to a combination of hot weather and big cities) and I have to admit that both of us were pretty grumpy and displeased. However, the next day, we arrived at a log cabin we had rented for the weekend in Gaspé. Having just stayed in a fabulous cabin in St. Boniface, we felt a little guilty splurging on such nice accommodations again, but all traces of guilt were washed away when we pulled up.
We spent the weekend reading, working, sitting on the deck, roasting a chicken, watching copious amounts of “Six Feet Under” and constantly gaping at the view. It was fantastic.
We also drove into Forillon National Park and went on a spectacular hike out to what felt like the end of the world, the very tip of that part of the peninsula. There were all these small coves with sandy beaches, and the colour of the water was unreal. I feel like I’m using a lot of overly enthusiastic adjectives in this post, but I really don’t know how else to describe some of the things we’ve seen.
At the end of the trail, we came across a lighthouse and a porcupine.
We drove the short distance from Gaspé to Percé, another beautiful coastal town with this very famous rock formation:
Percé is well-known for lobster, and we didn’t want to offend anyone, so we HAD to have some for dinner. Mark was thoroughly amused by all the adults in the restaurant wearing bibs, and I told him I’d pay him $50 if he went up to one of them and tried to feed them lobster while imitating an airplane landing. He refused to do it, but I love him anyway (See: Pia loses camera, first paragraph).
I have to say that two and a half months into this trip, Quebéc has really stolen my heart. However! Tomorrow we head to the Maritimes, where I have been waiting to go for 27 years. I’m not sure how much of this is based on actual knowledge of the culture and scenery, and how much is based on my ever-enduring love for Anne of Green Gables, but I guess I’m about to find out.