Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Quebec -- we set out on a journey to the Great Far North

Although we had to cancel our trip to France this year, we thought surely the next best thing would be a road trip to Quebec, right? (As it turned out the answer was "No," and don't call me "surely.") Anyway, the plan was to drive to Quebec City, spend a few nights and then cruise around the the Gaspe Peninsula, swing down through New Brunswick, cross into Maine spend a night in Bangor with family and and then home. That part worked according to plan.

So, late on the afternoon of 31 July I walked over from work and picked up our rental car (the Great White Whale) from Avis in downtown Providence. We packed it up that night, and bright and early Wednesday morning we pulled out of our parking lot and headed for I-95. Our route would take us north to Route 3, then I-93 up through New Hampshire, I-91 through a sliver of Vermont where we would cross the border at Newport and Derby Line.

Once we passed the Q & A exam at the border ("Why are you coming to Canada?" "Beats me, why am I coming to Canada?") we continued on Route 55 around Sherbrooke and then turned east on Route 20 at Drummondville, which took us on a parallel course with the Saint Lawrence River straight to Quebec.

(A stop at the welcome center in Quebec was enlightening: the only flag flying was the Quebec flag; the maple leaf was nowhere to be seen.)

Our hotel was in "Old Quebec," just off the old port area, and to get there we had to cross the Saint Lawrence on Route 73 and then turn into the city on Route 440. After a brief flurry of confusion about parking we soon found ourselves unpacking in our hotel, Le Port Royal.

This leg of the trip had taken just a bit over eight hours of leisurely driving -- and we were looking forward to two or three days of exploring "a bit of old Europe" on foot. Boy, were we in for a few surprises.

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