The train ride on the famous Adirondak was fascinating, like sitting on a magic carpet, watching landscapes of forests, rivers, and lakes zoom by our windows, green and sparkling in the summer sun. With time to spare and room to move, I was able to relax with a cup of coffee, the boys got to catch up on homework and Paul spend a few chilled out hours wrapping his brain around Sudoku.
Montreal looked small and frumpy after the passionate kisses of NY but we learnt valuable lessons upon our arrival.
1. Next time we decide to strech our legs and walk to our hotel, we should check the weather forcast first.
2. The stronger the rain, the less chances to find a taxi, and of course, the further the hotel, the wetter you get.
3. We now know that all our luggages will remain perfectly waterproof after half an hour of rain and that Maxim and Callum's optimistic resiliance is also waterproof at least for that length of time.
Luckily, the hotel provided us with a warm welcome (thank you so much, Carole if you read this) a good breakfast and a location right in the city centre. We spent the next day chillaxing (very important word for Maxim and Callum). We found a new ride (yes, another Dodge Charger, this time in black, even cooler) and explored this friendly city, getting ready for a whole string of summer festivals. I am getting used to French Canadian, where a car is a char, a friend is a chum and a poutine is not a russian president but a stack of chips, covered in cold nuggets of cheese and hot gravy (an aquired taste).
Montreal has a 'Perth' feel about it, properous, energetic with the comfy warmth of a smaller city and a discret undercurrent of social inegalities. There is a crisis here, looming just below the surface. They were expecting huge demonstrations this week end, as the cost of life is rising relentlessly months after months, expecially the fuel and the groceries hit by a 15% tax. The Canadian Dollar is now at parity with the US, so the american tourists have stopped coming, fruits and veg exports are suffering and the region is hurting. Many houses and business are for sale in quaint, touristic areas that should be making money instead.
The next day, we were back on the road, on the lovely named Chemin du Roy (the King's Way) a road build in the middle of the 18th century to link Montreal with Quebec along the river for the benefit of the fur trade. It is like driving among the pages of an history book, villages after villages. The houses here are as neat as buttons, frozen in time, perfect little gardens, beautiful white wooden walls, french windows in bright colours, from turquoise to red. They really pop out in a landscape of green leaves, long grass and rivers.
We arrived in Quebec City today, just in time to walk around and above the Montmorency falls. From a rope bridge soaring over a massive waterfall, we saw a bright rainbow in the spray, yep, another image for our memory box
After a weekend stroll around the historic town of Quebec, we will follow this road along the St Laurent all the way to the sea, then cross inland to Lake Saint Jean, in a large triangle all the way back to Montreal. Nice tracks ahead, through green leafty landscapes of rivers and forests,