Quebec, Monday September 15, 2014
This is our 300th post of this blog. According to internet sources, our output over the last 20 months would be the equivalent of two novels. Just think, you have been e-reading two novels free of charge! I hope they were worthwhile for you.
Today was a travel day, Ottawa to Quebec. Yes, I know we bypassed Montreal. No, we did not make a mistake, we planned the route this way. Well, actually we made several mistakes traveling today. The first half hour driving to our hiking destination in Gatineau Park (a place we had been at just yesterday) resulted in two wrong turns and a slight delay in reaching our destination. Without wi-fi on our smart phone, we had to navigate by map and sense of direction. No wise cracks please, we did make it successfully.
Our second mistake was in trying to drive into downtown Quebec. Route 440 was to begin right at the Route 40 we were driving from the Montreal area (the west) but we both swear there was no signage whatsoever. We ended up going to the east side of Quebec and coming in from the east. But again, it worked out fine, we just had an opportunity to drive in Quebec rush hour traffic.
This drive was entirely (except for 6 blocks in Ottawa) in Quebec province. It was an interesting comparison. In Ontario, even in the western portion by Thunder Bay, the traffic signs are uniformly in English and French. In Quebec, the traffic signs are entirely in French. My American chip-enabled credit is more accurately described as a chip and signature card. Most of Canada uses a chip and PIN card. My card which worked fine at gas stations pumps in Ontario did not work at the first gas stop in Quebec; I had to go inside to use the card to pay for the gas.
Other notes while I am rambling. A. While our recollection from the Thunder Bay area is weak, we have noted that there are few pick up trucks or large SUVs in Ottawa city and Quebec province. B. In driving through small towns in Canada, we rarely saw a post office. In the U.S., every small town has one prominently located. (That’s why our postal service is running in the red and theirs is in the black.) C. Canada still has pay phones in visible, public locations. My guess is that there must be a governmental mandate to do so.
But back to our day. We drove to Gatineau Park, planning to hike around Pink Lake. The trail was closed, even though it was open yesterday. Instead we went on the one hour hike of King Mountain trail which leads up to the first geodetic survey station site in Canada. The views from King Mountain are similar to those from Champlain Outlook which we were at Sunday.
The drive to Quebec is listed at about 4.5 hours-not counting navigational mistakes. We stopped at Montebello, a small town with a store selling chocolates made on the site. Very smooth chocolate.
Our Hilton hotel in Quebec is right across the street from one of the main entrances to Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We are here for six nights so you will read more about this as the days progress.
Ed and Chris 9/15 10:30 pm
P.S. If you are planning to drive your car in Canada, remember to get a copy of the Non-Resident Inter Province Motor Vehicle Liability insurance card.