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Sean Patrick Hagen

Vancouver based programmer who also does stuff with D&D and video games.

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So a few weeks ago Marie and I went on a trip to Quebec. The main reason was that we were going to her high school reunion. We also just needed a week off. It’s also been a while since either of has had time off, so we figured we’d take a whole week and have some fun. We spent a few nights in Montreal, and then spent some time wandering around Quebec.

Hit the jump to get a full rundown of our adventure.

June 21st

We arrived in Montreal around 3pm, and picked up our Thrifty rental car. We missed a few things on the rental form, which caused some unhappiness later on – but I’ll get into that on another post. We drove into Montreal, and found the AirBNB place that we had booked for two nights. Finding parking was a whole different ball game though. We managed to find some parking that was about a ten minute walk from where we were staying, and it was free too.

After we ‘checked in’, we went out to wander St Catherine’s street. We saw about 8 bachelorette parties, and only one bachelor party. I wonder how far people come from to have a bachelor party in Montreal – especially on St. Catherine’s street, where there’s all sorts of strip bars.

June 22nd

In the morning, we drove around trying to find a better place to park the car. We ended up parking the car in the underground lot of a library. It was a pretty awesome deal, we got a full 24 hours for $20 – which meant we were good until we left Montreal the next day. As we were leaving the library, we took a look at one of the many Bixi sites scattered around Montreal. We ended up not renting, for reasons I’ll get into in yet another post.

We took the Metro to a station near Old Montreal, and we wandered around for a bit. Eventually we found a spot with a patio to have some lunch. I had a notebook, and wrote down my first thoughts on being in Montreal again. Basically, it boiled down to: low, and old. Montreal ( outside of the downtown core ) doesn’t seem to have many buildings over four or five stories. There’s also a bunch of buildings that are pretty old. There are probably a few in Vancouver that are about as old, but there are way more in Montreal.

After lunch, we wandered around the old port along the St Laurent. They’ve got a nice artifical white sand beach, which probably isn’t too easy to find along a river like the St Laurent. After wandering around for a bit, we decided to find some shade to take a rest in – it was pretty warm out int he open. We took the Metro to Sherbrooke, and walked to Espace La Fontaine – a nice little park. We lazed about by a pond for an hour or so, taking it easy. For a little while, I watched a few guys sail remote control sailboats on the pond. That’s not something I’ve seen much out on this coast – people sailing tiny boats on park ponds. I know we probably don’t have as many as they do out east – it makes me wonder if it’s part of the sailing club culture that might be a bit stronger out east. Whatever.

Eventually we started wandering around again, and ended up getting some gelatto from a nice little place. After gelatto, we headed to St Bock, a microbrewery in the Latin district. The beer wasn’t very good, to be honest – which is why we didn’t stay for dinner. We ended up at the Portuguese place beneath the place we were staying.

June 23rd

After we woke up in the morning, we found our way to Fairmont Bagels. We picked up some bagels, and sat down outside to have a few for breakfast. Afterwards, we tried to head to another microbrewery. We figured we could pick up a growler for after we finished travelling. Unfortunately, they didn’t open until 3pm, and we wanted to be on the road. Once we got back on the road, we promptly got lost trying to leave Montreal.

We drove to Chambly. Our original plan was to try and go on tours at two microbreweries, but one was closed on Mondays, and Unibroue doesn’t do tours ( boourns ). We made our way to Magog via the scenic route. It was a pretty awesome drive, and it reminded me why I enjoy road trips so much.

We stoped at La Memphré for dinner, a microbrewery pretty close to the water in Magog. They had some pretty awesome beer!. I had the sampler, six different beers. I really liked their Kilt Scotch Ale, but it wasn’t the right time of the day for that kind of beer. It would have been a lot better at night when it was a bit cooler. I ended up getting a pint of the Luna de Miel ( the Honey Moon ), which ended up being an AWESOME summer beer. While we were having dinner, we made planned out what were were going to be doing with the rest of our day. We ended up deciding that we were going to head to Trois-Rivières, and spend the night there. We booked a room at the Hotel Motel Coconut, which ended up being a lot nicer than we thought it’d be. It had two bars! Both of them were Tiki themed.

June 24th

The next morning we drove to Quebec City. We wanted to spend St Jean-Baptist day there, because we figured it’d be the best place to enjoy the celebrations.

We found a spot to park in a pay lot by the port. It was 12 cents per minute, which I’ve never seen before. It’s an odd way to bill people.

It was getting close to noon, so we wandered over the the section of old Quebec near the port. We found a place to have lunch, “Le Lapin Sauté”, where we got to sit outside under some trees. It was a pretty awesome place to have lunch. We had poutine with rabbit meat, and rabbit with two mustard sauce – both of which were super tasty. I’m now a fan of rabbit. I wonder how it stacks up, health-wise, against stuff like chicken and beef. Were also sitting between two tables full of French naval officers. Apparently there was a ship from the French navy docked for the day, presumably to give all the sailors some shore leave. I wonder why they picked that day1. I didn’t get the name of the ship though, which I’m a bit sad about.

After lunch, we walked up ( and up, and up, and up ) to the Governor’s Promenade. We ended up walking all the way around the fort, but we didn’t go in. By the time we got onto the promenade, it was starting to get a bit miserable out. When we got to the top of the hill where the fort is, it was raining. Not hard, but enough to make us want to bail on our plans for the day. We ended up deciding to head to Marie’s parents campsite a day early.

We decided to salvage what we could of the day though, and took a scenic route from Quebec City to Mont-Tremblant. We ended up having dinner at Mont-Tremblant in a McDonalds. After that, we drove the rest of the way to Grand Remous, where we turned onto a small road that took us the rest of the way to the campsite. On the road to the campsite, we nearly hit a racoon – I’m pretty sure we probably ruffled some fur. We also saw a fox, which was way cooler – I’ve never seen a fox in the wild before. Eventually we arrived at the campsite at 11pm, after traveling a total of 750km. Marie chatted with her mom and brother for a bit, and I basically just had a beer then went to bed – I was pretty tired from driving.

June 25th

I got out of bed around 10am. Everyone else had woken up much earlier and had started to get the boat ready for the day. Marie, her brother and I took the boat out for a quick spin, and then came back for lunch. After lunch, I went out with Marie’s brother to go fishing for a bit. I haven’t been fishing since I was a young kid, and I had been looking forward to going out again. It was pretty much what I expected: relaxing and fun, even though I didn’t catch anything.

After we came back to the campsite, I went for a swim, which was nice. Being in the cool water after being out on the water? Heaven.

June 26th

I went fishing again. Didn’t catch anything ( again ), just lost some worms to the water.

Marie and I went to the general store of the campground and picked up some beer. Spent the rest of the day just taking it easy at the campsite. After dinner, I did some more fishing – but this time I used the same bait I used when I was a kid fishing with my dad: hot dog pieces! I got some pretty funny looks, but whatever. Still didn’t catch anything though.

After getting practically devoured by mosquitos, I decided to switch fishing spots. I headed over to the campground pier, and fished while dangling my feet in the water. It was super relaxing, and I’m glad I did. I also made my own fish hook and lure out of a saftey pin and some bottle caps. I didn’t do any better, but I wanted to give it a shot. I’m sure I could probably catch something eventually with that kind of lure. I’ll have to give it another shot some other time.

June 27th and 28th

We drove to Marie’s parents house, and spent the next two days basically being pretty lazy. On the 28th, we went to Marie’s high school reunion, which was pretty much what I was expecting. Her graduating class was only about 30 people, and only about half that showed up. It did make me wonder how my reunion went, but I was too busy camping the weekend of mine.

June 29th

After waking up at 3:30am, we started our long drive back to Montreal. Driving after getting up that early in the morning is not fun. No bueno. I didn’t really fully wake up until we were pretty much back in Montreal.

Once we parked the car, I took at look at the trip odometer. We hit 2000km exactly! I was pretty excited about that.

We checked in our bags and headed to our gate, looking forward to our flight. However, we thought that we had booked a direct flight from Montreal to Vancouver. Ours had a layover in Winnipeg. Because of some stormy and windy weather, our flight was delayed an hour and a half. Once we finally arrived in Winnipeg, we found out our flight to Vancouver had been cancelled because of the weather. We ended up sleeping in the airport, which was no fun at all. I only got about two hours of sleep.

June 30th

The next morning we caught a flight at 7:10am to Vancouver. After arriving, my sister picked us up. Once we got home, I took a short nap, and then spent the rest of the day in a weird haze. I didn’t want to sleep more, because I had to work the next day, and I figured that I should try and go to bed at a reasonable hour, instead of noon.

The End

Overall, it was a fantastic trip. Being on the road and driving where ever our fancy took us was something I kind of miss. It’s been way too long since my last real road trip, and now I’m really looking forward to the one that we’re planning for 2016.

  1. Totally not wondering, they were there for St. Jean-Baptist day.