Saturday Morning Coffee

International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.

Memoires de la Belle Province

There are no words to describe the wonders that a good holiday can do to the psyche! I’ve just come back from a few days away and could not be more refreshed! Sunshine and salt water air did a world of good and I’m ready for anything the world throws  at me – well, maybe. I didn’t go far, I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but was surrounded by good friends, good laughs and good food! I went to Montreal (so many memories!), then on to Quebec City, and then further on to the Saguenay region along the St. Lawrence river.

I can’t believe I’d never experienced this region before – absolutely breathtaking! Just outside of Quebec City, the roads turn hilly – maybe more than hilly, more  like moutain-esque – and our tank of a rental car made for interesting driving! Nature was beautiful, nothing but the green of the trees and the glare of the water to keep our attention on the way. Then as the highway nears the river, little towns dot the sea banks, tourists emerge from the hiking trails and stalls with fresh produce taunt the hungry driver.

The lure of the area is for the sea, the boats, the fresh fruits de mer and …. les baleines! This part of the river is unique for its buffet of underwater treats, attracting underwater creatures of all types, including whales! So beautiful and amazing to see from the coast and even more breathtaking to kayak with the whales! Our first attempt was delayed because of wind and cold, but the following morning at 5am (it takes something special to get me out of bed at that time!) off we went to suit up and get in the water and within 10 minutes, a beluga came our way and swam in between us and  under us and gave us a  little wink 🙂 Unbelievable and so relaxing to sit in the boat, watch the sunrise on the water with whales  swimming below.

Our trip focused on the outdoors and all it has to offer. What an Adventure! Not for the weak at heart or bad shoe-ed as hiking, bike riding, rock jumping, sand/stair climbing and kayaking were major staples of the trip, and then was proceeded by scrapes, bruises, cuts, heavy breathing and a trip to the doctor :s  Despite the setbacks, it was worth it and my muscles are thankful in the long-run. The wildlife we saw – the belugas, the birds, the beaver – and the views from just about everywhere are unforgettable.

For the most part, traveling was easy. Driver’s and speed limits weren’t nearly as dangerous as in Montreal or Ontario, and finding a place to stay took just a few phone calls – during the summer, many houses turn in to Gites (B&B’s) where traveler’s get a good taste of local culture and cozy atmospheres that only Grandma’s know how to provide. French is widely spoken and my skills were sharpened to the Quebecois accent, though like most foreign places, hand signals and smatterings of English will always helpful.

On our way back, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad that our trip was coming to a close. I’m very nostalgic for the province which always has something new to offer and has captivated my heart for years and saying good bye to out-of-town friends is never easy. Every place I go that I’d like to return to, I always leave something behind that I haven’t done or seen for the next time, promising to return some day. Although I’ve been to Montreal and Quebec as a province more times than I can count, it never seems that I can get to the end of the list of new things to do and see. Can’t wait to starting planning the next one!

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This entry was posted on 02/08/2010 by in adventure travel, Canada, environment, Health and Body, oceans, sustainable, wildlife.

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