The pink flip flops…


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Ah Quebec – une agréable surprise!

A lot has changed between the first part of the story and the second. Remember the three friends I set out with for a journey to Charlevoix – I am engaged to one of them now! Yep. That’s right! Life is good!

So where were we – oh yeah – driving north.

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The GPS was an amazing invention (trust me I am all about the GPS) but every now and then it goofs up in ways you will always remember for the rest of your lives.

Ours did too.

The town we were trying to reach is called SaintIrénée and it is so small that the entire town has only one code. And we, smart as we were, googled the hotel’s code (which was – needless to say- the same code as the city) and started following the sonorous lady’s directions. We kept driving through the beautiful windy roads of the town along the lush green countryside with adorable houses and beautiful farmlands. We drove on with the density of humankind steadily decreasing. Soon no houses, needless also to say – no farmlands. What was visible though was a clear dominating forest line that came into view. We soon came to a point where the paved road gave way to a gravel road. We drove on it for a few mins only to realize that the gravel road ultimately turned a muddy road and was leading us into the thick forest. The car came to a unprecedented halt and for a few seconds no one spoke. We all just kept trying to peer as far ahead onto the road as we could to spot any signs of civilization. The road faded away into the forest. The GPS was clearly taking us to the middle of the city which was – what do you know- a deep thick forest!

I flipped out my phone to confirm the coordinates and a sign of ‘No Signal’ stared back at me. None of us had any signal on our phones. After a quick status meeting – we took a U turn on the noisy gravel road and started heading back. We used the old school GPS to triangulate the position of our motel – we stopped and asked for directions. We started driving on the advised road and within a few minutes it took us out of the city and this gorgeous view opened up.

 

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Our eyes popped out! Was this for real?

Yes it was! We drove further…

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The pink flipflops grew more and more excited with every mile.

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Oh so many colors! I had not expected Quebec to be so beautiful! I lived there for 2 years and never new this part of Quebec existed.

Soon, we reached our motel. It was a very ordinary place.

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But what it overlooked was simply extraordinary!

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I have spends hundreds of dollars trying to find such a beautiful place to stay in, on many occasions and vacations – but this was absolutely astounding!

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We just couldn’t get enough of it!

This place so so secluded, that we had to drive to another town for dinner. Also this is the part of Quebec where no one speaks english. Thankfully one of our friends was quite fluent in it so we were successful in ordering food we could recognize. A couple of my friends went for a whale watching tour the next day. I didn’t, because I felt it was too expensive an exercise. I am happy I didn’t because I got to see one for free in Tofino. But that is a story for another time.

Quebec is breathtaking and the pink flip flops are ever so glad to know that there is much more to Charlevoix than just that small nondescript metro station on the way home.

Au Revoir Charlevoix! We will meet again!

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Charlie – who?

“Let’s plan a trip to Charlevoix”

The metro station? The pink flip flops chuckled!

“Charlevoix – Its a place in northern Quebec” said my friend. Now I have lived in Montreal for two years and the only place I knew with that name was the small metro station on the green line. And it wasn’t even a big fancy metro station – a rather nondescript halt on the way home.

I opened up the map of Quebec to cross check if my fellow British Columbian friend had his facts right. But there it was – Charlevoix.  “What is so great about it?” I wanted to know. Apparently my friend’s boss who lived in Quebec fifteen years ago had been there sometime between the video cassette died and the floppy disc was born, and he had my friend sold on how beautiful the place was and that it should not be missed. We were flying to Montreal for my graduation ceremony and hence around it the trip was planned.

We boarded a plane in sunny Vancouver and landed in rainy Montreal (ironic I say!) The graduation ceremony was in the middle of the week so we planned to leave for Charlevoix early next morning itself. Together with a couple of friends we took off on our Quebecois expedition. The plan was to stop at Quebec city for a few hours, take in all the Canadian-Europe and then carry on until Charlevoix. So apart from some pee breaks and Tim stops there weren’t too many highlights along the way to Quebec city.

The first thing we did was visit the Quebec city tourist information booth, because believe it or not, we were traveling without reservations. We had tried to book accommodation online, but summer time is always very busy there so we could not find any place that could sleep 4 people for one night. Nonetheless, we had set out with the plan that we will figure out accommodation when we reach Charlevoix. And we lucked out too. The lady at the Tourist information center, besides being very beautiful, and very french, was very helpful too. She booked us a room in a motel which was incredibly cheap and could sleep 4 people.  Great! Accommodation – check! With that out of the way, we were free to explore the Quebec city now.

Quebec city is beautiful. The last time I visited Quebec city was during the snow festival – La Carnaval de Quebec and I remember freezing to death there…

For perspective’s sake…

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Yes that was how I remembered Quebec city, but came summer it completely transformed into a different landscape.

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And this is how I knew Quebec – very European, a lot of character and man-made beauty. Quebec city especially reminds one of the fairy tale town where the brute warrior comes looking for treasure and finds the princess instead. Very Don Quixote!

But there was a lot more to Quebec that I did not know, for what lay beyond Quebec city up north – was an incredible surprise.

Stay tuned for more….