On the Road and Trail… Again

Hubby and I are on the road again this week my friends. And this post is a trial run with my new iPad which I bought because my old iPad wouldn’t talk to my new blog format. Not powerful enough. This newer version is great. But. There’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there? It won’t fit into my old case with the Bluetooth keyboard. And they haven’t yet made a new case with a keyboard that fits the new iPad. So. I’m gritting my teeth and typing on the screen which is a pain. I’ve a feeling this might be a short post.

Early morning departure…. pre-coffee.

Anyway. Thursday. We hit the road early at 5:00 A.M.. The truck was packed to the rafters, well, if trucks had rafters it would be. Golf clubs, bikes, Hubby’s fishing equipment, suitcases, books, coolers filled with garden produce for our week at our timeshare condo, bottles of homemade pickles (Hubby’s) and jams (mine) which we’re taking to Mum. After countless bottles of Mum’s pickles and jams making the trip, over the years, from the farm to our little house on the Rideau, it’s time for payback.

The rain started before we hit Montreal, and it rained hard all the way up the St. Lawrence, past Quebec City, and pretty much until we drove into Baie-Saint-Paul where we were spending the night. Driving the highway in driving rain is no picnic, as I’m sure you know. Especially when one is virtually alone. When, like Hubby, one is unlucky enough to have a travelling companion who has trouble staying awake in a vehicle at the best of times. Let alone when lulled by the rhythmic swish, tock, swish, tock of windshield wipers. Ha. Poor Hubby.

Waking up somewhere north of Quebec City

So it was raining as we began our stroll through Baie-Saint-Paul. Historic Baie-Saint-Paul is a lovely little city on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence, and it has a thriving art scene. In fact, Cirque de Soleil originated here back in the eighties. But lovely as this town is, Hubby and I weren’t strolling aimlessly. I was on a mission. We were looking for two specific art galleries. I wanted to see the work of several Quebec artists I’d read about online.

I’ve been looking for just the right painting for a long time now. Years ago I was inspired by my friend Barb’s art collection; she and her husband Réjean have some lovely pieces, all by Quebec artists. And all of them depicting the iconic beauty of Quebec. Barb’s husband is from Lac Saint-Jean. And even though she was originally from the States, she loved Quebec. Every year when Hubby and I travel to our timeshare vacation on the Saguenay, we stop in Quebec City, or in Baie-Saint-Paul… and I look for just the right painting to make my own. I’m a notoriously slow shopper. Mostly it’s the deciding that scares me.

But this year Hubby and I left Galerie Guylaine Fournier elated. I had bought not one but two paintings by Quebec artist Christian Bergeron. I couldn’t leave either of them behind. One is of the fall colours in the Charlevoix region, and the other of summer. Ms. Fournier says they are in a style Bergeron has experimented with lately called “prismatic”… as if we are looking at the scene through a prism. See the vertical lines on the painting below? It’s that slight distortion which captivated me. That and the colours and the energy. Paintings which are too representational are like rhyming poetry to me, or prose which has too many adjectives. Too pretty, not rough-edged enough. If that makes any sense.

I must admit that I stressed once I’d paid for them. “What if I get home and hate them?” I wailed. Hubby just smiled and said, “You won’t.” And I think he’s right.

Couleurs d’ automne by Christian Bergeron

Later the rain stopped, and we had a wonderful dinner at Le Mouton Noir in Baie-Saint-Paul. A rustic riverside bistro with the best food we’ve had in ages. Our shared starter had smoked beets and duck and other yummy bits I can’t recall. Then we strolled through the quiet streets of the town to our B&B. Tomorrow we had hills to climb.

View from the top of Mont du Lac des Cygnes, the St. Lawrence in the far distance.

The hike up to Mont du Lac des Cygnes in Parc National du Grand Jardin was all uphill, as you might expect. About three hours round trip. We were glad we’d brought our hiking boots and poles. As I learned in Italy last year, hiking for a few hours in regular sneakers is murder on the feet. And downhill kills your knees and hips. All those rolling rocks and bi-ig steps down. It’s been a while since we’ve hiked such a steep trail. But it felt good to be moving, and breathing hard, and not sitting in the car. And the views were spectacular. As you can see.

The art collector and her husband. Ha.
A “belvédère” enroute from Parc National du Grand Jardin to L’Anse-Saint-Jean on the Saguenay.
The marina just down the hill from our chalet in L’Anse-Saint-Jean

So now we’re ensconced in our little condo in L’Anse-Saint-Jean, on a hill overlooking the Saguenay Fjord. Yesterday we biked. The hills reminded my thighs that I haven’t climbed hills like these on my bike in a while. Lots of reminders for various body parts these last couple of days. Reminders that the trails I normally bike and walk are not as challenging as they probably should be.

Today it’s raining, and we’re vegging a bit. Okay, a lot.

Tomorrow I’m pretty sure we’ll be back on the bikes, so today I’m drinking tea, and reading and blogging… while I can. Ha. Then in a few days we’ll be on the road again, off to New Brunswick.

Now. I must try to publish this post. The internet is iffy. I’ve moved from our condo to the lobby at reception. Keep your fingers crossed for me. If there are too many glaring errors, I know you’ll be forgiving.

À bientôt mes amis.


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24 thoughts on “On the Road and Trail… Again”

  1. I do enjoy your trips . Canada seems to have a wealth of beautiful areas hidden away . I know all about those aches & pains . We walk at least five miles every day but it’s flat round York & the first couple of days in the Scottish Highlands always wakes my knees up . How wide the St Lawrence River is – makes the Ouse here look quite insignificant . I remember reading Uboats were there in WW2 , so it must be very deep . And there’s your painting , which would have called to me too. I’ve a similar one of a Cornish fishing village & agree about representational art . If I were to choose between a Turner or a Constable it would be Turner every time . Yes , it would be nice to have a Turner or perhaps a Van Gough . Either would do .
    Hope the rest of you’re trip goes well & that you’ve left the rain behind .

    1. The St Lawrence in places seems like being on the ocean. And the fjord where we are is so deep ocean going ships go up the Saguenay all the way to Lac Saint Jean. Cool,eh?

  2. I do enjoy your travels. And I love your painting. You’ve spoken fondly of autumn in your writing so I’m pretty sure you’ll love the piece when you get it home. I’m still happy with the paintings and etchings we have at home and most were chosen a long time ago. The ones that were love at first sight still give me great joy and I hope you feel the same way about your choices. Enjoy the trip and thanks for sharing beautiful Canada.

  3. Wonderful vistas, good food and great art. What’s not to love? Besides the annoying knees reminding one that you that while hills are lovely to look at they do take a toll on the body when hiked or biked. Sigh. Enjoy your visit with Mum. Safe travels.

  4. Sue – it’s a wonderful painting, full of life and her own style. I know you will love it when you get home. It reminds me of my own story of being on a bike trip in France, stopping at a small railway station for a sandwich and seeing a painting of a blue cow by a local farmer. I bought it, it was a bit large – so it was strapped to my back and I rode another 40 miles with it to my hotel. Your trips always look so wonderful and spontaneous…
    Would love your husband’s pickle recipe sometime.

  5. Love your travels posts! We have had that “what if we don’t love it later?” thought after purchasing art, but I have to say, we still love every piece we’ve every purchased. And that one is gorgeous. Really lovely

    P.S. Typing with the screen keyboard on an iPad after having a working keyboard is the pits! 🙂

  6. The painting is lovely,I like it very much
    And,reading about your trip, I feel a bit like in Peter May’s Entry Island book
    Your country is so beautiful

  7. Beautiful paintings with great colour that will bring much joy to your home. I was born in Montreal and lived in the small towns of Beloeil and St. Hilaire for many years…love the province! Enjoy your holiday thoroughly…happy summer! Cheers, Alayne

  8. It has been soooooo many years since I visited Quebec. Before kids! Ages!

    And what delicious fun — collecting/ buying art. My “faiblesse” even more than shoe shopping. Really! (In a past life, I even wrote about art collecting, including collecting in France, for France Magazine.)

    Just enjoy it!


  9. When we moved to Ottawa from the U.K. in 1970 we spent lots of time exploring, of course and were surprised by how many viewpoints had the same name – Belvedere Lookout. We both took O level French but neither of us had come across the word Belvedere before. Duh! We did feel stupid when we found out.

  10. The painting is striking, but just as impressive is your ability to capture an idea with a good simile or two. You are always able to put a feeling into words that immediately make sense to me. Your photos are also gorgeous. Is the camera in the new iPad different from the old one?

    1. Thanks, Nancy. I take all my photos with my phone now. But with some advice from Brandon who is now my “tech guy” and who set up my new blog format for me, I’m messing with them less and letting the I-phone do its thing. They are much better quality as a result now that I’ve stopped cropping etc.

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