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Roadtrip across eastern Canada. The little France of North America.

I’m writing this in my cheapest ikea blanket wrapped around me in the form of a cocoon, with a small but daunting work laptop on my left blinking this sinister yellow light as it waits for me to get work done, and a notebook on my right for my goal updates on the right. I’m sitting in this ikea blanked cocoon and I have a bad gut feeling, and this tightness in my chest that I had when I was five years old and I did something wrong. Do you guys ever get anxious? Do you get that heavy feeling in your guts that something is gonna collapse and it’s gonna be monstrous? Well, I haven’t for a while and here it comes: a stressful period in my life. I typically let myself observe it and then I move it to a happy place. Let’s go on a therapeutic journey to the east of Canada.

On the way from Ottawa to Quebec. Nothing burns like the cold.

Let’s be honest – it was cold and the heated wheel helped us out a lot. There was still a lot of snow and wild nature along the way.

These precious sunsets.

The sunsets on secluded roads were to die for. We were playing music and even the dry fall-like hilly landscapes seemed soft like thick fudge when the car blurred them out. Yes, we were speeding. Yes, I am still expecting tickets.

Romantic Troix-Rivieres

This part of the trip felt a lot like home to me. Where I come from, there is a one-way-only inoperative railway through the forest, by some old military buildings dating back to the WW2. As teenagers, we used to go for walks along these rails and talk for hours about ideas we found exciting, and delved deep into the abyss of each others’ minds in conversations that were psychoactive in itself.

Troix-Rivieres

It was a ten-day trip across a very expensive country. If you come to Canada from Central and Eastern Europe you should keep it in mind. So Monika and I always looked for cheaper ways to experience the same as if we paid several more dollarinos, and oftentimes it turned into a mind-blowing experience. That’s how we found a place in the old city of Troix-Rivieres, which offered all meals for $5 (I had a veggie burger with fries and diet coke – the usual shameful combo).

Troix-Rivieres at early sunset

Troix-Rivieres reminded me of summer resorts by the sea in Poland, or even my grandparents’s town by the lakes. Except that it’s French-speaking.

Old city of Quebec

Quebec City is what I imagined Paris looked like before I went there, when I was reading Sartre’s novels: with a lingering smell of coffee, pulse of people on the streets, dainty macaroons and pastries in storefronts accompanied by smooth music dimmed by city buzz. If you miss the Parisian vibe of people-watching in North America, Quebec may be a place for you to go and ponder on a warm summer morning. I found it very refreshing after New York and even Toronto which both have the pace that won’t leave you space for yourself in your head. Even though I spent there just two days, I feel that there’s no other place quite like it.

Old city of Quebec

We weren’t lucky to find Couchsurfing in Quebec so we stayed for a night at a hotel which offered a wonderful French Canadian served breakfast. It included homemade pastries and croissants, local preserves, maple syrup and honey, black coffee and freshly squeezed juice.

Monika and I somewhere in the vicinity of the Citadelle.

As usual, since I have a thing for fortresses, I experienced a fortress fomo, and Quebec has the Citadelle of Quebec, a UNESCO Heritage Site of Quebec. My comrade Monika wasn’t that much into fortresses but we still walked around it. I always regret not having enough knowledge of history and I see traveling as a way to improve in that area.

The oldest building in Quebec City – a local restaurant

We signed up for a free walking tour of Quebec but we were late, looking for a cheap parking place (good luck if you wanna follow our steps), so we joined another. Basically, some people, who appeared to be on a trip. They turned out to be very friendly people from a local hostel. One of the most interesting buildings we saw during the trip was this house – the oldest one in Quebec, dating back to 1675, which currently serves as a restaurant.

Me and the Citadelle

Apparently, Quebec is not only famous for its French cuisine, but also its chocolate, and fresh blueberries. We found out about it when we went north from Quebec City, to Alma. Alma is a small town in the mountains, or as Monika said, in the middle of nowhere. But they have very inspiring people who we made friends with, a local brewery that makes beer with blueberries, their own boxing gym, a river, a bridge, a couple of pubs, a lake and a peaceful life.

Montmorency Falls

On our way to Alma, I insisted that we stop by Montmorency Falls and it turned out to be the most beautiful thing in the world. Probably much more beautiful than Niagara Falls, because it is still untouched by man too much, and commercialized.

Montmorency Falls

Because we went to Montmorency in a rush, in the evening, on our way out of the city, we got to experience the sunset as a bonus…

Montmorency Falls from the other side

I have felt inspired so many times in April and May and yet nothing is coming along. I somehow feel torn. I seeded some plants, fruit and vegetables, and left them alone feeling hopeless for a few days; they sprouted. Hopefully, it’s also what’s happening in me.

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May 14, 2019

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