Oh Canada!

Bell Tower on Saint Lawrence River, Montreal

Bumpy and I recently returned from a trip to visit our neighbors to the north. Let me start out by saying the weather was great and there were no major problems!  Always a good thing. (Smiley face).

We visited Montreal, Knowlton (in the eastern townships) and Quebec City. And even though this part of Canada is French speaking, we had absolutely no trouble understanding people and had no trouble being understood.

Because.....every single person we had contact with was bi-lingual!  Once they knew we spoke English, they immediately switched from French to English and things went along as usual. I'm thinking that non-English speakers that come to the U.S. are not as lucky in finding someone to speak their native language. (Just a thought).

We, of course, being mono-lingual probably appeared lame, although no one made any mention of it. People were sooooo polite and helpful. They would actually stop what they were doing and take you where you needed to be!

We spent many hours walking in Montreal while sightseeing. We visited the port, the Jean Talon Market, Old Town, Mont Royale, and many, many bakeries. Those folks know how to make a croissant, I'm just saying.

Eating crepes at the Jean Talon Market, Montreal

If you read novels by Canadian author Louise Penny, you are familiar with the fictional town of Three Pines and its inhabitants. If you are not familiar, let me enlighten you.  Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec, solves all the mysteries of the area. Other characters include, sidekick Jean Guy Bouvier,  Armand's wife Reine-Marie, bookstore owner, Myrna, the bistro and auberge (hotel) owners, Olivier and Gabri, the artist, Clara, and recluse and poet, Ruth who is accompanied everywhere by her pet duck, both of whom use rather "strong" language.

The setting of her novels is based on a conglomeration of places that are found in the Eastern Township area of Quebec province. When we discovered that this area is between Montreal and Quebec City, we decided to rent a car and take in the sights.

When we arrived at our bed and breakfast, our hosts, Yvonne and Peter, provided a map made specifically for "Three Pines" fans. We visited the monastery featured in A Beautiful Mystery,  (one of my very favorites),  the auberge and bistro mentioned in all of the books, and the Lac Brome Bookstore, which had just relocated to an amazing new space. There is a section dedicated to Ms. Penny and her work.
Bumpy writes a note to Louise Penny.

Bumpy with Watson, the bookstore dog.
A replica of Ruth's duck. No sign of Ruth anywhere.

The next day we drove on to Quebec City and believe it or not easily found our auberge in Old Town. We spent the next two days exploring and once again eating pastries and Bumpy even tried poutine ( a Canadian dish comprised of fried potatoes and cheese curds in gravy. Before you throw up, let me tell you it tastes much better than it sounds or looks. However, I think it depends on the establishment's recipe and preparation and we picked one of the best, Le Chic Shack.  Bumpy is busy as we speak trying to replicate the dish using the very spare information provided by the waitress about the "secret" ingredient in the gravy. The "gravy" by the way is more like a sauce. It's not like we think of as gravy in the South. In this instance, that's a good thing.

We could hear the "clip-clop" of the horses feet through
 our open window in Quebec.

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
Quebec City 
Au revoir, Canada!

That's it for now.
Check back later!


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