This time the choice of our annual trip (my son Giovanni and I)? fall on Canada for the chance? a direct flight from Venice to Toronto lasting nine hours outward and eight hours back; after careful research on the internet and documentation on the guides, we prepared a rough itinerary, booked flights, hotels, cars and in the end we left full of curiosity: here is our diary for a trip? on the road? of km. 5.280 built in 2013.
Saturday 25? Arrival at Venice airport at 15,45 pm where we find a long queue held back by meticulousness. with which the private Rangers in charge of security are dedicated to passport control; once this first formality has been overcome, the operations at check-in and at customs are carried out with maximum speed? cos? boarding and departure take place regularly at 18 pm. Spacious plane, comfortable seats for the legs (we had paid a supplement), good pilots and staff, varied and tasty meals. Arrival in TORONTO at 21,15 pm local time (six less than in Italy), fast entry and customs procedures, collection of a comfortable Chevrolet Malib at Avis? then, following the signs we take the street of the hotel: for distraction we do not immediately take the exit signposted so? we find ourselves spinning in the night, with a wonderful full moon, through four-lane roads still very busy. Finally we find the right direction and at 23,30 pm we arrive at the Comfort Inn Motel (78?) Where we indulge in a restful sleep in a very comfortable room.
Sunday 26? In the morning we can see that we have come to a truly super hotel and we find confirmation in the rich breakfast based on omelette, sausages, yogurt, boiled eggs, and all the other usual choices of toast, waffels, flakes, juices and much more.
What? rested and refreshed at 9,40 am we start with a beautiful sun, the temperature of 16/17? (degrees and km. as in Europe) on the beautiful highway ON-401E very busy in the vicinity of Toronto then more? sliding when it runs almost parallel to Lake Ontario of which we see large gaps through the woods alternating with fields with farms. In Kingston the lake ends and gives way to the St. Lawrence River which, after many kilometers, will blur. in the Atlantic Ocean. At 13,00 we stop in Brookeville at an Information Office to collect a map of the state and get other information; we turn about half an hour on foot through the center but a strong cold wind makes us take the car back. At 15,30 we arrive in CORNWALL at the Fairview Motel (65?) Run by a Pakistani family who took over only three days so? cleanliness and services leave a lot to be desired! We stay to rest then, while Giovanni falls asleep, I go out for a short walk and I know the brother of the managers who speaks Italian very well. he has lived in our country for fourteen years and is a citizen of it; tell me that? here on a tourist visa but you are looking around to find a job or open a business? with his relatives since? in Italy c ?? the crisis. IS? very knowledgeable about Canadian laws, opportunities? of employment and on the facilities provided for mothers and children. She also explains that her sister and husband, who have been here for many years, bought the motel facility with a bank loan and will be able to refurbish it in no time. I was very impressed by the determination and resourcefulness of these people who came from far away and who are not afraid to get back into the game every time by moving from one continent to another. Really good!
At 19,00 pm we head downtown to have dinner at Shoeless Joe? S a quaint place with TV screens at each table, others in strategic positions and a huge one in the middle of the room. I ate some delicious shrimp with mixed vegetables (28? In two tips included).
Routes today 454 km.
Monday? 27? In the morning for breakfast only two slices of toast with jam and no trace of the Pakistanis who are all still in bed when I go to return the keys. Departure at 9,40 with a splendid sun and with 14? that go up to 20? during the day. We continue on the ON-401E to the border with Quebec where the Autoroute 20E begins: another stop at the Tourist Office to get maps, routes and directions to get to Montreal; the local ? huge with four open counters and a very kind lady provides me with all the information requested (here we speak French and my school reminiscences help me to make myself understood in an acceptable way). I take a quick tour of the center and notice that there are bars, cafes, impeccable toilets and much more: the wind continues to dominate and welcomes us even when we arrive in Montreal. We drive for a long time through the neighborhoods with the most? recent but we are unable to take the direction that would lead us to the ancient area of the port: after several attempts do we give up a bit? frustrated and disappointed! However, we continue first on Autoroute 20 then on 73N and 175 which takes us directly to the heart of the city? of Quebec. After passing the ancient walls that surround the city? old, we look with amazed eyes and find a copy of our medieval villages on the other side of the ocean; given the time we decide to continue and we promise to return calmly for a visit more? accurate.
Leaving Quebec we first take the 440 then the QC-138E which, always following the San Lorenzo course, arrives at STE after about forty kilometers. ANNE de BEAUPRE? where do we stop at the Manoir St. Anne hotel (63?) right in front of a famous Sanctuary known throughout the region.
After a short rest in the room (very welcoming, clean, well equipped with accessories and quiet) I go out for a walk that takes me to a long pier that stretches into the river, then towards the majestic Cathedral that I can admire in the light of the sunset; after an hour I return and wait for Giovanni to have dinner with pizza, vegetable soup and hamburger.
Busy day with many emotions.
Routes today 500 km.
Tuesday? 28? Did I get enough sleep like that? I get up at 7,30 am and decide to go and visit the Sanctuary after having retraced the jetty to take some photos of the river and the imposing Norman-Gothic style building (105 m long and 48 wide) on the sides of which stand two spiers 91 meters high. Given the time the zone? deserted and even inside there are no visitors so? I can wander undisturbed and admire this complex dedicated to Sant'Anna, arranged on two floors, with chapels, mosaic paintings, stained glass windows, stone and wood sculptures and the many ex votos (crutches, etc.) which testify to the alleged miracles declared by pilgrims. At exit c ?? a courtyard with a beautiful fountain and in front of a hotel restaurant that looks like Snow White's house; I find John who had also made a visit and we head towards the? Cyclorama of Jerusalem? which is there? close and that we would like to visit. Unfortunately it opens only at ten so? I'm happy to take a brochure from which I learn that it is one of the most? great views of the world (it measures 14 m in height and 110 m in circumference) and creates an extraordinary illusion of reliving the event of the Crucifixion through its 1.540 square meters which also include the whole city? of Jerusalem and more? 80 km of the surrounding countryside to the four cardinal points.
Today for? have we decided to save ourselves a little? of road and proceed along the QC-138E up to St. Simeon and here take the ferry to Rivi? re du Loup cos? at 10 am, with a beautiful sun and a temperature of 12 ?, we resume our journey; the long and straight road crosses forests, climbs up to 740 m where we still see traces of snow, the speed? allowed? 90 km / hour and frequent signs warn for the presence of moose (we will see one later come out of the wood and come back calmly). For the first time I see the words? Cul de sac? to indicate a dead end street and I notice that on the license plates of the cars? the words? je me souviens? that ? the motto of this state.
Let's proceed like this? among woods with trees and plants of beautiful colors and very varied and equally enchanting views, especially when we arrive in La Malbaie, a pretty town lying north of the San Lorenzo river.
At midday we arrive in St. Sim? On and we inform ourselves about the timetable of the ferry that will depart? at 14,00 pm; while waiting I go for a half hour ride on the beach then we queue up to wait for the boarding (only fourteen cars because the season will start from the 100th of June) which happens regularly. Even the catering service on board is not? still in operation cos? I limit myself to inspecting the ferry which has a large lounge equipped with comfortable leather armchairs, a bar and restaurant area and games for children and a TV; I also walk the external walkways and the upper deck but a strong wind makes me return. The Trans-Saint-Laurnt can? transporting 400 cars and 65 people and an elevator serves the three bridges; total price for one car and two people (over 57 I have a discount)? .
The crossing lasts an hour and a half, which fortunately passes quickly and the arrival at Rivi? Re du Loup takes place at 15,30 pm; from here we resume the car and proceed for another hundred kilometers before arriving at the entrance of RIMOUSKI located on the south bank of the San Lorenzo estuary and which extends from west to east for about 12 km: it has about 45.000 inhabitants. ? of which are students attending the Maritime and Maritime Biotechnology institutes. We arrive shortly at our hotel located in the Pointe-au-P? Re area called? Au Soleil Cochant? (62?) Led by a very kind couple, really great for comfort, cleanliness and attention to detail, where we stop for a short rest until 19,30 when, on the advice of the managers, we go to dinner in the port area at the La Marina restaurant. We sit on a veranda overlooking the river and order delicious fish dishes: sandwiches with crab meat and bacon with fried potatoes, cooked vegetables (broccoli, carrots, courgettes), salad with peppers, boiled rice with crab sauce, a creamy soup with three types of baked baked terracotta fish (43?). Truly exceptional at the end of another good day. When we get back I have time to take a picture of the sun setting over the water right in front of the motel (hence the proper name!).
Routes today 310 km.
Wednesday? 29? After a good night's rest I get up and go out at 7,45 for a walk to see the houses in the area up close: I'm lucky why? I almost immediately meet a lady who is taking care of the garden so? I speak to her in French, I tell her that I come from Italy and that I would have so much desire to enter your house to realize how? structured (desire that I have cultivated for years and that I have never had the opportunity to satisfy during my previous seven trips to the USA); Mrs. Doris accepts with enthusiasm and leads me by showing me the various rooms telling me about her life, her mother, her children and how she now lives alone why? his husband ? dead. In the end satisfied (the rooms are small and low just like you see in the movies) I take a photo that will forward them? by e-mail, thank you very much and I proceed with my tour that takes me to see the church of Sainte Anne then I arrive at the lighthouse and return at 9 am after traveling about 2,5 km. without having met anyone!
Giovanni and I go to have breakfast in a bar which is 200 meters from the motel and, speaking with the owner, we learn that his mother? Sicilian, who has two children and? waiting for the third; we take all the time to consume omelette, bacon, wurstel, ham, potatoes, toast slices with butter, orange and melon.
Then, well fed, at 10,50 we get in the car and follow the? Autoroute 20 until it ends and we begin to take the QC-132E which runs through extensive fields covered by the golden yellow of the? Dandelions ?, the numerous fields from very popular golf courses and many kilometers of cycle paths alongside; the landscape changes and we find woods on one side and rocks emerging from the river whose bed is widening, we pass the towns of Mont Joli, Matane and Sainte-Anne des Monts then take the QC-299S. This 120 km long road cuts the Gasp? Sie peninsula from north to south (the complete tour, including the visit to the national park, would require a two-day stop); at the beginning a sign informs that for all its length there are no countries n? gas stations for fuel, on the other hand? a strong presence of carib was reported. We leave on the right the indication to enter the famous park, the temperature varies from 11? at 24 ?, the view? a little? monotonous only in the last few kilometers the woods alternate with spectacular glimpses of lakes and the Cascap? dia river which flows into the bay of the same name.
From here we take the QC-132O arriving at 16,00 in CARLETON SUR MER where we find the beautiful B&B Gite Les Leblanc (62?) That we had booked: the hostess, after the introductions, immediately takes us to our room. contains three comfortable beds covered with brightly colored duvets, embroidered pillows and pretty curtains on the windows, com? and solid wood walls, a long floor with the sink and cleaning products, soft green towels. C ?? only another double room that will be occupied in the evening by a French couple: the bathroom? in common but for me there is no ?? problem unlike Giovanni who does not seem so happy; but I am enthusiastic!
Let's try to get some rest? but someone has decided to mow the grass just behind our house and the annoying noise causes us to go out, get back in the car and head east towards New Richmond so? time passes and on our return we stop at Maria where we see the Bistro Boute de Ligne inviting to stop for dinner; ? run by a freak whose mom? of Massa Carrara, on the walls there are shelves with several books, photos of unusual characters and on which local maxims, proverbs and sayings are reported.
Giovanni orders ten scallops while I eat two huge pieces of breaded and fried cod on a bed of thin potatoes, cooked onions, peas and sauce: a treat for the palate at the price of 49?.
Routes today 405 km.
Thursday? 30? During the night and early in the morning? rained and the temperature? a little? lowered; the smell of coffee? invites us to have breakfast which takes place in a very nice room with a tastefully laid table where cups of homemade jam (oranges, strawberries, avocado), fresh fruit (melon, watermelon, blueberries, raspberries), butter , cheeses, toast, croissants, coffee, tea and orange juice served by the hostess. Shortly after, the French couple joins us with whom a dialogue is established regarding both the reasons for our travels (they are from Paris and have a daughter married in Montreal) and our nations (politics, laws and more): with French Giovanni and I are doing really well!
After breakfast, I take a short tour around the house to take some souvenir photos, then at 10,00 we prepare our luggage, greet our courteous hosts and resume the journey: the sky? still cloudy, the temperature of 15? and c ?? also the fog that makes the landscape a bit? sad.
Continuing on the QC-132E we notice several rest areas (halte) equipped with tables, benches and games for the children and, after about 50 km we enter New Brunswick at 10,50 am where we have to move the clocks an hour ahead having entered the? Atlantic Time Zone. We head on the NB-11 towards Campbelton then we pass Bathurst following the coast and at 13,00 we stop for petrol (speaking with the cashier we learn that he has toured Europe and knows Italy).
Then we enter the NB-8S a beautiful highway that passes through dense pine forests and tiny villages that dot the 240 km that separate us from our next stage; the sky, covered at first, gives way to a beautiful hot sun that brings the temperature up to 24 ?. The view ? interesting but after a while? it is also monotonous and repetitive cos? we are happy when we arrive in FREDERICTON at 17,00 pm and immediately find the Knights Inn motel (68?) booked on Booking.com and following the directions printed from home with Google Map (precise and very useful).
The motel? a little? old and poorly equipped but clean and is located in a quiet and convenient area in the center where we go for a walking tour of the city? capital of the state, located on the banks of the Saint John river, seat of the University? of New Brunswick, with approx. 50.00 inhabitants. who mainly speak English. During our walk we have the opportunity to admire the Palace of Justice, the Town Hall, the Museum of the Region, some colleges and other important buildings; the pedestrian areas are full of students who have now obtained their diplomas and degrees and celebrate with parents and relatives by occupying all the places in restaurants, pizzerias and pubs. After long empty laps we are satisfied with a Chinese restaurant where we have a dinner based on chicken, black rice, currant sauce, omelette roll stuffed with meat and vegetables; Giovanni spaghetti with shrimps, meat and vegetables: decent even in the price of 26?.
When we go back to the motel are 21,00 and the air yes? made sultry why? the temperature reached 27 ?. Transfer day without big emotions.
Routes today 450 km.
Friday? 31? We get up well rested and, after a satisfying continental breakfast included in the price, we meet a volunteer of the Royal Canadian Legion association who groups and protects veterans and their families, promotes the memory of the fallen of the wars and raises funds through volunteer work: can you explain that? in this area for a week to perform an unspecified service and, when we tell her that we come from Italy, she tells us that her father-in-law fought and? died in our country during the Second World War. Another interesting meeting!
We leave at 9,15 with a splendid sun and a temperature of 22? following the NB-102S which crosses large lakes, the usual pine woods and sometimes runs along the Saint John River which flows into the Atlantic Ocean near the city of the same name? after 120 km; us for? we deviate on the NB-7E highway with 2 + 2 lanes where you can? transit with a speed? of 110 k / hour but which we leave almost immediately to enter the NB-1W that runs along the southern part of the state overlooking the ocean.
At 13,00 the temperature? climb up to 31? when we decide to stop in the town of Saint Andrews located at the end of a 20 km long peninsula that we reach by taking the NB-127 South and the North on the way back; we park the car along the pier and for an hour we walk around the characteristic streets with beautiful style houses, cheerful little shops that display the usual wares of each locality. of sea. There are not many tourists why? the season is not? started yet so? can you? walking without haste but the heat is felt and, after admiring the many boats that are dedicated to lobster fishing offshore, we resume our journey.
We travel through traffic-free roads towards the border with the United States and we wonder how much column we will find at the crossing; suddenly after Saint Stephen, a square with wide lanes leading to the entrance gates widens in front of us: it's just us! First an employee checks the passports, booklet and driving license, then she points us to a location from which an immigration officer comes to pick us up and takes us to a huge hall with various counters where the actual procedures are carried out (filling in the green card, taking your fingerprints and photos) then you pay the $ 12 fee and? all finished in twenty minutes. The official? very kind and tells us that? he was in Italy with his wife and remembers Bologna, the Cinque Terre, Rome, Sicily and that our typical dishes such as Milanese risotto and polenta have impressed him. Giovanni asks him how many Italians pass this border on average a year; he replies that in many years of service he has never seen one!
We are finally in the state of Maine and we have to set the clocks back an hour like this. at 14,00 we stop at a Tourist Office (huge, very well equipped with material and with friendly staff) to collect the map and other brochures. We immediately realize that we are in the United States by noticing the different style of the houses and their maintenance (in Canada they are all beautiful and well-kept) and starting to walk the characteristic roads in a? Roller coaster? which lead us to Calais, Perry, Whiting where we make a detour which, first on the ME-189 then on the ME-191, allows us to reach the lovely town? of Cutler with its extensive port and see the many boats that are dedicated to lobster and shellfish fishing at work. This activity? in the southern area of the ocean it represents the main source of income for a large part of the population, in fact we see that outside every house there are few or many pots for fishing; this comes to us more? times confirmed by the people we come into contact with.
Has the temperature exceeded 34? when we resume the US-1 that takes us to JONESBORO at the Blueberry Patch Motel (50?) located on a small mound? in the middle of nowhere? but what will it reveal? one of the best of the whole trip: it has only seven tastefully furnished rooms (linens, carpets, armchairs, blue-blue bed covers, paintings with matching colors) complete with microwave, fridge and coffee machine? and outside hanging vases with beautiful flowers; a very pleasant and relaxing impact.
From 17,00 to 18,00 we allow ourselves a short rest then take the car back to go to dinner thirteen kilometers away in nearby Machias; after a short ride we stop at The Blue Bird Ranch which offers Giovanni shrimp with two types of fried potatoes (puff pastry and stick) and me two large crab meatballs and shrimp with pur? seasoned and peas. We close with a flourish by enjoying two huge slices of cheesecake covered with blueberries, strawberries and cream (35?).
We return to the motel at 20,15 pm but we cannot stay outdoors due to the presence of large mosquitoes. we go to bed tired but satisfied for this other interesting day.
Routes today 470 km.
Saturday 1st June? After a good rest I am ready for an exploration of the surroundings with a walk that starts at 7,15 am: in giro non c ?? no one, the few houses are still silent, the up and down streets engage me also why? does it already? very hot. When I realize that I am not going anywhere, I turn around and go back to the motel where I find Giovanni waiting for me to have breakfast. It was not included in the price but the couple of very friendly managers offers us donuts, chocolate, fruit and coffee and milk. can we talk a bit? and praise them for the perfect running of the motel.
We start at 9,45 with the thermometer showing 27,5? and we continue following the US 1 which runs high on the jagged coast, giving a glimpse of the ocean at times; we take a detour on Hw 186 and arrive at Winter Harbor (1.000 inhabitants) classic fishing village with the harbor where many boats are dedicated to lobster fishing then, after passing Milbridge, we leave Ellsworth on the right and take the ME-3 to go to the Mount Desert Island where is Bar Harbor, a popular resort? very popular tourist seaside resort in summer.
From Trenton, where this road begins to the center of the town, we travel about twenty kilometers between a succession of very luxurious residences, hotels, inns and private homes, golf courses, swimming pools, flower-filled and well-kept gardens. We arrive at noon, easily find a parking space and set out on foot to visit the ancient village with its characteristic houses, the port from which cruise ships depart, the shops, bars and restaurants that inevitably offer men? lobster based; there are still not many tourists and Giovanni and I imagine the chaos that will be there? from next week and especially in summer. We wander around for an hour until one then, the heat and hunger advise us to go in search of a quiet place to have lunch: after a few kilometers we are attracted to a? Tavern? rustic with benches and wooden tables under a veranda, large pots of boiling water on the fire to cook the lobsters and l? near an old scale to weigh them. A really good choice why? we can enjoy special sandwiches spread with melted butter, filled with large pieces of lobster meat, French fries, homemade Russian salad and sauce; truly exceptional at the price of 33? including drinks and tip!
We continue on the US1W which presents panoramas almost? repetitive up to Ellsworth then remains inside for long kilometers to come out again along the coast at Bucksport, get off at Belfast, Camden where we make a detour on Hw 90 and definitively resume US1 which, crossing Newcastle and Bath, takes us directly to BRUNSWICK and the Travelers Inn (64?) a very good motel located near a river.
We relax in the room until 19,00 when we take the car back and take a tour of the center looking for a place for dinner: the choice falls on Len? S where Giovanni orders a chicken burger with fried potatoes, I breaded shrimp- fried, cheese sandwich, garlic sauce (garlic) and cabbage (22?).
Return to the motel and well deserved rest; traveled 360 km today.
Sunday 2? Today, feast of? Corpus Domini? I would like to participate in a Mass like this, as soon as I get up, I go to the reception to inquire if there is nearby. a Catholic Church: I'm lucky why? at approx. one and a half kilometers away is St. John the Baptist with a function at eight o'clock. What? I get ready and, on foot, I walk the indicated route and arrive a bit? so in advance? I have time to look around and notice the beautiful altar, the layout of the chapels and the Stations of the Cross. I also note the devotion and participation of the faithful in the unfolding of the Mass (I am struck by many young men gathered in prayer) and I am happy because, apart from the difficult homily, I was able to follow and understand the readings and songs by reading the texts. in English. When I return to the motel I find Giovanni waiting for me to have a substantial and abundant breakfast and I tell him about my positive experience.
At 10,00 we are ready to leave on I-295 N which we follow for a long stretch up to Gardiner and Augusta then we take the US-201 N which crosses typical American towns and cities with its ups and downs or long and straight. At 12,30 we stop to buy sandwiches that we will eat more? forward when we will stop in an area equipped for picnics near Moscow with a view of Lake Wyman, after having followed the Kennebec River for several kilometers (it originates in the north of Maine and flows into the ocean after 240 km); are 13,30 and the temperature? climb up to 32? but we are in the shade of the trees and a light breeze refreshes us.
We continue on the road but, all of a sudden, the sky darkens and a violent pouring rain makes it difficult to continue why? do not see more? nothing: we stop at the side and, fortunately, after ten minutes everything stops while the temperature? dropped to 21? within a few kilometers.
We always continue on US-201 N (we see a big dead deer in our lane and a little further on two caribs that are slowly crossing the road and I manage to photograph them) towards Lake Attean and Jackman where we stop to fill up with petrol why? it costs less than in Canada, at whose border we arrive shortly.
Aren't there many formalities here? how to enter the USA just show your passport and in five minutes? all done; we first follow the route 173 Kennedy through woods, villages and to the side small streams of water then we take the 73 N and at exit 95 we stop in SAINTE MARIE at the La Difference motel (80? without breakfast) very large, well maintained with room spacious but unwelcoming and impersonal.
From five to seven do we allow ourselves a little? rest then we go to dinner at the Normandin restaurant where Giovanni orders a grilled sandwich with pork and a big slice of cheesecake for me with chicken and fried potatoes (25?).
At 20,00 we are already? back. Today I traveled 360 km.
Monday? 3? Before leaving I see on a brochure that the town in 1994 on the occasion of 250? anniversary of its foundation, has prepared a circuit that traces its origins: so let's follow this short itinerary that shows us churches, chapels, a monastery, beautiful period residences and other buildings used for activities. crafts and professions. We then return to the Autoroute 73 N (2 + 2 lanes) which, after passing through many countries (in this part of Quebec they all bear the names of Saints: Isidoro, Bernardo, Romualdo etc.), joins the QC-175 N to arrive directly in downtown Quebec City.
Is it 10,15, heaven? clear and the temperature of 19? when, after a few laps in the center to look for a parking space (they are all reserved for pass holders) we find a paid one near the Parliament, outside the walls (the only one in North America); we begin our walk by entering the door of St. Louis in the city? old, immediately discovering the magical atmosphere by walking through its narrow streets embellished with brightly colored flower pots, admiring the houses, the shops, the small bars and restaurants that make us think of France.
We see the fortified citadel above, the Chateau Frontenac famous hotel with its fairytale architecture, the museum, the Cathedral and from the Terrasse Dufferin we enjoy a beautiful view of the ancient port and the San Lorenzo river. On our return, before leaving the St. Jean gate, we take ten minutes to visit ancient ammunition depots, walkways, troop lodgings and a small museum that traces the history of the fortifications. At the end a strong cold wind (18?) Accompanies us towards the parking lot, where we are happy to take refuge in our car and get back on the road but very happy for this beautiful visit.
It is 12,30 when we take the QC-175 N which crosses pine forests, lakes, streams and we notice that the signs indicating caution for the presence of moose are very frequent; at 14,00 we make a short stop to buy some food that we intend to consume more? forward at an equipped area marked on the map. We arrive up to Saguenay, a large industrial center on the river of the same name, from where we take the QC-170 E which, through extensive cultivated plains and beautiful farms, connects with the QC-169 O to arrive in CHAMBORD where we had booked at Lac St. Jean Motel (71?). Guessed choice why? structure ? new, perfect management, spacious room with flowered veranda overlooking the lake and silent heating (there are 17?).
I stay out reading, I watch the sunset between white clouds and patches of blue then I have to go back why? a cold wind blows; at 19,00 on the advice of the manager we go to dinner at Coco-Rico where I have a soup and a salami pizza while Giovanni eats a hot-hamburger with fried potatoes, peas and hood (20? total).
At 21,00 we are already? in the room for a well-deserved rest. Today I traveled 385 km.
Tuesday? 4? As soon as I get up, I look out and see four or five people fishing on the small pier: they look like Martians wrapped up as they are in warm clothes, caps, gloves and big anoraks and I understand why? when, opening the window, a cold icy wind hits me. The lake ? agitated and during the night there was the barely muffled sound of the waves and, in the distance, even the whistle of a train at regular intervals.
After having calmly had a substantial continental breakfast, at 10,25 with very cloudy skies and a temperature of 11 ?, we take the QC-155 S which for 135 km runs through pine and birch forests that color the landscape with all shades ? of greenery and fantastic views of small and large lakes; only in La Tuque we see the first houses then we skirt the St. Maurice river on the right (we cross a bridge to measure its width: from 300 to 500 m) and after another 100 km at 14,00 we stop to buy sandwiches and drinks that we consume in a rest area. At Grand M? Re the QC-155 becomes Autoroute 55 S until it crosses the Autoroute 40 O which we leave soon to take the beautiful panoramic road QC-138 O which leaves on the right extensive cultivated fields and large farms and on the left the course of the river San Lorenzo who accompanies us to REPENTIGNY where we arrive at 17,00 and stop at the Au Doc Motel (80?) Located in a beautiful position on the river and that already? immediately hits us favorably.
I go out on the shore to take some pictures then, after a short rest, we are ready to go to dinner at Nick Pizzeria where I have a pasta and chicken soup, a big rectangular hamburger covered with sauce and champignon mushrooms, two types of pur ?, salad with toasted bread sauce and parmesan flakes; Giovanni eats a good pizza (total? 25).
Transfer day in the middle of nature. Routes 415 km.
Wednesday? 5? During the night I heard some strange noises coming from outside and, when at 5,30 I looked out the window, I saw some people who were loading a truck with various equipment; pi? later I asked the manager (a Chinese here with his wife, three children and parents perfectly integrated into the community?) who explained to me that a crew? stayed here all night to take back the motel and the lake on behalf of the tourist office for promotional purposes.
I went out at 7,30 for a walk in the neighborhood formed by houses one more? beautiful and well-kept of the other, wide and clean streets without parked cars (for the only one on the street? the sheriff arrived immediately to give the fine!), I did not see people on foot only two school buses that alternated back and forth to collect the students; c ?? a little? cold wind but I'm well covered.
I return after half an hour and find Giovanni talking to the manager who tells him about his family and how people live in this part of Canada; we have a good continental breakfast sitting outdoors with the view of the river then at 9,15 with a splendid sun and a temperature of 17? we resume the Autoroute 40 O which we leave after 110 km to enter Ontario at 10,45.
We continue on the 417 TransCanada Hwy that crosses extensive cultivated fields, beautiful farms with silos and small villages until Ottawa where we arrive at 11,40; we easily find a parking lot at the Museum of Nature then we start our tour on foot to know and see more? from near the federal capital of Canada which rises on the southern bank of the homonymous river while on the northern one is Gatineau. We walk along a long avenue lined with beautiful shops, restaurants, clubs and modern-style skyscrapers that takes us to the central district with the Parliament Hill and the majestic buildings of the Government built in the Gothic-Victorian style.
We note the great Clock Tower, the Museo delle Civilt? and we skirt the Rideau Canal which joins Ottawa to Kingston on Lake Ontario.
We are witnessing a peaceful demonstration by a large Ethiopian group (women in characteristic colored dresses) calling for an end to the massacres carried out against Coptic Christians in their country; we adapt to the numerous government employees who eat their lunch sitting in the parks and have hot dogs and drinks.
We drove almost two hours and saw a city? very beautiful, spacious, multiethnic cos? we are satisfied when we take the car back and head first on the ON-416 S then, arriving in sight of the San Lorenzo river, we divert to the ON-401 W with exit at NAPANEE where we find the excellent motel Fox Motor Inn (76?) managed by Indian brothers with large families: wood-covered walls, newly renovated bathroom with new bathroom fixtures, microwave, fridge, flat screen TV, lawn with picnic area and barbecue, swimming pool. Very relaxing, in fact, we stop in the room until 19,00 then we go to dinner in a place like Mc Donald? S where we get fried chicken, burgers and chips. Excellent tourist day. Routes 480 km.
Thursday? 6? After a good night's rest I get up at 8,30 but it's raining and cold outside so? we take breakfast to our room and eat it warm. Giovanni wants to contact the airline to confirm the return flight and possibly book comfortable seats: he asks the manager who makes us sit in his office and offers to try on the internet but not on the site? possible. He then bothered to call and, when he got the line, Giovanni inquired but was answered that the reservation could be made? do it only at check-in. We are pleasantly surprised by the courtesy and availability? of the manager that you? went out of his way to facilitate us and proudly shows us the plaque his motel received as the best in the area for 2013; we thank him and we assure him that, back home, we will give him a good ten on Booking.com why? he deserves it.
I read in the guide that in Kingston there is the Penitentiary Museum which preserves and illustrates the history of the Canadian federal penitentiary system: given the day and the few kilometers that separate us, we decide to go and see what it is like? at 11,00 we take the car and after about half an hour we find ourselves in the parking lot inside the museum area. The construction ? a limestone house built at the time by the inmates and reserved for the director of the penitentiary and consisting of two floors; for the entrance you do not pay the ticket but you make a free donation to contribute to the maintenance costs. On the first floor, which makes up the majority of the museum, there are four exhibition rooms: the first contains a collection of uniforms, a camera used for mugshots, the personal files of the inmates (position in cell, workplace, punishments, hospitalizations in the infirmary and more). The second features table and triangle for whipping, nine-tailed cat, chains, handcuffs, shackles, straitjackets, tub to hold the inmate in a bain-marie and the? Vertical coffin? with the prisoner locked inside for a minimum of nine minutes to a maximum of two hours: impressive even if they are punitive methods no longer? in use for decades but which made me think of the inhuman life of those inmates. In the third room are kept various confiscated objects that demonstrate the ingenuity? in making objects to hurt (cutlery, filed irons, toothbrushes) or to hide weapons, drugs (hollow books, shoe heels, etc.). In the last one we find objects built by inmates? Artists? such as finely carved and decorated furniture, ceramics, paintings, hand embroidered fabrics and more. You also rebuild cells like this? small, narrow and low without windows that I wondered how human beings could live there so many years without going crazy!
Overall, we spent an educational hour reflecting on a world we never think about why? does not touch us closely.
Outside it's still cold and the rain doesn't stop, the temperature at 13,30? of 12? when we take the highway 401 W (6 + 6 lanes) which becomes more and more? busy as we get closer to Toronto and becomes an almost motionless snake in both directions, on interchanges, exits, on other roads that leave the city? like the Queen Elizabeth Way that we must follow to reach our destination; in conclusion, we took more? three hours to travel ninety kilometers and Giovanni, very good and patient,? been put to the test in its ability? driving.
Finally at 19,30 pm we arrive in ST.CHATARINES at the wonderful and welcoming hotel Capri Inn (77?) And when we ask the lady at the reception why? of so much traffic, it tells us that it usually takes an hour and a half to cover the distance but that we ran into rush hour when everyone is moving at the end of the day.
We are tired but also so hungry, on suggestion, we go to the elegant Wildfire restaurant affiliated with the hotel (10% discount) and we allow ourselves a refined dinner based on onion soup, crab meatballs, fillet with two grilled prawns, risotto, baby carrots and salad: 45? all inclusive but ne? worth it!
Another interesting day; today covered 425 km.
Friday? 7? We get up with a light rain and an uninviting veil of fog but we console ourselves with a substantial and varied breakfast that reflects the level of this beautiful motel; I take some photos of Lake Ontario then we decide the program for our last day in Canada (we must be at the airport at 18,55) and we plan to head south towards Welland from where a navigable canal with a system of locks that reaches the lake starts Erie.
We leave at 11,00 following the ON-406 S but after a few kilometers we change our mind and choose to go and see Niagara Falls (the part of the United States we had already known during a previous trip) even if Giovanni c? was it already? been but tells me that from here they are more? interesting.
We connect with the RR 20 And what to the town of Niagara Falls? a succession of motels, grills, tatoos, restaurants, bars, inns, resorts, suites and luxury hotels and casinos: it all looks like an amusement park like in Las Vegas.
We find a huge, almost empty parking lot where we leave the car and then start the long tour that will take us on foot. to see the falls up close; we skirt renowned and luxurious hotels, well-kept gardens while in the distance we hear the sound of water. We go down the level and, after having crossed the park of Queen Victoria, the amazing vision of the horseshoe-shaped waterfall opens before us, which leaves me breathless for its majesty? and it makes me happy to have come. On the way back, do we pass in front of the Casino? with its characteristic facade and the water features of the fountain and we also notice the splendor of the Marriott Hotel; the tourists are not very many and the sky, fortunately, has saved us the rain.
At 13,00 we get back to the car and following the QEW we head towards Toronto with its chaotic traffic; don't we want to enter the city? cos? we think of going north towards Barrie where we arrive after about eighty kilometers but we do not see anything interesting cos? we come back and luckily we have made the right decision: in a short time on the other lane a long column of almost stationary cars forms (Friday? all move for the weekend) but in our direction the traffic? sliding.
We easily find the airport, the Avis car park for the delivery of the car and at 18 we already have? checked in and passed the checks; we just have to wait for the flight time, scheduled for 22,55, having a well-deserved dinner.
Routes today 270 km.