Sunday, July 9, 2017


It was still warm but raining when we woke up this morning- great, heavy drops accompanied by lots of rumbling thunder. The backyard of maple trees was awash with green and it actually looked like the maize crop across the road had grown overnight.
The back of our Airbnb
Florence arrived around 9.30 and we took off on a little road trip around the Eastern Townships. This area was settled by the English and Irish and that influence is still really strong in the architecture of the little towns that border the many lakes and rivers in the area. One of the most startling features is the many window boxes and other floral displays, evident in all the towns we’ve visited. They are like a celebration of Summer after the long, cold Winter with all sorts of colourful blooms carefully tended and displayed along the verandas and shop fronts.

In North Hatley we visited the Local Farmers' Market, sampling all sorts of organic goodies like nut cheese and wild pig pate before buying the less healthy options of donuts and bagels.
Farmers' market
From there we drove into the Sherbrooke, walking the length of the Lake of Nations to a micro brewery where we had a delicious lunch and sampled some of the boutique beers, including one made from blueberries!

Mmm, beer tasting

In the city, we marvelled at a giant spillway and rapids running straight through the centre of town and wandered around some of the older parts of the city with their ornate, colonial style buildings.
Hotel de ville - not a home for Cruella. It's the municipal centre.

Apartments bordered by rapids

Geoff is doing a great job driving in Quebec but it’s not easy. There’s the whole turn into the traffic the opposite way thing, which is even worse when you get to a roundabout or a parking bay and then there’s the constant ‘Arret’ signs, (not to mention the warnings that an Arret is coming up!) When you get to these you must completely stop the car and then the person who got to the stop first, gets to go first. It’s simpler than it sounds and because the Canadians are so polite there’s never an argument but you do have to be on constant look out for the signs. We were driving back to the Airbnb this afternoon, practising our French phrases, reminding Geoff about tight rights and loose lefts and keeping a keen eye out for arrest, when suddenly a police car with flashing lights pulled in behind us. Since there were no other cars on the road it was obvious we were the object of his attention so we dutifully pulled over and wound down the window.

Je vous ai trouvé accéléré dans la voiture à 79 km dans une zone de 50 km. Donnez-moi votre licence et vos vendeurs d'assurance."
 Given that he had no idea what the policeman was saying, not knowing what he’d done wrong (we thought the speed zone had been a steady 80 since the city) and knowing that he’d left his licence back in the bedroom of the airbnb, this was greeted with a glazed but terrified stare from Geoff.
 Florence quickly intervened, explaining that we were ignorant but harmless Australian tourists and that we were her long lost host family who loved her but may not love her anymore now that she had not noticed the change in speed zone and really it should have been her responsibility and she was very, very sorry.Turned out the police officer spoke excellent English but I don’t think he minded Florence pleading so sweetly with him. He handed back our registration details and said he would not like us to think badly of the Quebecois and so he would bid us a good day. 
I may have already said this… Canadians are the lovliest people in the world.

The only mean thing we have seen in Canada so far

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