Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Day 34 - 38 Just Hanging With My Family

People have been asking if everything is okay? Why have you stopped Blogging?

Well the real reason is.  What I am doing is visiting with family.  Nothing crazy, nothing really interesting to people except my family really.

Bernie and I have settled nicely into our lovely Airbnb here and it feels like a home away from home.

Each morning we sleep in and relax and enjoy breakfast and coffee then we dress and do a few things around town.


Like yesterday we went to the bank and got the car washed.   See not too news worthy.

We visit different coffee shops in the area each day and sip and chat.

Of course with so many relatives in the area we are visiting numerous people each day and sadly won't get everyone in before we leave.  Yes I have a huge family.

We have enjoyed visiting others and have enjoyed some that have come to visit us here at our place.

Drummondville has grown.  In size, in people and even in the variety of places to eat and shop.

We have decided we will be coming back in August for my Uncle's 80th birthday.  We promised that if we are not away travelling we will be here.

I have managed quite well with my French.  It is amazing how quickly it comes back.  

So there is our update.  Tomorrow we leave for Quebec City and back to being tourists.  We are even excited to be attending Saint Jean Baptiste Day while in Quebec.  Not sure what we will be doing then but we plan to stop today and get something to wear that has the Quebec flag on it. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Day 33 - Hungover and Drummondville Bound - Hello Family

Oh my.... could of been the tequila, could of been the wine, could of been the champagne, all I know is I have a headache.

When I wake at 7 I have a headache! I grab some Tylenol, we throw in a load of wash and tell Bernie (who is also awake) that I am going back to bed.  Heck I have only had six hours sleep.   

When I wake a few hours later I feel much better and I feel rested.  Oh and I feel very excited!  I can not wait to get to Drummondville and see all my family.

For those of you who follow and are not aware, I grew up in Drummondville in the 70s and early 80s.  My mother is from here, and her family (she comes from a family of 10) pretty much all still live here.  Most of my cousins and second cousins live close by too.

It was a lovely place to grow up.  My aunts and uncles are like second parents to me and trust me I so appreciated it then and now.  

Since my mother's passing I have known that they are here and would always have my back if I ever needed it.  

We left Quebec in 82 to move to Vancouver.  I attended college and then found work and the rest is history.   But I still consider Drummondville the place that I am from.  Odd since I did not really live there that long in the grande scheme of things.  

So around 11 we pack up the car, say goodbye to our great Airbnb in the Old City and get going.

Today is a very short drive!  Which is probably good since Bernie did not have a nap he is in need of one soon.

I plan a first stop at Fromagerie Lemaire to pick up some fresh cheese curds.  Yup you read it right!  This area of Quebec is known for their cheese, especially their cheese curds.  You know the ones they put on Poutines - fries, cheese and gravy.  Did you know that the Poutine originated in Drummondville - Yup - a proud heritage and maybe should become a heritage minute commercial! 

Anyways the cheese here is freshly made and you buy it and it is bagged right in front of you.  The cheese is so fresh it squeaks!  

We arrive in Drummondville and Bernie says to me "how do you feel right now?"  Oh good question, I am so excited, so happy, a little nervous and feel so much love.  How lucky am I?

Today is market day in Drummondville so we head there and buy some fresh vegetables and fruits (oh the strawberries are so good).  We are looking for the donuts in syrup.  But there does not seem to be any.  Yes donuts in syrup - fresh made plain donuts dipped in pure maple syrup.  Getting them hot and fresh is key.  Thank goodness I do not live here I would be HUGE.

We check into our Airbnb which is an entire apartment with two bedrooms.  So cute and great location.  Check out the place here.  Remember if you want to try out an Airbnb in the future just sign up by using this link and on your first stay you will get a discount.  

Bernie needs a rest so I leave and get groceries and return and unpack and get settled.  Once Bernie wakes we are off to my Aunt Liette's home and to see her and my aunt Nicole.  Oh those hugs and kisses were so sweet.  I sure did miss my family.

We only visit for 2 hours as we have plans tonight with my cousins Stephanie, Sophie and her partner Pierrick.  

Drinks at Sophie and Pierrick's place first and my Aunt Diane is babysitting so I get to give her a big hug and kiss too.  Aude and Victor (the kids) are growing like weeds and their English is improving too.  Adorable and I can't wait to spend more time with them.

Both cousins are younger than me and I remember the day they were born but as adults it is so wonderful spending time with them and of course seeing their beautiful children.

We dine tonight at Restaurant Capiche.  What a great spot, I don't remember Drummondville having such great eateries but times have changed.  The place is busy and we have a nice table for the five of us.

Wine, good food, family and non stop talking.  Bernie muddles thru with is English and thankfully he is patient and understands and my cousins can speak a bit in English so all is good with the world.

Back at the Airbnb we turn in for the night.  It is just after 11:30 and I feel bad I have not done my blog for two nights but I always said the blog is secondary - the experiences are first.  Thanks for your patience.

Here is our scavenger hunt list today:

  • Moose
  • Deer
  • Hitchhiker
  • Eagle/Hawk
  • Licence plates from every Province in Canada - but you can not count the province you are in.  So if we see an Alberta plate in BC then it counts, but not if we are in AlbertaBritish Columbia SaskatchewanManitobaOntarioQuebecNew Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Yukon, and North West Territory
  • Skunk - saw a dead one
  • Sheep
  • Beaver
  • Goslings
  • Buffalo
  • Goat
  • Owl
  • Bear
  • Loon
  • Crane
  • Prairie Dog
  • Fisherman fishing
  • Canoe
  • Hummingbird
  • Antique car on the road
  • Old VW Bug
  • Car broken down on the side of the road
  • Helicopter on the ground
  • Airplane on the ground
  • Speeding ticket- hopefully not our own
  • Ambulance with sirens on
  • Dump truck
  • Line painting crew at work
  • Mail delivery person walking their route
  • Cruise Ship 
  • Coyote 
  • RCMP officer
  • Hop on Hop off Bus
  • Sea Glass
  • Lobster

If you have any items you think we should add to our scavenger hunt list, let us know.

So Today's Stats 
Driving distance today 110 k
Total distance 7488 km

Day 32 - Final Day in Montreal and Dinner at Pigor

Oh it is really raining out!  

And both of us are tired and just want to do nothing!  But we are in Montreal!  Things to see, places to go..... 

We done our rain jackets, umbrella in hand, and hit the ground running. Well not running but walking fast.

Of course we are use to this weather -- We are from Vancouver where it rains a lot.  But today it is now misty and annoying.  You need an umbrella but you don't.  Does that make sense?

Also it seems people here just do not get rain or at least they are not use to it.  People on the sidewalk do not understand the umbrella etiquette.  When approaching someone also with an umbrella tilt your umbrella or lift it up or down so you don't hit each other.  Nope not here, people just do not seem to care.  

Traffic is almost at a stand still as the rain seems to have caused mayhem.  Certainly doesn't help that there are numerous road closures today due to events.  

Today there is a city biathlon where participants ride bikes in the city and then a relay run while they wear a tie and carry a briefcase.  

Montreal is also experiencing a boom in construction and road work.  Now this is a good thing but it does make getting around in a car (and even on foot sometimes) difficult.  I forget how in most cities in Canada they can not do road work during the winter months due to the conditions so it happens in Spring and Summer.

All I can say is we are glad we parked our car at the apartment and we are walking and taking transit.

When we get to the Metro we both feel like wet dogs.  

Today we are heading to the Atwater Market to meet up with my high school friend Estelle Arel.  I have not seen her since forever!   Right away she recognizes me and it feels like no time has passed. I am loving these reunions!

When we leave the market it is still raining and really not a great day to be touring.  We decide to head up to St.Catherine and walk around and when the rain gets heavier we duck into the mall.  

Neither of us is really into it.  Of course it does not help that we are both tired and we have been here numerous times so we don't feel the urgency to see the sites. 

So we both agree a quiet restful afternoon is what is needed.  And that is just what we did.

Tonight we are meeting up with my cousin Line for dinner at her son (Sidney's) restaurant called Pigor!  

Thankfully Montreal has Uber and we take a quick ride to the restaurant in Verdun.  

When we arrive I away spot Sidney and it so lovely to see him.  Sidney was actually born on Vancouver Island when Line and her then husband were living there for work.  I remember visiting Line when she just had Sidney and oh it is hard to believe this well accomplished Chef was once rocked in my arms.  Boy I feel old.

Sidney is a true chef who lives and breathes his job.  You can see how much he cares and the thought that goes into all the dishes is really beautiful.

Cocktails arrived and again I love a restaurant that takes the time to really consider their cocktails.  Not the usual stuff but a drink that speaks to the area, what is in season, what is right for this restaurant.  I had a Missy Vicky drink (well of course it has my name in it) which was a margarita but a margarita with Mezcale, Tequilla and jalapeno - a nice bite of spice but that is how I like it! 

pretty handsome guys!

Line and Jacques arrive and I swear the night passed in a flash.  Boy was it nice seeing her.  Line is such an inspiration.  Even as a little girl seeing my older (but not by many years) cousin being so cool and experienced inspired and drove me to be who I am too.  Line is now  a very successful business owner and I am even more proud.  Not to mention she also raised two amazing sons!  

The staff at Pigor are so kind and helpful and kept trying to speak to me in English but no I want to practice my French.  But rest assured if you only speak English they can take care of you completely. Even a menu in English.

Food here is recommended to be served family style where you order a few items and share.  Sounds good to me as we are family!

our amuse bouche

We leave the ordering up to Line and we are not disappointed.  

beef tartar

lovely tomato basil salad made with 3 types of tomatotes

Our starters start coming out - Carpaccio, Beef Tartar and a beautiful Tomato Basil salad.  

Main course was beef for two which was melt in your mouth served with sea salt and Wasabi which was gave a burst of flavor in your mouth.  

A Risotto with shrimp and spinach, so fresh and tasted like spring on a plate.

Dessert by Jerrome was a lemon pie deconstructed!  Just the presentation was a piece of art.

So if you are visiting Montreal at all make your way to Pigor and give my love to my cousin Sidney and be ready to experience an amazing meal.

Well we are full, we are drunk - lots of wine and champagne and so much love!

We Uber it back to the apartment. It is 12:30 am and we crash.  Thankfully we don't have to check out before noon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Day 31 - We Get Around Montreal Hmmm

Love this art piece called The Illuminated Crowd made up of 65 sculpted people.  The work is by English Artist Raymond Mason.

When we finally get up and dressed we end up reserving our Airbnb for Fredericton in a few weeks.  Now we are set for even a little longer.

The weather forecast is a little ominous!  They are calling for rain this afternoon, about a 60% chance but it is very sunny, hot and muggy right now. But we are prepared just in case it rains.

We walk up to the Metro station and take the Orange Line up to the closest stop to the Holocaust Museum in the Jewish Quarter.  

It is very reasonable to enter at a cost of only $8 each and we spent around two hours inside.

We both thought it was very well presented and moving.  

Again we learned and were very moved by many of the exhibits.

In a section that described how the German people gained a hatred for the Jews and how it spread rapidly.  We learn that the Nazis handed out free radios to German families, and of course Nazi propaganda was spread on the radio.

In schools written on blackboards were the words Jews need to be expelled, or Do Not Do Business at Jewish Business.

Even little children were not immune. Board games that were played rewarded you if you could get rid of Jews in the game. 

Canada was not welcoming to Jews at this time, nor were many other countries.

And the spread of hate here was evident.  Hmmm history is repeating itself. Key is to learn from history and not to repeat it.

Remember you can not change what you do not acknowledge.

At the end was an Eternal Flame in Remembrance. 

Back on the Metro we get off in Little Italy and go to a restaurant that came highly recommended -- Pizzeria Napoletana.   It was good, nothing special.  I have certainly had much better Napoli Pizza in many other spots. Another crazy thing is this restaurant only takes cash! Come on welcome to the 21st century!  I am glad we tried it, but probably would not rush back.

We are close the Jean Talon Market so we walk over and stroll the aisles and enjoy the sights and sounds!  If we were here longer we would buy some stuff.  We agree that when we get to Drummondville we will go to the market and buy stuff there.

I spot Lobster - another thing scratched off my Scavenger Hunt List

Those yummy egg custard tarts that are so popular in Portugal - Antonio we are thinking of you

It has started to rain lightly and we are back on another metro line (we are getting our money's worth in the 3 day pass, cost of $18 each).  

Now we are heading downtown and to the McCord Museum that is located right near McGill University.

When we arrive it seems a little special.  There is a red carpet, and media is set up and wine!  But none of it is for us.  Seems there is a special event happening tonight. The premier of a new exhibit and the event is for the media.

We go to pay and even offer our receipt from the Holocaust Museum as you get 50% off entrance because of it.  But we are told it is free because of the event.  I knew the museum was open till 9 pm tonight but later find out that it is closing at 5 pm because of the event.  

We tour the first two floors and kind of skim past the aboriginal section. Not because we are not interested but more because is a little redundant to us.  We often visit Anthropology Museum in Vancouver and we have learned even more on our journey across Canada.  We are also loosing steam and we are really here to check out the exhibit about Montreal.

So cool - very modernly displayed and enjoyed the textile exhibit.  Remember is was not that long ago that Montreal was a hub for fashion with small business designing, sewing and selling their fashions.  

Stores like Le Chateau, Reitmans and many others started here.

Another cool art piece

When we leave the Museum it is pouring rain.  We pull out the umbrellas and decide walking back to the apartment is probably the best idea.  The bus could take us there but traffic is bumper to bumper and we could probably walk there faster.  This city has a lot of construction happening - roads and buildings - which does not help.  Plus I later find out the power went out earlier and that could of impacted the traffic.  

We are smart we just keep walking and we are back at the apartment about 20 minutes later.  A little wet but feeling invigorated.  Oh and tired, we logged 18,000 steps today.

Tonight we are staying in.  We are not hungry from the later lunch and we have a big day planned for tomorrow.