Thursday August 15, 2013. Day 69

Quebec City to Saint-Jean-Port-Jolie

Marius and Helen joined us for the first half of today’s cycle. It was our last ride together on this trip, as they return to Montreal by train tomorrow and fly back to England on Saturday. It has been wonderful to have them along and to share our experience with them. We have greatly appreciated their enthusiasm, humour and good company and their willingness to adapt their pace to that of their elder companions!

Final guest posting from Team Twite: “What a difference a day made; Twenty-four little hours; Brought the sun and the flowers; Where there used to be rain” – from the song, What a Difference a Day Made. Alternative lyrics: “What a difference a wind made; Twenty-four miles per hour”. After a stop for post-breakfast coffee and food at Le Cochon Dingue in the Old Town area of Quebec City, we boarded the ferry to cross the Saint Lawrence to Lévis. The 10-minute ferry journey and the riverbank on the Lévis side both afforded great views of Quebec City, with an interesting juxtaposition between the pretty Old Town and the nearby industrial docks area. As may be gathered from the song lyrics above, the weather was dry and sunny and there was a good tailwind. Combined with a fairly smooth surface on the Route Verte 1 cycle trail and, later, on the shoulder of Route 132, progress was rapid and it was not unusual to be achieving speeds of up to 40km per hour on flat sections and even faster downhill. Helen and Marius had intended to continue cycling with Lois and Paul until lunchtime before turning around to head back to Quebec.  However, due to the rapid progress eastwards and a difficult return journey into the wind, an earlier turnaround was required. This gave a good excuse for a pre-lunch café stop (you can do these thing when you’re exercising all day!) at La Levée du Jour Boulangerie in Saint-Vallies, where we enjoyed fresh lemonade and cakes before saying our goodbyes and departing in opposite directions. Team Twite made it back to their hotel in Quebec in a somewhat slower time than the outward journey, but before heavy rain set in during the afternoon. We’ve greatly enjoyed our 2-week stay in Canada. We’ve cycled around 950km in total whilst sampling a good variety of metropolitan and rural scenery, wildlife, accommodation types, food & drink, and road/trail surfaces. And, of course, we’ve had great company and cycling comradeship on the way. We are sorry to be leaving and wish Paul and Lois good weather, favourable winds, and safe cycling for the rest of their trip.

(Paul and Lois) After seeing off Marius and Helen, we carried on along the #132, close to the south shore of the St. Lawrence. We had planned to only go as far as Montmagny today, as Lois has been having some knee discomfort (probably caused by 2 days of riding on unpaved trails last week), but as the roads were good, the winds were behind us and Lois’ knees had benefitted from a day off the bikes, we decided to stick to our original plan. We continued to make speedy progress with the help of a strong tailwind. We stopped at a fromagerie on the highway to buy cheese to have with a crusty cheese loaf we had bought at the boulangerie, and picnicked in a park in  Montmagny.  In the middle of the river at this point is Grosse Île, a very important place in the history of public health in Canada. In 1832, a quarantine station was set up to prevent cases of cholera and typhus from Europe entering Lower Canada. 3000 Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine may have died here.

At L’Islet-sur-Mer, we found a delightful tea shop, where we had Darjeeling tea and canelés.  We arrived at Saint-Jean-Port-Jolie just as a thunderstorm broke. Here, salt water mixes with river water, and the tides are apparent.  This weekend there is a music festival on in the town, La Fête des chants de marins. During dinner at a bistro overlooking the river, a French accapello group from Brittany, Barababord, gave a spirited performance of sea songs.

We can find no mention of First Nations in relation to the south shore of the St.Lawrence through which we are travelling.








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