After we got back to the hotel from the Yacht Club, D’Arcy fell asleep while getting the girls settled and I packed up our room. The plan was to pick the boys up from their cousins’ at 8 a.m., but it was just before that time when we left the hotel.
We picked up Evan and Alex, then said good bye to Kathleen, Bill and the kids. It was a really fun visit and we hope that D’Arcy might have the opportunity to come back another year. When Evan was a baby, we lived on the same street as Bill & Kathleen, just two houses apart. They’ve been in Ottawa for five years now, and although they’ve been home, they usually center their visits in Halifax and we just see them briefly. It was really great to have a chance to reconnect and not be in a rush.
Our plan was to drive straight through from Ottawa to Quebec City, a five hour drive, and then spend the afternoon in Ottawa. Because of traffic, construction, and two accidents in, and outside of, Montreal, it took us six-and-a-half hours to get to Quebec City.
I lived in Quebec City 20 years ago, taking summer French Immersion at l’Universite Laval. It’s one of my favourite cities in the world! Before we arrived, I had imagined that we would stroll around Old Quebec, and stop at a pub for a leisurely lunch; Sarah & Evan would practice the French that they learn in school. Yes, in my mind, there were even accordions playing as I imagined this!
In reality, everyone in my vehicle arrived in Quebec City hot, tired, and needing a bathroom. It just so happened that the Festival d’Ete (Summer Festival) was taking place so most streets were closed off and finding parking was a nightmare! We found a spot, found a bathroom, and then needed to find something to eat before everyone fell apart. We ended up at St. Patrick’s Pub. (In Quebec City, I know – not so French, and definitely no accordions!!) We ate inside because the patios of every single restaurant were packed! The food was okay, but our service wasn’t great. Our server took her break as they were putting up our meals, and not all of our food came at the same time.
We left the pub with full bellies and walked around Vieux Quebec which was very crowded. We walked back up to the van and drove through the Laval Campus on our way to the highway, but the kids were already all asleep! We’ll plan it differently next time…
Our destination after Quebec City with friends who live on a beautiful farm, near Sherbrooke & Lennoxville, Quebec. (Home of Bishop’s University.) The drive from Quebec City to their house was three hours long. We’ve been using a GPS that D’Arcy’s brother Kevin lent to us, and it had generally been realy good. Par for the course, it chose this particular day to take us off the beaten path. D’Arcy & I each were having trouble remembering the road we were on. Parts would look familiar, and other parts we felt we were seeing for the first time. I was driving, and when we thought we were close, the GPS directed me to an old country farm lane that appeared to be rarely used. We ended up calling Scott and when he figured out where we were, he redirected us and we turned around.
The last time we had seen Scott & Jennifer was when we stayed with them on a trip we took 13 years ago, when Evan was just six months old. D’Arcy and Scott taught together at La Tuque High School in Quebec from 1990 – 1995. They have three beautiful children. Brittany is studying hospitality and is away from home this summer, working at a hotel in Gatineau. I was sorry we missed seeing her – I’m sure that she & I would have had lots to talk about! Nathaniel (16) and Brianna (11) were both home and made our kids feel right at home. They went off and played video games and coloured while the grown-ups sat around the kitchen table talking.
Jennifer & Brianna both live a gluten-free lifestyle, so they understood the inconvenience of trying to feed Olivia on the road. I was so touched and grateful that Jennifer had taken the time to make allergy-free muffins and cookies for Olivia. Not only did she have some for snack, but she had some and breakfast and finished them on the road! Thank you Jennifer!
In addition to the family, their farm is also home to two dogs, two baby ducklings, a number of baby chicks, a rooster, many sheep, and a donkey. Olivia was in her glory!
We had a lovely visit; we just wish it had been longer!