Sunday, July 20, 2014

Montreal-Quebec-Nova Scotia Day 11. Lévis to Quebec (40 km)

I stayed the night at Lévis, across the river from Quebec, and today in the morning I did the crossing using the ferry. Once I got to the Quebec side I stopped at the booth of a line of river cruises, and asked them if it was possible to take a boat from Quebec to Rivier-du-Loup, a ride I was planning to do next Wednesday. The girl looked at me with big eyes and told me "Mais non, monsieur, ca se tres loin d’ici." "Far away?", asked I. "How far?" And she pulled out a map and showed me that the distance from Quebec to Riviere-du-Loup is the same as the distance from Montreal to Quebec! And I was planning to cover that distance in one day. Ha!

It was time to put my thinking cap on, and figure out a way out of my silly mistake. Fortunately my wanderings took me to La Gare de Quebec, where all the long-distance buses come in. Right away I went in, asked, and was assured that on Wednesday I will be able to take a bus to Riviere-du-Loup, so I won't have to bust my knees trying to get there on time to take the train to Halifax.

I then stopped at the port, to look at the channel locks (esclusas in Spanish that allow boats to come in and out of the marina into the river, and just by chance got to visit the Marie Clarie, a 1920’s schooner (goleta in Spanish; a two mast sailboat, where the main sail goes in the back mast. The schooner has been lovingly renovated, and a lively girl in the costume of a ship’s boy gave me a great summary of its history, first as a fishing vessel, then as a cargo vessel, and finally as a pleasure cruiser. A very cool piece of history.

For the rest of the day I wandered along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River, not wholly committed to enter the City of Quebec. The simple reason for this is that Quebec occupies the top of a long ridge, and it is hard work pushing the loaded bike up those steep slopes. Finally I did it, but only to ride away from “uptown” to the campus of Laval University, where I will make my abode for the next three nights. I have now clocked a total distance of 500 km from the time I first got on the bike in Montreal!

At Laval University I am staying in one of the dorm rooms, which is nicely appointed with TV, mini-fridge, and its own bathroom. I did the shopping thing, and I cooked my own dinner, but I had to use my own cooking camping utensils, because the kitchens do not have any common use pots and pans. Dinner was actually quite yummy (poached salmon with herb rice, accompanied with red wine), but it was too much of a hazzle and I may do the fast food thing for the next couple of days.

Tomorrow I will be a plain tourist. I am going to go down to the river with the bike, follow it north to the base of the cliff atop which is the historic center, park the bike, and proceed from there on foot. I am going to try to give my left knee a break (I have bought a knee brace as well) while enjoying this beautiful city.    

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