Saturday, July 16, 2016

Toronto To Quebec

As places go the Province of Quebec isn't terribly geographically enticing. Much of it is covered in forests and agriculture, rolling plains not that different to the midwest frankly.
The goal of our large loop trip was to spend a few days in Quebec City visiting the only walled city in North America. To get there we left behind friends and relatives in Illinois and made our way to Toronto to visit moto blogger David Masse and his wife Susan who put us up in their delightful centrally located apartment. The visit was too brief as we always seem too ambitious on our vacations but we live so far from anywhere we have to keep moving if we were to get back to work in time.
I liked Toronto quite a lot even though I got to see but a tiny fraction of it. Yonge Street is a main drag and is lined by levels of buildings, little old ones in front rising to massive scrapers at the back, a beguiling mix of new and old.
This is Korea Town and full of fascinating little stores it was too. Rusty loved it.

I came across  a community garden where the neighbors grow food and sell it to benefit a local charity, keeping none for themselves. It seemed rather odd but noble.

 Parkview LINK

And so we bid sad farewells with a promise to return and got on the road. Minding our speed limits as 30mph (50km/h) over the limit can lead to vehicle confiscation.

It was boring stuff but we had to burn miles, even if they were Canadian ones. I told my wife my sisters used to prefer driving through Italy as opposed to England as they said the kilometers are shorter and pass more quickly than miles. After laughing initially my wife found herself agreeing as she struggled to navigate the blue line in metric measurements and discovered 300 kilometers pass faster than 200 miles...maybe. I grew up bilingual and I find the only metric measurements I can't grasp are heat. Tell me it's 28 degrees and it means nothing. Tell me it's 82 and I get it. I spoke to an old Canadian guy, a French speaker actually and he said he struggled with metric as he grew up using English measurements which is even more confusing as the British Imperial Gallon and pint are larger than their US equivalents. We live in transitory times and all is change.Next we stopped and had lunch in Kingston, the last stop in English speaking Canada, on the shore of the St Lawrence River.
A flamboyant City Hall (equipped with a public loo! Nice.).
Poutine: we investigated that peculiar Canadian dish in Quebec City, later.
 We tried modern Canadian cuisine and it was excellent, fish tacos and Turkish dumplings:

We pressed on to Gananoque, a town I don't know how to pronounce, across the river from Alexandria Bay, New York and we enjoyed  a glimpse of water and the Ten Thousand Islands in the stream:

We had a debate about the crown symbol for provincial highways in Ontario. I thought it looked like a birthday cake with a candle in it; my wife thought I was an idiot. Such was the conversation on the long straight highways toward Quebec City.
Dusk started to fall and we pulled over for a dinner on the road. Yeah, I know, Tim Horton's is a symbol but it was okay. Chicken salad with potato wedges served by a cheerful young woman happy to practice her English.
 It was a popular hang out it seemed like.
It looked  pretty much like anywhere USA, with slightly different labeling and so forth. Rusty liked the cool evening air.
We arrived in the evening and next morning when Rusty and I went out for our early morning walk the commute was as packed as you've seen it:
Our hotel was outside the city, a ten minute drive to the walls which we rather liked as it was modern and comfortable and not crowded into a space resembling Old Town in Key West. Rusty liked the industrial walks available.
I think the bicycle above was "usage" rather than new, and below I was in no mood to spoil myself with poutine even had they been open... 
 He had a blast and only gave me a moment's  panic when a nice young couple thought he was lost and nearly loaded him into their car. Bloody dog needs to be more leery of strangers...

And he didn't mind the attention he got in the lobby afterwards. Good dog.