An Unforgettable Trip to Canada
After thinking about it a million times, we finally decided to spend our vacations in Canada. We will travel through Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Saguenay to Ottawa. Well, the first thing we did was to book the flight. The next thing is to hire the rental car. At the time of making the reservation online, the system does not allow us to hire the driver.
So we try to make the reservation by phone. And we got a big surprise when they tell us that at that moment they have a promotion with which the final price will be somewhat lower. In addition, the payment can be made at the time of the collection of the car and not at the time of booking.
Day 1 - Toronto
After passing the security check with hardly any queues, we waited patiently for the boarding time. The flight is an Airbus A310, something old, so it has no plugs in the seat or individual screens. In addition, the space between seat is quite small. There is internal wifi. To eat they serve a sandwich, drink and coffee, and a little before arriving a small snack, and some bars to satiate the hunger.
At the scheduled time we landed at Toronto Pearson Airport. The immigration is a little chaotic because at that time several arrivals coincide and the distribution of the queues is not very clear. However, the waiting time is not much. In ten minutes we get to the corresponding window, where we show the passport. They ask us a couple of questions and immediately we go to collect the suitcases, which arrive without problems.
Then we cross the terminal, which is not small, and we go to pick up the rental car. It is all very well indicated, and soon we arrived at the office in the first basement. We picked up the car, loaded the bags and started. It was our first experience with a car with automatic transmission, and as the rules mandate we tied our left leg behind and went outside. In ten minutes we arrived at a somewhat outdated three-star hotel. There are very large, apartment-style rooms with kitchens.
It's almost 7 in the evening and it's time to start looking for something to eat. The hotel is located in an area with few buildings, and as it does not have a restaurant we ask where we can have dinner. They give us a photocopy of a map with a few restaurants within a reasonable walking distance. In fact, they are pizzerias. The rest are burger points, which as we will see are very frequent.
We were aware that in Canada tips are mandatory. In fact, these are part of the salary of the waiters. However, at the time of payment, we tell the waitress that we have just arrived and we ask her how the system works, to corroborate our information. She explained that this percentage ranged between 10-15% or a fixed amount.
They bring us the VISA machine. We put the card yourself that asks you, the language, amount, and if we agree, the tip we want to leave, either a fixed amount or a percentage, that offers a 15-20%. It asks for our PIN and finally confirms. We turn back to the hotel. Tomorrow begins our first day in Canada.
Day 2 - Thousand Islands
After breakfast, we load the bags again and head for Gananoque, a small town from where the Thousand Islands excursions start. We see huge trucks, very long and many of them with one or several trailers, and those cabins with long noses that we see in American movies. The brands of the most common cars are curiously Japanese and Korean.
We see Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Nissan and in smaller amount Ford, Volkswagen and some Mercedes and BMW. There is also a lot of pick-up vans, which is dominated by the American brands GMC and Ford. The speed limit is 100 km/h on freeways and wide roads and 90 km/h in the rest. Anyway, soon we realize that all vehicles, absolutely all, including trucks, move at 110-120 km/h.
Well, the sites for the thousand islands excursion are Kingston, Ivy Lea, Rockport, and Gananoque. We decided on the latter because it is a small town and (as we read) there are no parking problems. When we go to the ticket office to buy the tickets they tell us that the next boat is complete, and therefore we will have to wait until 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
We take the opportunity to eat a hamburger of course and then we get in line to embark. When opening the cord it seems that the world is going to end because all the people shoot to take place on the upper deck to have the best views. Actually, from anywhere you see everything, but hey, we are like that.
The Thousand islands are distributed in a not very extensive area of the San Lorenzo River. We see large mansions to small islets with wooden houses. The San Lorenzo River acts as the natural border between Canada and the United States. In principle our orientation allows us to determine that to our left we have Canadian territory and to our American right.
But after a while turning from one side to the other, and passing through several of the islands, we end up a bit disoriented. When we think we are seeing the United States territory it turns out that we notice that they have the Canadian flag, and vice versa. In any case, the excursion, which lasts an hour, is fun and interesting. By the way, the weather is very cloudy and gloomy.
Back in Gananoque, we take the car and we have to travel 250 km to Montreal. On the highway, we see several posters, immense, which warn us of the fines that we will have to pay if we exceed the speed limits. Anyway, we do not know if there are, but we practically did not see cameras. We see only one mobile located in a van with a huge luminous sign indicating the existence of it. We continue to see that absolutely nobody is driving at 100 km/h or even mega-trucks that move in large numbers.
Arriving in Montreal, the navigator takes us through a toll bridge. As we were informed, there are no toll roads in Canada, except the 407, which serves to decongest the Toronto bypass. In this case, there are no toll booths, only license plate readers located at both ends.
In the case of a rental car, the invoice is sent to the address of the rental company, which subsequently forwarded to the user. The problem is that the costs charged by the rental company, in my opinion, was exorbitant, and the final price can be almost abusive. However, it must be recognized that in the contract we are warned of this fact.
In short, if it is not strictly necessary I would not use this highway. As we said we were arriving in Montreal and the navigator took us through a toll bridge, specifically the Champlain bridge. As at that time we were not clear on what payment system we would find, and to avoid any subsequent scare, we decided to change the route.
We go through the Jacques Cartier bridge, at the end of which is the hotel where we will stay. This bridge, more than two and a half kilometers long, joins the two sides of the San Lorenzo River and the Saint Helen's Island. At the beginning of it we started to find some congestion, but in the center, we stopped.
After a few moments, we see in the rearview mirror that they are approaching at high speed and with all the sirens running various fire engines. We moved very slowly and began to find police officers, each time in greater numbers. Finally, just a few meters further on we arrived at the hotel parking lot.
Without exaggerating it seems that we are in a state of siege, although a large number of people seen on the street seems oblivious to all this movement. We go to the hotel reception, and after the procedures, we asked the receptionist what happened. And she tells us that night there are fireworks!
There is a large crowd of people, many of them sitting in chairs. Well, the truth is that we found everything very strange and exaggerated. The location of the hotel is very good, since it is opposite the metro stop, which in less than a quarter of an hour will leave us in the center of Montreal.
Day 3 - Montreal
Today we have the whole day to discover Montreal. We start after lunch. It is a great advantage to be able to leave the car in the hotel parking lot all day and be able to get around by public transport without having to worry about where to park. In our opinion Montreal does not have any special attraction. We started with the town hall, which is closed as it is Sunday. So we only see it from the outside.
In the opposite is the Ramezay castle, which according to the Canada travel guide we have is one of the recommended places to see. At the door we see soldiers and we have the intuition that it is not worth much, so we desist to enter. On the same side is the historic center of Montreal, specifically the Jacques Cartier and St. Paul square are the most emblematic roads.
There is also the area of bars and restaurants. A little further on we find the Bonsecours, an old market that today houses some commercial galleries with the majority of international clothing franchises. We arrived at the Notre Dame Cathedral. The religious buildings would not be the main points of interest to visit Canada, but we entered.
We have the feeling of being inside a French cathedral. The difference is on the outside, as it is surrounded by large skyscrapers and the contrast is quite impressive. After lunch, we spent the afternoon visiting the Mont-Royal. To get there, we let ourselves be guided by intuition and, of course, what happens is that we appear in the university zone, far from the access road.
Back, and now, with the map in hand, we go up to the viewpoint, by means of wooden stairs, although we can also use a path, longer but with an easier slope. Along the way, we can see how squirrels, are not elusive and are accustomed to human presence. We could even caress some of them.
Well, after the hard climb we reached Mont-Royal. There we find a building in which various exhibitions are held. The best is the balustrade from which we have a fantastic view of Montreal and the San Lorenzo River. That's the only reason why it's worth going up there. Back in the center, we decided to take the subway and get closer to the Saint Helena Island.
It is a green lung of the city and a great entertainment area. During the summer, on weekends there are concerts and a multitude of performances, some of which are free. There is also a planetarium and an area of water attractions. Being Sunday it was all crowded with people. We finish the day at the Casino. As in all the casinos of the world, there were a large number of Asians at the gaming tables. We return to the center, have dinner, take the subway, and go back to the hotel.
Day 4 - Quebec
After having breakfast and loading our bags in the car, we set off on our way to Quebec. We can do it by the left of the San Lorenzo River, by the Felix Leclerc highway, or by the right side, by the Trans-Canada highway. We take the latter. The traffic is flowing out but from the start, there are monumental traffic jams, which apparently are common. We refuel at a gas station.
We return to the highway, and at Trois-Rivieres, we cross the river and continue along the Felix Leclerc. The road surface, in general, has seemed somewhat deficient with some bumps and irregularities. The main roads have very few curves, very wide radius and monotonous and endless lines. If we also add the driving of a car with automatic transmission, I can say that for the first time in my life I've been bored driving.
At noon we arrived at the parking lot of the hotel. As the room is not yet ready, we take advantage of the opportunity to eat at an adjacent restaurant. Once again, the room is very spacious and with access to a small balcony. A bit expensive, the best thing about the hotel is its location. Although it is not in the center, it is very well connected with it.
In front of the hotel is the bus stop. In about 20 minutes one leaves us in the entry to the old center of Quebec, which we entered through the Holy door, one of the six that are preserved in the wall. The old Quebec is unmistakably European, French more specifically. Undoubtedly, this is where the French descent of the city is most clearly seen.
We pass in front of the town hall. Soon we arrive at the Terrasse Dufferin, a privileged viewpoint over the San Lorenzo River and the lower part of the old town of Quebec. The immensity of the river is seen here in all its reality. Right behind the Dufferin terrace stands the impressive silhouette of the Chateau Frontenac.
In fact, despite the name of the castle, it never has been. In fact, it has always had the same function and it is a luxury hotel. We access the hall and check that it still retains that Victorian air with which it was built, but with a decadent touch. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the Canadian Pacific Railway not only was in the business of construction and railway operation but also built luxury hotels.
Currently, the Chateau Frontenac is the most photographed hotel in the world. The Dufferin terrace extends parallel to the river and when it finishes it continues a walk called Promenade des Gouverneurs. There are several roundabouts that serve as a lookout. We also see a ramp that when we read the information panels we learned that it is a ramp to go down skiing! Indeed, each winter usually snows a lot here.
The Governors Promenade stretches to the Plains of Abraham, a large urban park with four million visitors per year and where musical performances are held. To the side, and forming part of the park we find the Citadelle, a military enclosure, that as it was in restoration we could see externally.
When we just turned around we found ourselves again in the Old Quebec. It has cooled a little and a jacket is not too much. We are in a very tourist area, which is why there are plenty of restaurants. As a result, prices are also significantly higher than in Montreal. In the restaurants, a jug of water to drink is served free of charge.
Another detail that we liked is that we have never had to ask for the bill. They bring it to us, thus avoiding long periods of desperate waiting, so common in some restaurants. We left the restaurant. Now it's too cold. So we go back to the bus and we retire until tomorrow.
Day 5 - Montmorency Falls
Today we decided to change plans on the move. We had planned to spend the whole day in Quebec and the next day at St. Simeon passing by the Montmorency Falls, the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, the Canyon Sainte-Anne and the coast of Charlevoix. We felt that all day in Quebec would be excessive and we chose to go to Montmorency waterfall in the morning and this way the next day would not be so tight. It was a wise decision.
In about twenty minutes by car, we reach the park's upper parking lot. There is another one in the lower part, at river level. The entrance includes the car park and the cable car that connects both car parks. Although the park is much more extensive, the vast majority of people move there to see the waterfall. According to the travel guide, the Montmorency Falls is higher than the Niagara Falls.
I will not deny it, but the difference in magnitude between the two is such that the comparison is a bit absurd. However, the visit is worth it. Leaving the parking lot, we take a path towards a footbridge over the waterfall. From there we continue along another path that leads to some stairs that go down in zig-zag to the bottom.
There it is possible to approach the foot of the waterfall, although paying the price of a monumental shower. From here, after about 300 mt we arrived at the other parking lot and the cable car to return to the start. The views that we get from any point of the route are spectacular. Once again, from the top, we have a panoramic view of the San Lorenzo River.
Back to the hotel, we leave the car parked and after lunch, we return to the old city, where we see the Notre Dame Cathedral. Later we went to the lower part and to Petit Champlain. We could place ourselves perfectly in an old neighborhood of any French city. After dinner we take a short walk to the bus stop, and around midnight we arrive at the hotel.
Day 6 - Saint-Simeon
Today we say goodbye to Quebec, and the first stop will be the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. We arrived in a few minutes since it is on the outskirts. In addition to the sanctuary, we find various souvenir shops, a reception center, and a hotel. It is a place of pilgrimage, in the style of other Marian centers such as Lourdes or Fatima, which welcomes every year half a million pilgrims.
As we read, it is the sanctuary where more healings have taken place all over the world. The current basilica is from 1946. Previously there was another smaller one that burned down in 1922. Five minutes from here is the Canyon Sainte-Anne. There is a large parking lot. We put on our hiking shoes, take out the tickets and start following a path that quickly leads us to the top of the gorge. It is a very short and affordable route. We have a gray sky again and rain threatens us.
In five minutes we reach the first footbridge that goes over the river. The water is brown and it looks very dirty, but it is the iron sediments that give it its tonality. We continue advancing along the path that goes along the right side of the canyon. We stop at a couple of viewpoints from where we can appreciate the spectacular nature of the place.
In a few more minutes we reach the lower part, and there we see many people who are making the via ferrata that goes up the left side. There is also a zip line that goes through the throat from side to side. Finally, those who do not do one thing or another walk by a suspension bridge at the end of the jump. All in all, it's all pretty spectacular, and in our opinion, it's worth the visit. The return is from the left side.
We went back to the road and arrived at Baie-Saint-Paul, where we still found a bar open at quarter past three and we can eat. There is not much to see there. So we go back to the highway, which is the one that will take us to La Malbaie. There is a park near the river, although the extension seems to be next to the sea.
Finally, in the late afternoon, we arrived at Saint-Simeon, where we have our hotel booked. It's actually a typical roadside motel, very basic but right for the night, which is what it is all about. The situation is almost idyllic, next to the mouth of a stream and just in front of the San Lorenzo River.
Saint-Simeon is very small but it is strategically located at the confluence of the coast road and the one that goes to Saguenay. After buying some supplies, we dine at one of the few roadside restaurants. It's almost 9:30 at night, although it seems like 12 since there is no one on the street. With the full moon watching us we go to sleep.
Day 7 - Saguenay
Today we woke up a little excited since we plan to do one of the star activities of the trip. It is the whale watching excursion. We had lunch in the hotel garden with a self-prepared sandwich, and we quickly set out to make the 50 km that separate us from Tadoussac. When we reach the fjord, the road ends and we have to get on the free ferry that will take us to the other side, where Tadoussac is located. There are two options, on board a ship or on board a speedboat.
There is a parking lot that is practically full, which gives us an idea of how many people want to do the same. When we are in the queue to hire the tour, we decided that instead of doing it by boat we will do it in a speedboat. These boats can take up to fourteen people, and we take the last two places that are free for that hour. After walking a hundred meters that separate us from the dock, we sit down in the boat. The seats are distributed longitudinally in the middle and the staff sits sideways.
At this point, we must mention that there are several signs warning you that the responsibility of carrying a camera is of the passenger. The crew member, who is conveniently protected in a cabin starts and we start to move away from the coast. I put the camera in my shirt and on top of it I put the bag of the camera.
The sky is very gray and rain is not ruled out. The water splash begins that keeps increasing. We protect ourselves with the hood of the suit. Now the splashes are already showers. We started having difficulties to protect ourselves. The sunglasses that we originally wore to protect us from the wind are already soaked and we do not see anything.
A look at the camera and I begin to realize that we are losing it. The sea is very rough and the waves are considerable. After about six kilometers, the speedboat stops where we are supposed to see whales. I begin to scan the horizon in search of whales.
According to the information provided by the company that manages these excursions, fin whales and belugas were spotted in the last few days. There are no Blue whales at this time of year. Belugas live all year round there, so it should be relatively easy to see some. But we only see a couple of them jumping over the water, and very far away.
Slowly, all the speedboats and a couple of boats gather there. They are all communicated by radio and are notified when someone sees a whale. But as nobody sees anything we are moving to other areas in search of the lost whale.
It's still raining. We move from one place to another, but after an hour and a half, we start our way back to Tadoussac with a great sense of frustration. When we arrived at the port, the boy who was driving the boat invited us to take a short excursion to the Saguenay fjord, as compensation for not having seen anything.
In fact, the probability of seeing some whale is so great, that the company guarantees that if we do not see any whatsoever, it gives us back the money. We did not go there to see the fjord, but to see whales. In short, it was surely the activity that made us most excited about the trip and has been the most frustrating.
After returning the suits rain begins to fall, the moment that we take advantage of to eat. Although there are a lot of tourists with interest on whales, there are not many restaurants in the town. After 127 km through highway, we arrive at Saguenay. This road goes along the left side of the fjord.
Although it runs very close to it, there is a strip of forest that prevents us from seeing a good panoramic view. In Saguenay, we find on the ground floor of the hotel a musical bar on one side and a discotheque on the other. They are also crowded with people, with which we fear that today it will be difficult to sleep. But no, the truth is that the room was very well soundproof and we could sleep perfectly.
Day 8 - Saint-Jean-des-Piles
When we wake up the first thing we do is look out the window. One more day the sky is very overcast and it seems that from one moment to another a good flood of water will fall. When we start breakfast, it starts to rain. We load our bags as quickly as we can in the car and head towards Lac-Saint-Jean. This lake is one of the largest in Quebec.
We take advantage of a small truce to stop on the banks of it and we can see its immensity. However, although the view is cool, it is not spectacular at all. We continue to the ghost town of Val Jalbert. This is the qualifier that appears in the travel guides. We can see the houses of the workers, the convent, the school, the church and other buildings of the time.
The waterfall is also part of the tourist attraction, and there is a cable car that goes up to the top of it. From there we take a short walk to some rapids a few meters away. Everything is prepared with wooden walkways that end in a gazebo. We made the descent on foot, to the middle part of the waterfall, where there is another viewpoint. Also from here, we can see the Lac Saint-Jean in the background.
Next to the mill, where the factory was there is a fast food restaurant, in which we take advantage of to eat some sandwiches. Another spout of rain falls, one more and we have to wait for it to subside. In the news of that day, they said that the previous night there were small floods in the area.
After seeing an interesting audiovisual about the history of the town, and taking advantage of the fact that rain has stopped and the sun has come out a little, we go to see a small comic representation of life in the town. We return to the car, and we have 269 kilometers to Saint-Jean-des-Piles, at the gates of the La Mauricie national park.
Once again, we take a highway, almost without any curve, at 100 km/h and very monotonous, except the final part, where we go parallel to the Saint-Maurice River and the landscape now is spectacular and of great beauty. We arrived at the rural hotel. Without hesitation, it is the worst accommodation of the trip.
There is a strong smell of fish throughout the establishment (there is a restaurant on the ground floor). When we arrived there was almost no water pressure. The bathroom was very small and the shower claustrophobic. However, everything was very clean.
We also had a bad experience, because when we arrived we asked what time the restaurant closed. They told us that at 9 o'clock, and since it was 8:30, we told them that after leaving our bags in five minutes we will be in the restaurant. In fact, after that time we introduced ourselves, and when we arrive they tell us that they can no longer attend to us.
We were in a rural environment and to find a restaurant at that time, without knowing anything, was a complicated task. Luckily we found a small roadside bar where they treated us well. We go to sleep because tomorrow we have to discover the La Mauricie NP.
Day 9 - La Mauricie National Park
Today we have another exciting day. We are ready to discover our first national park in Canada. The rural hotel where we have spent the night is five minutes from the entrance of the La Mauricie national park. That was the reason why we stayed there. A road crosses it in an east-west direction.
At the entrance, there is a shelter where, in addition to reporting on the park, the corresponding fee is paid. The information that they offer us is abundant, with diverse maps full of excursions, on foot, kayak or bicycle. One of the things that caused us some concern was the presence of bears.
Indeed, when we were preparing the trip, and after informing ourselves extensively about the national parks, one of the topics that always appeared was that bears and humans live in the same territory. Then they always told you that these almost never attack humans. In fact, they are very asocial and when they hear the noise they move away.
But we must not lose sight of the fact that they are wild animals, and in certain situations, they can be potentially dangerous. Getting too close to the children or a surprise encounter are infrequent but also complicated situations to control. Finally, they tell us how we should act in these cases.
With all this precedent we asked the information girl about the bears. With a smile from ear to ear she told us that the black bears are there. She recommended an excursion of about six kilometers. We choose the one that leads to Lake Solitaire. The route passes through the forest, which is good because the sun does not reach directly. In the middle of summer it is appreciated, but on the other hand, there is not much opportunity to enjoy the views.
The sky begins to get overcast and a storm threatens. Luckily, only a few drops fell and we were able to make the entire journey without getting wet. We found enough people. In about three hours we are back in the parking lot. We continue our route inside the park and the next stop is at Lake Edouard. Here there is a large camping area, a fine sand beach on the lake and a shop with a cafeteria.
There is also a picnic area, with barbecues, tables, benches, and fountains. We sit to eat some sandwiches. There are caravans mostly, immense compared to the ones we usually see around here, few shops and also some motorhomes. When we finish eating we take a walk around the lake since there are several trails from there. It is all flat and we found many people, especially entire families.
We continue our route and stop at the Lake Wapizagonke area. One of the most common activities in the Canadian parks are the multi-day excursions with canoe or rabaska in the local language, moving away towards wilder areas. At this point, we find a house where we can rent the kayak, the store and everything we need for adventure.
They also give us a can to put the food and at night hang it from a tree to prevent a bear from coming and take it away from us. The bears have an extremely fine sense of smell and they like to steal the food of others. The maps are very detailed and they indicate the routes to follow to jump from one lake to another with the kayaks on the back.
At the same side of the house we see the indication of another path and as we go well of time we decided to take another walk around the lake. In the various reception areas of the car parks, there are some boards where people can write the animals they have seen on their excursions. When someone detects the close presence of bears, they must inform the park staff.
I suppose it is always better to prevent and avoid a conflictive encounter. Also, if they detect that someone is getting too close, the park staff tries to keep it away from the areas frequented by people. We continue our route and after a couple of stops to see the various lakes, which in the end are all very similar, we stop again, in this case in the area of Shawinigan.
Fortunately, in July, the day is long, and we still have some time to make a small trip of about three kilometers, specifically one of the waterfalls that seem to look good. But at the beginning of the trail, we find another sign warning of the presence of bears. In the beginning, the path goes parallel to small waterfalls with a very gentle slope.
In addition, people, instead of following the path, walk on the same side of the water. Once we reached the top we discovered a seemingly not very large lake that forms a very idyllic corner. Actually, to be more exact, it is the tail of Lake Wapizagonke that we have seen before.
On the shore of the lake there are some wooden footbridges and we advance to the point where the path separates from it and goes into the forest. And here we end the tour, as there is another sign warning of the presence of bears, with the difference that in this case explicitly prohibits the passage from there. After seeing the panorama we turn back and go back where we had come from.
We took advantage of the last moments of sun. After making a couple of stops to see the landscape, we left the park with the feeling of having enjoyed quite a lot of everything we have seen.
We go to dinner at Shawinigan, which is the county capital, and when we finish we get back to the hotel and sleep.
Day 10 - Mont Tremblant
Today we wake up late, enjoying our cozy room. The feeling is like being at the grandparents' house. We wake up with the smell of coffee and the breakfast of other travelers who leave early to start their route through the park. I go to the balcony for a while and I really enjoy imagining myself in the middle ages. It is not difficult because there is nothing in the surroundings besides other small houses and forest and more forest. Winter here must be hard!
We had delicious breakfast, including a buffet of homemade exotic jams! One more day, after breakfast we get behind the wheel of the car and go out on the road towards the Omega Park. By the way, at this point, we have almost controlled the issue of automatic change, although some day we still have the temptation to step on the clutch when starting.
In about three monotonous hours we reached the park gates. The Omega park is an extensive enclosure in which we can see several species in semi-freedom on a signposted route. The truth is that we saw deer, bison, wolves, bears and some other common species, but not others more elusive.
As we arrived at noon, we took the opportunity to eat some sausages in the cafeteria at the entrance. Then we buy a bag of carrots and we put the car in the queue to start the circuit. After about a hundred meters the cars begin to stop, and indeed the deer is approaching. It is very funny because they get to put their heads inside the car in search of the coveted carrot.
Further on, the circuit continues and halfway through it we arrive at a car park and an entertainment area next to it, an ice cream cart included. A kilometer from there, more or less, there is a farm where common animals live like rabbits, pigs, turkeys and some chicken. We and most of the people do the short walk.
From the farm, there is a circular route through the forest that leads to a sugar hut, where the maple syrup is made, so characteristic of those lands. However, in this case, it only has a decorative function, at least at the time we spend there.
When we return to the parking lot we move to a nearby area to see a show with wolves. There is a wooden platform where the visitors are there, while below there are a few wolves that come up there in search of the pieces of meat thrown by a caretaker, who at the same time gives explanations about these animals.
Once we have returned to the car park we take the car again and start the return journey through the bear zone. We took the opportunity to give the last carrot to a deer that apparently was not fed up yet.
We left the Omega Parc very happy and now we are heading to our next destination to Mont Tremblant! We have reserved a small little hotel that has the advantage of being next to a lake. We did not know how much we would use it but we were surprised to see the lake. We arrived at the hotel. We left our things and look for something to eat!
We decided first to the town to eat something and then go up to the activity center to have a first contact with the area. We were a little confused because in this area there are several places with the same name (or very similar). Tremblant Village is a resort that is about 10 km from Mont Tremblant. There is a series of buildings. I do not know if they are hotel or holiday apartments that are on top of a tiny mountain.
Tremblant is a ski resort in winter and in summer has several activities such as zip lines, kayak rentals, among others. It also has a kind of little town atmosphere but in reality, they are hotels, restaurants, and shops. We took several turns before finding the right places because when we look for Mont Tremblant in the GPS, it takes us straight to the town. We were looking for the activity center and ended up at the resort in the middle of a mountain.
We ate at a small hamburger and hotdog in a place that we thought was very traditional. It was quite good, and then we started off towards what we thought was called Mont Tremblant Village. We ended up pretty lost and had to back down at least twice. But it helped us to see the area and we also had the opportunity to see a deer on the road. We stopped and looked at it. It looked at us, and we offered it a carrot (like parc omega), but it doubted us too much and finally moved away.
We finally managed to get to the activity center we had seen in the photos. Arriving in the area is a little confusing because there is parking around the hotel area. Each hotel has its own car park and there are also public ones. We left by car and started to visit the famous little town.
We found it a bit artificial, being an area created for tourism, but that does not stop having charm, just that it is too perfect. We walked for a while aimlessly, entering the shops, trying to buy a souvenir, until finally, we reached the top of the area, which is where the activity center is. The truth is that we did not plan to do any activity since our hotel has a lake. We plan to enjoy it all the next morning.
At dusk we went to the little hotel, passing before a supermarket to buy our food since the hotel is isolated from any civilization.
Day 11 - Ottawa
The next morning I get up early to go for a walk to the lake and enjoy the views for myself. A little later, after breakfast, we spend the whole morning playing in the lake, using the canoes, kayaks and pedal boats offered by the hotel free of charge to their guests.
We had a great time! With much sadness, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we had to say goodbye to the lake. Personally, these moments on the lake were the best part of the trip. I really enjoyed being in the kayak (I had never done it before), touching the icy water while there is a radiant sun, getting close to the shore and enjoying the pine trees and all the beautiful vegetation of Canada.
Although I was several hours, I lacked time to enjoy it, to absorb all that, to fill my eyes, my lungs, my skin, those sensations, smells, and humidity. We have to go now! When we managed to get away from here, we headed towards the parking lot. We passed through the town again to eat burgers!
After 170 kilometers we reached Ottawa. We check-in at a hotel located in a block of flats, something old, located in the heart of the capital of Canada. The parking is very small and we occupy the last square that is free. Next, to the hotel there are a lot of bars and restaurants and being Sunday there is a lot of entertainment.