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    Following The Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec : Episode 4

    Kenneth White The Blue Road 1990 Mainstream Publishing

    Kenneth White The Blue Road 1990 Mainstream Publishing

    We’ve been lapping up mile after mile in the clear blue light of an October afternoon. There were a few passengers when we left Chicoutimi, but the bus emptied at Tadoussac (…)

    Walt Whitman visited the ‘savage Saguenay country’ around 1880. Wrote a little piece about it, saying that the Saguenay is different from all other rivers; ‘a more vehement play of light and shade’. He was intrigued too, old Walt, by the echoes at Tadoussac (taj-oo-sac, he adds in brackets, to make sure we get the French-Canadian pronunciation right), and admired capes Eternity and Trinity; ‘They have impressed me more profoundly than anything of the kind I have yet seen.’

    (Kenneth White – The Blue Road)

    Quebec QC From Grandes-Bergeronnes to Forestville Itinerary

    Quebec QC From Grandes-Bergeronnes to Forestville Scotiana 2010 Itinerary - Modified Google Map

    October 4th 2010

    Driving on our Blue Road along the St Lawrence River and following ‘La route des baleines’ : Grandes-Bergeronnes, Tadoussac, Baie Sainte-Catherine, Pointe-Noire, Baie Sainte-Catherine,  Tadoussac, Grandes-Bergeronnes, Cap Bon-Désir, Forestville.

    Quebec PQ Grandes-Bergeronnes Gîte La P'tite Baleine

    Gîte La P'tite Baleine Grandes-Bergeronnes © 2010 Scotiana

    De sa véranda centenaire, Petite Baleine berce et cause. Un sourire s’ouvre et invite. De pièce en pièce, l’âme respire les parfums d’hier. Nostalgique, un piano noir. Au lit, une catalogne pour rêve! La nappe effleure le cristal et joue la coquette au bal des confitures où trône la chicouté. Ô «Cendrillon du Nord», tu charmes nos matins d’ici.

    Quebec PQ Grandes-Bergeronnes Gîte La P'tite Baleine Breakfast

    Breakfast - Gîte La P'tite Baleine, Grandes Bergeronnes, QC © 2010 Scotiana

    La table est mise au gîte de ‘La P’tite Baleine’ et l’on se croirait presque en Ecosse 😉 C’est ainsi que nous découvrons à l’heure du petit déjeuner: thé et café à volonté servis par Geneviève,  notre charmante hôtesse,  et toute une variété de délicieuses pâtisseries à déguster sans modération : pain aux noix – muffins aux airelles – petits pains chauds – croissants – brioches aux amandes et à la cannelle – confitures maison et le tout arrosé de toutes sortes de jus de fruit dont certains ne manquent pas de couleur locale (fraise-framboise-canneberge – jus de pommes… c’est la saison des pommes comme en témoignent ces superbes étalages colorés que l’on voit éclore un peu partout,  où voisinent de nombreuses variétés de pommes qui se ressemblent toutes. (Journal de bord Québec 1 Mairiuna – 4 octobre 2010)

    10 h… After a refined and delicious breakfast served by Geneviève, our charming hostess, we depart from the  ‘Gîte de la P’tite Baleine’,  in Grandes-Bergeronnes, and after taking some photos of the neighbourhood we drive south on the road 138 towards Tadoussac. The weather is fine.

    On our way we stop a number of times to admire the splendid colours of the autumn landscape and of course we take photos 😉

    Red and Yellow Wooden House Road 138 near Tadoussac Quebec PQ

    Red and Yellow Wooden House on Road 138 towards Tadoussac © 2010 Scotiana

    Here, at the foot of multi-coloured hills, a nice little red and yellow wood house is challenging the autumn colours…

     Lac Gobeil - Road 138 near Tadoussac Quebec PQ

    Lac Gobeil - Road 138 near Tadoussac © 2010 Scotiana

    A little further, the flaming forest reflects its splendid colours in the quiet waters of a blue lake…
    We finally arrive at Tadoussac, a nice and busy little town situated on Baie Sainte-Catherine, at the confluence of the  Saguenay and Saint Lawrence Rivers and we drive directly to the terminus of the ferry which sails across River Saguenay.

    Ferry Tadoussac Baie Sainte-Catherine Quebec PQ

    Ferry Tadoussac-Baie Sainte-Catherine © 2010 Scotiana

    Baie-Sainte-Catherine has the reputation of being the location of the historic meeting on May 27, 1603, between François Gravé Du Pont and Samuel de Champlain and the leaders of three Indian nations with whom they concluded an agreement that opened the Saint Lawrence River to French explorers.
    On the stormy evening of November 27, 1686, the ship La Catherine went aground and sank in the bay at the mouth of the Saguenay River. On the 1731 map by Laure, this bay was identified as “Ance à la Catherine” (archaic French for “Catherine Cove”). At some uncertain point in time, “Saint” was added, following the former widespread practice in Quebec of sanctifying toponyms.
    Around 1820, the first permanent settlers came to the Canards River area and formed a farming village. In 1843, William Price built a sawmill at the first falls on Canards River, that operated some ten years. In 1847, the mission was founded, and named “Saint-Firmin” by the bishop of Quebec. Its first cemetery opened in 1865 on Alouettes Point, followed by the first chapel of St. Firmin Mission in 1876, also on Alouettes Point. At the beginning of the 20th century, it transformed into an industrial village when another sawmill and cheese factory operated there.
    In 1903, the village was incorporated as the Municipality of Saint-Firmin. But since the place was called Baie-Sainte-Catherine in common use, the municipality officially adopted this name in 1984.,_Quebec

    View of the entrance to the Saguenay Fjord from the Tadoussac ferry

    View of the entrance to the Saguenay Fjord from the Tadoussac ferry © 2010 Scotiana

    Eager as we are to see whales we still hesitate to jump into a zodiac to reach them and we decide not to embark aboard one of the crowded whale-watching cruisers which sail on the Saint Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers. We are quite confident to find the big sea creatures further down the road to the North. Instead we decide to climb up the Baie Sainte-Catherine observation tower to have a panoramic view of the place and then go back via the ferry again to visit Tadoussac.

    Quebec PQ Tadoussac Chapel

    Tadoussac Chapel © 2010 Scotiana

    We’ve noticed a nice little chapel which dominates the harbour and which is said to be the oldest wooden chapel in North America. We’ll probably learn its story there and maybe one or two legends attached to it… Not far from the chapel there is the famous Tadoussac Hotel and also the Chauvin House which is the oldest one in the village and has been turned into a Museum.

    Tadoussac Chapel  and Hotel Quebec PQ

    Tadoussac Chapel and Hotel © 2010 Scotiana

    We stayed a long time within the chapel, examining carefully the architecture of this very ancient building, its old pieces of furniture and every little treasure contained in it: historical documents, statues and memorabilia).

    Tadoussac Chapel altar Quebec PQ

    Tadoussac Chapel altar © 2010 Scotiana

    Tadoussac Chapel Wax Jesus baby doll Quebec PQ

    Tadoussac Chapel - Wax Jesus baby doll © 2010 Scotiana

    The very friendly man who was sitting at the entry, attending to the visitors, had provided us with a detailed guidebook but he himself loved the place so much and knew it so well that it proved to be much more interesting to listen to him than to read our guidebook.
    We leave Tadoussac and drive northwards in the direction of Cap du Bon-Désir for we had been told that it was one of the best places to see whales.

    Cap de Bon-Désir Lighthouse Quebec PQ

    Cap de Bon-Désir Lighthouse © 2010 Scotiana

    Situé au coeur du parc marin du Saguenay-Saint-Laurent, le Cap-de-Bon-Désir apparaît tel un site privilégié pour l’observation des mammifères marins, à partir du rivage, et pour la découverte des secrets des organismes vivant dans les eaux du Saint-Laurent. Le phare du Cap-de-Bon-Désir, toujours en fonction, voisine le centre d’interprétation qui présente son exposition interactive sur la navigation. Pour toute la famille, des activités d’interprétation sur le littoral et le milieu sous-marin sont également proposées.

    We can’t drive up to the Cap de Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre because the road which leads to it is closed on mondays. We’ll have to lead the car at the gates and  walk there.  As we haven’t had a meal since our breakfast at La P’tite Baleine, we decide to look for a restaurant first. It is 16 h. We stop at ‘Restaurant du Boisé’ on road 138, at Grandes-Bergeronnes. On our menu : ‘soupes maison, fish & chips, salade césar au poulet, club sandwich et glaces à la vanille’. Now, after such a meal,  we are ready to walk to Cap du Bon-Désir ;-).

    Cap de Bon-Désir Petit Suisse Quebec PQ

    Cap de Bon-Désir Petit Suisse © 2010 Scotiana

    While hurrying along the road in the woods we meet a ‘petit suisse’ which, as its name doesn’t indicate, is a very cute little squirrel. On the shore a few people are still watching for the whales and we join them. Time passes…  No sign of any sea creature in this wonderful environment and while the sun is setting…

    Quebec PQ Cap Bon-Désir sunset

    Cap Bon-Désir sunset © 2010 Scotiana

    …the river is turning pink… it’s incredible! We’ve never seen such colours !

    What a marvellous sight!  But we’ve seen no whale… and the night is falling quickly…  Time to go back to the car for we have to walk through the woods. The lighthouse is on.  Only a French young couple is still there.

    Suddenly, in the silent dusk, we hear a strange sound… kind of breath… like a big sigh… in the distance…

    Quebec PQ Cap de Bon-Désir whale seal gull

    A Whale, a Seal and a Gull at Cap de Bon-Désir © 2010 Scotiana

    An then a second breath ! Closer…  and a third one, closer and closer…  and… and here it is… quite near the shore…  a WHALE! And a seal in the background!;-)

    First the whale’s spray ! and then the  beautiful big creature of the sea emerging out of the water… so beautiful… so close… and everything is so quiet…  it’s truly  MAGIC ! Quite unforgettable !

    Quebec PQ Cap Bon-Désir Sunset

    Cap Bon-Désir sunset © 2010 Scotiana

    What a day! Tonight our blue road has become pink and we’ve seen our first whale! 🙂 🙂

    The whale has gone, and the seal too. Night is deepening  and we must hurry now as we are going to Forestville.

    We arrive there at 20 h, book a room at the Motel ‘Quatre Saisons’, and after a quick supper, the unloading and reviewing of our daily crop of photos, some reading, it’s time for a good night’s sleep.

    See you soon on the whales’ road…

    Quebec QC Saguenay Route des Baleines road sign

    Route des Baleines © 2010 Scotiana

    Le trio voyageur. Mairiuna, Janice et Jean-Claude

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 1

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 2

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 3

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 5

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 6

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 7

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 8

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 9

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 10

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