Hello! It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I last updated. I realise I wrote the first part of this post about six months ago.
It turns out the second instalment of my road trip is much longer than I thought, so I have decided to do a Peter Jackson and spin it out into a three-part epic. I am hoping it will be just as popular and will generate billions of pounds to support my future endeavours and keep my teabag jar well stocked. I can dream.
Anyway, here goes:
The next part of my plan was to try to get straight to the Gaspésie. On the Saturday morning I left a rainy Tadoussac to try to get the ferry from Les Escoumins across to Rimouski, only to find out when I arrived that the ferry had been cancelled due to bad weather. Those of us booked onto the ferry were told we could either find accommodation in Les Escoumins to wait for the probably cancelled ferry the next day or try to get to another ferry leaving for Rivière-du-Loup at 5pm from the other side of Tadoussac. We weren’t even sure that ferry would be leaving, either. It was first come first serve. Thus began the rush down to Saint-Siméon in the pouring rain, where I was very happy to discover that I could make the crossing.
Luckily Rivière-du-Loup had always been a planned stopping point, and even the rain couldn’t mask the prettiness of the town. The hostel there is very nice and boasts a kitchen that I would very happily have in my own house. I spent Sunday morning walking around and left by midday to try to get to Bonaventure by the evening. The drive took me all the way along one of the main salmon rivers stopping off in a town on the way that even had a salmon statue and museum. It was a pretty drive with covered bridges, mountains and lots of trees, although none of it compared to when I got to the border with New Brunswick and turned back towards the coast. The view across to Campbellton and the bridge is lovely.
I got into Bonaventure early evening and set up camp next to the beach. Bonaventure is very pretty and for a small town it has a great selection of little shops and a really nice bakery/ café where I had breakfast the next morning (It had proper tea). I was particularly excited because I’d been told there was an excellent restaurant there called La Poissonèrie, although I was disappointed not to find it anywhere when I was looking for a place for supper, only to find it the next day as I was leaving! People did not stop raving about it everywhere I went. I’ll just have to go back.
My stomach wasn’t disappointed for long, though, as I stopped at a restaurant near Percé called La Vieille Usine in L’Anse á Beaufils, which a friend had recommended. The food was delicious and there’s also an art gallery, beach and some walks along the river. The waitress who served me was delighted to find out I’m British and told me she’d learnt English by listening to the Beatles. She had wanted to know what they were saying so she translated their songs with a dictionary and just kept going from there. It had worked well.
The most memorable part of the journey to Percé was when I turned a corner and saw Bonaventure Island and the Percé rock in the distance, two of the most iconic landmarks in Quebec. Within 10 minutes I was on the outskirts of the town and turned into a little campsite where I set up my tent on the cliff with a view of the rock and the island. Not wanting to let the day go to waste, I decided to go on a walk on one of the trails before sunset. I coaxed my poor little car up the steep hill to the trail and left it to walk to the “Grande Crevasse”, which took less than half an hour to get to. The views along the way are wonderful, and I’m told from the top of the hill they are even better. At that time of the evening I met very few people on the path and it was lovely and peaceful, a good end to a day in the car. I took one last look before heading back down to the campsite for supper and to prepare for the next day.
I feel that Percé merits a whole post, especially seeing as I got up at 4am. So stay tuned- no six month wait this time, I promise.
Places to stay/ practicalities en route:
Ferry Saint-Siméon – Rivière du Loup:
Hostel International Rivière-du-Loup:
Basic room: $30
Campsite Bonaventure (Open May-September):
About $15 for my tent, low-season price.
Camping du Phare, Percé:
$20 for my tent, low season price.