Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Bienvenue to Acadia
We ended up taking the slow road out of Quebec, along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River/Seaway past a lot of quaint villages where a whole book could, and probably has, been dedicated to the unique architecture evident everywhere you look - full of curlicues and cornices and multi-coloured paint and other stuff that lend so much character to the dwellings. We stayed an extra night in Quebec outside Riviere de Loop and then headed into New Brunswick the next morning.
The Appalachian Trail to the Acadian Peninsula revealed to us our second major gap in our education about The East. The Acadians are a large, distinct society that is very much alive and well. The Acadians occupy at least a third of the province. Even the NB license plates say New - Noveau Brunswick. They retain the French language, to a person - we ran into more people in Montreal and Quebec City that spoke English than we did in Acadia. They even have their own flag. They're very welcoming though and I think most are bilingual.
An entire holiday could be made of visiting Acadia. Its where the Atlantic water bodies make their presence felt, where the culture is so different, but welcoming, and where you can get a genuine taste of a piece of the fabric that makes up Canada.
Our first night in NB we stayed at Campbellton, which we thought would be pretty Scottish, but no, French everywhere. We stopped at the tourist info place and were told to head south along the beach for twenty kilometers but, driving along the beach right in town, we noticed a lot of RVs with their stabilizing jacks down. We asked someone if it was legal, and free, to stay the night. He replied in very broken English that indeed that was the case. It turned out that they were all from Quebec or NB, all spoke French, and a lot of them hung out together there. When I saw a guy get out his guitar, and people gathering, I thought I was in for a real old fashioned Acadian jam session. Alas, they were pretty old (like older than me), played very French and very slow waltz kind of stuff, not the kind of music that lent itself to any kind of drumming. We enjoyed it as background music while we sat drinking wine and gazing out at the Gulf of St. Lawrence though. The real Acadian thing is mostly Fiddle and Accordion, sounding slightly French/Zydeco and I'm still hoping I'll get lucky before we get out of New Brunswick.
Following the coast and the Acadian Trail, we spent a night at Caraque,(kind of sounds like carrot cake), where we had another great spot on the The Gulf, overlooking the marina. It was in Caraque we got our first fresh Atlantic Lobster during a bike ride around town.
Tonight we're at the municipal camp site at Richibucto where the river meets the gulf.
Photo: A typical scene on the road out of Quebec. I wish I had taken some photos of some of the uniquely quaint houses.
Photo: Like the Acadians, Janice helps bridge the gap between Quebec on the right and New Brunswick on the left.
Photo: In front of our campsite at Campbellton, NB.
Photo: The harbour at Caraque where we bought fresh lobster, ocean perch, cod, shrimp and scallops that Janice turned into Civeche that we ate while watching the sun set over the gulf.
Photo: Just a few of the hundreds of fish boats left high and dry in Shipagan, NB.
Photo: A lobster shack at Caraque where we had an excellent little lobster roll. You can buy the same thing at Subway out here - we haven't tried theirs yet.