What a lot of driving! When Alex booked the hotels, she debated between having us drive 8 hours or 10 hours, and settled on 8. Are we ever glad of that! The drive to Matane took about 9.5 hours with breaks. Some of it was lovely along the side of the St Laurence seeing all of the old homes beautifully restored. Other parts we were glad for Douglas Rushkoff and Harry Potter audio books to keep us going.
When we arrived in Matane, our B&B was easy to find, right off the main route. What a lovely spot! L'Auberge Bruin Ocean is a 100 year old house very well restored with large rooms, a comfy bed, a huge shower and our room had an even bigger bathtub that we sadly ran out of time to try. We opted for the breakfast, and are sure glad we did! A 3 course breakfast with fruit, yogurt, French toast, waffle, crepe, omelette and toast. Wow! The lady who runs the B&B (Sonia) served breakfast and was very nice to talk with. Alex is practicing her French and Sonia thought initially we were from France - Alex hasn't lost her accent yet. Chad keeps asking how to say different phrases. Google translate is a nice tool for verifications.
Dinner was at a nearby restaurant. Nothing outstanding, but it was comfort seafood - what we needed after a long driving day.
After the amazing breakfast described above, we lazed around until the last possible minute before getting out to start our day on the road. Today's not so bad though - only a little over 3 hours.
So that 3 hour drive took us almost 7 hours, largely because we stopped every 15-20 minutes or so. There were lots of lovely lookouts worth stopping at as we headed along the coast. We did some of "les routes touristiques" and meandered through little villages that were really just rows of homes. We stopped at a lighthouse museum - the only one still in regular operation - to get a tour. We were happy to report understanding the vast majority of the tour in French. Those lighthouse men may have gotten paid well for their work ($300/year was a good salary for the time) but they did work hard and regularly - every 4 hours they were refilling tanks and cranking the light to keep it running.
The windy roads have been interesting for our little car, which doesn't like steep hills. At one point, we were being "chased" by a big truck traveling terrifyingly fast and close behind us (or at least that's what it felt like!). We finally pulled over at a lookout specifically to let him pass.
We have also discovered les bars laitiers. There were bar laitiers all the way along our route, and be we finally stopped at one to see what it was all about. It's probably just as well we didn't discover these earlier. This one had soft serve dipped cones - about 12 different dipping flavors. Chad got vanilla ice cream with a white chocolate and maple syrup dipping flavour, and Alex got vanilla chocolate swirl dipped in Bailey's coating. Can you say decadent?
After arriving at our motel for the night, we opted to be lazy and went to the local bar laitier for dinner. We actually were too full of ice cream to order more, but we both got poutines for dinner, and ate them sitting at a picnic table overlooking the ocean. What more can you ask for?
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