Our last day before moving on to Percé, so we headed in to Gaspé itself to wander around town and check out their museum. We found a delicious spot for lunch (Marché Des Saveurs) where we had salmon tartar on naan bread, and the most delicious blueberry lemon mini cupcakes with lemon cream. So good! This store seemed to have a bit of everything, so we also bought some local beer and kombucha to try out later when we arrive in Percé.
We then headed to the Gaspésie museum to learn a bit more about the local culture and history of the region's European settlers as well as about the Micmac who lived in this area before the Europeans arrived. Jacques Cartier landed in Gaspé and declared it as belonging to France, and years later a huge granite cross was erected in the town to commemorate that. The traditional industries of the area are likely not a surprise - fishing and forestry and tourism, although how the fishermen banded together to form a co-op was neat to learn. Sadly the co-op didn't survive after the price of fish fell when the cod stock collapsed (1990s). There are about 600,000 Micmac remaining in the overall Gaspésie area, however only about 8,000 speak the language anymore. The exhibit focused quite a bit on how different missionaries who came learned Micmac and wrote it down, and these early writings are helping to bring back the language. Apparently several Europeans also tried to claim they invented the pictographic language the Micmac already used, but that was clearly untrue.
We also tried the virtual reality ship that the museum had. It was an interesting way to share information about fishing in the Gaspé area - having you experience being on a fishing boat with a guide also on the boat asking questions about fishing life.
A short hour-long drive to Percé had us in town. We were early for checking in to our chalet, so we stopped at the tourist information to get the details on how to get to Bonaventure Island tomorrow. We wandered town, went to see the famous rock, looked at some unique jewelry in the shop Wazo that's made by creating castings of natural materials (wood, etc.) and then injecting metals into the casting, and bought our tickets for tomorrow's boat.
After checking in to our chalet campsite, it was back to town for a drink at the local micro brewery pub Pit Caribou (which interestingly doesn't serve food) and found another place for pizza and poutine for dinner. Now we're enjoying the view from our chalet grounds and watching the sunset.
We also learned that there are two local breweries - one is easy to find and OK (Pit Caribou). The other is harder to find and apparently really good. We haven't succeeded yet, but that's a job for tomorrow afternoon.
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