It was another bright hot morning in our little corner of Brossard. We now have a few days to play with that we hadn’t expected, as we have to be back in Montreal next Tuesday. So we looked at the map and decided to head up to the La Mauricie National Park. We found nice Monsieur Plouffe who runs this little place and told him we would be back next week. He gave us his card which I think is probably somewhat older than Harvey. It notes that he is located just five miles from Montreal Expo 1967 On the back is a line drawing of the little triangular house (now looking somewhat shabby in the middle of the site), labelled “new 1967 House”. Both his area code and, strangely, his street number have changed since he had his cards printed and he had made corrections in pen.
We turned off the overhead aircon at the very last minute, turned on Harvey’s somewhat less efficient dash system and and joined the highway with the morning traffic. It was more than a hundred miles to la Mauricie and we stayed on the freeway as far as we could, entering the bland anonimity of a broad smooth highway lined with tall trees; each mile the same as the last. It was very hot, but old Harvey just purred along on cruise. We have a little fan on the table to keep Tom cool and he watched a DVD we got yesterday.
At Trois Rivieres we stopped for lunch. This is a port town with vast silos and cranes on the riverbank. An ancient black-hulled container ship was docked and either loading or unloading. The road into town goes almost into the port, before clinging to the river bank and finally entering a handsome downtown lined with little cafes which the which the Michelin described as “reminiscent of Paris”. That was pushing it perhaps, but we found one for lunch and sat outside in the shade. Once again we had a lovely waitress – a lady slightly older than us – who was all smiles and played along with our French and flirted with Tom.
An hour later we were entering La Mauricie and checking in with the terrific women at the front desk. I don’t know what it is about the people here, but they have an aura about them. They greet you with an honest warmth as if they are genuinely pleased to see you and happy to help. There is no scripted “hello, my name is…”, no question of turning on the tourist face. They are themselves. There was a 3d slideshow about the park which was very striking with electro-synth music warbling away over a deeply purple narration, full of words like “behold”. The photography was terrific though and it looks like a stunning place, with wolves and bear and moose. We expect to see all three in the next two days of course.