Discovering our Roots

So once again, I didn’t post on my usual every second Sunday schedule because I was on another road trip! Do you want to guess where?

On Sunday morning, my mother and I left for Québec (yes, for those of you keeping track, that’s three Québec trips since May), but this time, we had a very different agenda.

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My mom celebrated her 70th birthday in June and I’d told her that we’d be hitting the road in July for some fun, but I didn’t tell her where we were going. Aren’t I mean? What can I say, I love to plan surprises!

We left around 9am on Sunday morning and got to our first destination around 3pm, stopping to have a picnic lunch along the way. Our first destination was a VERY small community in the Bas St-Laurent region of Québec named Rivière-Ouelle. So small that there isn’t even a motel. So why did we go there?

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My mother’s maiden name is Ouellet and she’s always said that she’d like to visit this area because that’s where her family originates from. She always thought that Rivière-Ouelle was really far, but as it turns out, it’s only about a five and a half hour drive and about an hour and a half away from Québec City where I longed to go shopping. Convenient, right?

She didn’t catch on to where we were going until she saw the road sign which was fun. I didn’t have any specific plans for our first stop, but I knew we’d figure something out. Once we checked in to our motel in a small town not far from our destination, we went off to explore. The owner of the motel was extremely nice and recommended a nice restaurant for supper. I may have also planned a side visit to a chocolate shop we’d discovered last year which was about a fifteen minute drive away.

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Chocolaterie  : La fée gourmande

Once we had food and chocolate in our bellies, we went exploring. We spent our first evening driving around, turning down each road we’d see to see where it went. On the map, there was a wharf and I was determined to find it.

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On the other side, La Gaspésie

Even though it was windy and rainy, I can’t even begin to describe the beauty of this region. So calm and quiet, yet so charming. Except for the cow smell. There are A LOT of dairy farms in this region which means, on the plus side, they have really good cheese.

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The next morning, we headed out bright and early to find the Rivière Ouelle cemetery. Again, so peaceful and quaint. We found a few monuments that described a bit of the history of the area and took our time walking around.

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By mid-morning, we’d pretty much seen all of it and as this trip was only meant to be a first look for her (she wants to go back with her genealogy research in hand), we hit the road for Québec. The traffic was light so we arrived by 1pm, checked in to the hotel and hit the mall. I’ll spare you the details, but we basically shopped until we dropped.

Side note : my mom has Multiple Sclerosis. She’s had this diagnosis for about twelve years now and it hasn’t been easy. She’s been on a journey to find the right medications and therapies and has had a few other physical ailments get in the way which always complicated things. However, for the past few months, she’s been feeling a lot better. Trust me, I wouldn’t have brought her on a trip like this last year. Side-effects of a new medication basically made her sleep through all of last summer. However, I knew she could handle this now. She feels better at 70 than she has for the past ten years. Also, I wanted her to see that she could do this. She even surprised me as I booked a hotel in Québec City near the mall so that she could nap and I could still shop, but she didn’t even need a nap! And we SHOPPED! And ATE!

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Pasta and brownies à la mode. Can’t go wrong with that!

We spent two nights in Québec City, shopping and eating. We didn’t visit much outside, because it was about 40 degrees Celsius and that’s a little too warm for her. I would’ve loved to bring her to Vieux-Québec since she hasn’t been in over twenty (thirty?) years, but it was way too warm. She was ok with staying where there was AC and managed to keep pace with me through a two-story mall plus a two hour shopping spree at Simons. We even found the art store where she orders her paints online from purely by coincidence so she was thrilled about that.

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All in all, it was a lovely trip, but it went by too quickly as most trips do. I was also happy with the fact that I did all of the driving myself and that I only took one wrong turn! I guess my mom and I both needed to see that we are capable of more than we think. I guess we’ll have to do this more often 😉

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