In most of our past travels, we tried to avoid cities as much as we could, but this time we were willing and able to go and visit them. It isn’t so hard now, to just drive in the city and find a parking space to leave Peanut while we go wander around. Usually, after our visit, we would hop back in the van and drive to the ‘biggest camping in Canada’…Walmart! They usually stay open until 22:00 and open at 08:00 o’clock!
Sometimes we see a lot of other campers standing in the parking lot, but other times, we are the only ones. We have become masters in ignoring all the ‘no camping’ signs and I have become the master of my bladder most of the time, saying : “no you can’t go and pee because Walmart isn’t open yet and they are our bathroom!!” Besides being our bathroom, they are also our shop off course (I think mister Walmart intended it that way) and if we are missing something for breakfast, we put on our flip-flops, walk across the parking lot and go and buy it. We try not to be in our pyjama’s anymore though…
Besides all these wonderful facilities at our ‘camping’ they even provide us with free WIFI that almost always goes all the way until the edge of their ginormous parking lot. How spoiled can two people become like this…
The province of Québec had two cities to offer that we definitely wanted to visit : Québec and Montréal and on the edge of the province, in the province of Ontario, we wanted to see the capital of Canada : Ottawa.
In between all this city-hopping, we managed to couch surf with a very nice lady named Pascale. She opened up her home to us and spoiled us with good information, a home cooked meal and the use of her washing machine and dryer. We had a super lovely time there. She looked after the local colibris of the neighbourhood, by feeding them sugar water and she even had an ‘unwanted’ guest in her bird feeding bowl, the local squirrel. Above all this she even had some really nice cats.
Québec was the first city on our list and we arrived there late in the afternoon, but we decided to visit it anyway. The fist thing we noticed is that they have super biking facilities, all along the waterfront and that they have a lot of parking space on the outside of the city. There was one downside however and that was that they had signs everywhere saying that you couldn’t park between midnight and 7 in the morning. We tend to ignore the no camping signs, pretending we don’t speak English or French, but ignoring a no parking sign is even for us a job we can not pull off! In the end we drove back to our trusted Walmart after our visit. Québec is a lively city and they even made a place where street performers could work. They put up some bleachers and put up a sign saying which performer would come at what time. We saw three guys giving away the performance of a lifetime and just sat back and enjoyed the show. The performers are not paid through the city, but they are given the chance to perform legally without having to fear about being chased off in the middle of their act. This brings a nice vibe to it’s city and it is very low on cost.
Montréal was too big for our taste. We like cosy and warm cities and Montréal just wasn’t that for us. Although we had a pleasant time looking at the beautiful buildings and visiting the money museum and the city hall, we just didn’t have a click with the city itself. This was one city where we left the van on the outskirts and took the metro into the city, because we heard that the public transportation system was ok here. The rest of Canada just doesn’t have any or almost any public transportation system for when you want to go to the small villages.
Our visit to Ottawa was the highlight of all the cities we have seen so far. The ambiance was right, the small town feeling of the city was super and off course the weather was also on our side. In the evening they had a sound and light show that was happening on the façade of the Parliament Hill building and it was just fascinating. It kept everyone staring in awe at the façade and from time to time you could hear children screaming in delight at the beautiful pictures they were projecting. The show itself was totally free.
In the meanwhile we were all citied-out and we want to have some nature again, so off we went towards the Niagara falls. Because we knew that it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Canada, we decided to go and see it at night. The falls itself were lighted and there was a nice atmosphere. Everything around the falls looked like Disneyland, but at night it was just pretty with all the lights and smell of the restaurants. We even got to spend the night on a parking lot in Niagara, just around the corner of the falls without paying a huge amount of money.
Next episode: An island, Indians and a lot of dancing!