Montreal – 23rd to 27th May
The bus arrived in time at the Central station in Montreal. It was a 40 minutes walk to the hostel “Auberge de jeunesse Alexandrie”. By the way the hostel is not one of the YHI-hostels. At the first glance it looked horrible inside, because you come into a hall with uncovered cement pillars. Maybe the building has inherited a garage before. Even the bedrooms looked second-hand. The room I have got a bed in, must have had a double bed before. The panels were still there. The room came with an own corridor with single and double rooms (the last one with bunk beds) as well. In my room were two bunk beds (sleeping four people) – I chose it by my own because the mattress of the single room was old and the room for two tiny. Later I saw, that there was a washroom in my room, but the assistant told me, that the room has not on suite bathroom and I have to go downstairs for the toilet as well as the shower. That was only the half truth, for the shower was actually in the basement, which looked like in one of activists occupied building. However the whole building was clean and the stuff friendly, service minded, helpful and knowledgeable. Anyway even here music was played most of the time and belonging to the assistant in service. The price was low even wi-fi, a simple breakfast and the washing machine / dryer were free to use. Only the washing powder one had to pay for.
When I asked at the service desk for a supermarket, the assistant told me, I will find one in the street with the pink balls. I remembered, that I crossed it. The balls helped me very much in my orientation. By the way in our street rainbow flags were hanged on the pillars for the lights. I felt a little like being in St. George in Hamburg.
In this street I also found the sign for the Canadian post, but I did not have the items with me, I wanted to send to Sweden. After being back from the supermarket and having a meal I was updating my blog somewhat and even on the Internet looking for cars. I hoped to find a cheap camper van or almost a caravan I can travel with throughout Canada, staying at free camping sites. I did not find one that evening.
The following day I bought an “Occasional Card” for three days for public transport. They actually are valid for 72 hours after activating them by the first ride. I was going to the four more backpacker hostels I found in this town. I asked, if they maybe have a notice on the billboard about someone trying to sell a camper van or caravan. The first newly opened the hostel. They did not have a billboard yet. The third one did not understand English good enough for answering my question and the fourth hostel none opened the door. Maybe one has to book ahead and get a code to come in. All hostels had locked doors and door bells. In addition to that the Alexandrie and the Globetrotter have code locks. The staff at the second hostel I was asking about the billboard were willing to help me, but had never heard about that possibility. They told me, it was easier to find at Holiday Parks and sent me to the turist information, because the Holiday Parks where not to reach without a car, but the tourist assistant maybe could call. I did not find the tourist information (Centre Infotouriste de Montreal) easily. I had to ask people more than once. Finally there I only got a book with the addresses and descriptions of the facilities.
Carrying that book I strolled through the city and became interested in an exhibition for Barbie dolls. The entrance was free, though I entered the mall and found the exhibition after a while. There were hundreds of Barbie dolls, som with faces of well-known people. Every doll had a different outfit. There was also a doll with a Swedish costume – one I have not seen before, but every parish has its own costume. I do not know all of them.
It was around 7pm when I was back in the area of the hostel. I tried to buy some food, but all shops were already closed, even the supermarket, which had been open until 9pm the night before. I looked for a sign about the opening hours and found it. The shop closed at 7pm Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Surprised I was going to the hostel. Even this evening I googled for cars and I did it until really late that night.
Unfortunately I slept over the free breakfast, though I had to fix my own. Afterwards I was going by bus to a Ford dealer. They offered two caravans for 1995 CAD each. I hade to pay for the trip, because the destination was not included in my 72-hours card. The amount for the trip (one direction) was 3.25 CAD. I had to take the bus from a big bus station and had to ask more than once to find the right place. Here people queued for the bus. I asked the bus driver, if the route is for my destination and he also told me, how long it will take to go there. After a long ride I could see the Ford-company and left at the next stop. At Ford a seller showed me one of the cars, but told me, that this as well as the other need repairs before they can be registered and driven. The other one had problems with the transmission. Such cars I was not looking for. I thought car dealers offer only cars you can drive straight away with. I had seen a Honda dealer on the way to Ford, not far away. I walked there, but have been told, that their cheapest car is for 6,000 CAD. The seller explained, that they do not deal with the really cheap cars. They sell them to garages / non-chain dealers, because brands have to think about their image. I took the bus back to the bus station and met the same driver again, who had driven in the other direction. He asked me, if I found what I was looking for. I did not have change, but in the buses here you need exact change or a special card. The driver told me, it was OK. I was allowed to go with him without paying. The buses here has a special cash, where they cannot take out any money. It may be good against robbery.
Later on I also found a Volvo dealer. They had a Swedish flag on their desk, though I asked the seller “Talar du svenska?” (Do you speak Swedish?) and he answered: “Yes” and was talking English with me 😅. Volvo did not have a used, cheap car either. The cheapest one was for 10,000 CAD.
Disappointed I was going back, bought some food in the supermarket close to the hostel. Well there I made a meal. After my dinner the owner / manager asked me, if I had found a car and told me than, that one of his customers has told him, that his friend offers two cheap cars. The owner gave me a business card. On the back were two cars (make, model, age) named. Though I googled them and saw, that they were sedans. After a while, Alfred (the customer) came to me and started talking about the cars. I told him, that I am looking for a camper van or caravan, because I will sleep in the car. He told me, how he uses to do, and where I could buy a cheap cooler (box). Though I agreed to look at the cars anyway, following him next morning to the garage.
This evening I also started to make folders on Google pictures for the different cities and areas I have visited in Australia, because I run out of space on my blog and could not add more photographs. I decided to put links to these folders on my blog instead. I looked for more cars on the Internet and booked a bed at the YHI-Quebec for four nights as well as a car sharing trip (Mitfahrgelegenheit / lift) to Quebec. – The Internet address for the car sharing I have got of the hostel. It is http://www.amigoexpress.com. The site is in French, when you choose English, you automatically get directed to http://www.kangaride.com.
The 26th I was awake early, because of my alarm clock. I had to be ready at 9am to follow with Alfred to the garage. Actually I was ready and surprised, when we came out of the hostel, for Alfred had a car, but he had told me before, that he is looking for one. He explained, that he is looking for a camper van. At the garage I asked the owner, if he speaks English. He told me, he does, but was all the time speaking French. Alfred explained to me in English. It was only one car at the garage – it was a sedan. The other one was from a customer to the garage and still in use. Alfred told me, that the other one would have scratches on one side. Anyway it was also a sedan and I explained, that I will not buy a sedan. Now Alfred told me about how he was doing or has done, e.g. sleep a couple of nights in the car and then a night at a hostel. He was very pushy. I became angry at him and told him, that it may be his way, but not mine. I was going to town by bus. By the way he did not talk with me again, even we met at the hostel.
When we were going by car, we passed the Parc Fontaine, which has its name from the fountain in the park. I saw the park from inside the bus and left the bus, but did not find the fountain again. I was a little disappointed, but not willing to walk lots of km to find it. I continued instead walking downtown on Rue Sherbrooke, reached the Quartier des Spectacles, took a rest on the square in front of a theatre or museum and found out, that Montreal has free wi-fi on public places. I became hungry and ate in a mall, at a food court. The company, similar to MacDonald’s, advertised a “Combo mama” for 5 CAD. I ordered one and was asked if I want it with cheese and what I want to have to drink. I asked for juice and could choose between apple and orange juice. When I had to pay, it was for 7 CAD and the difference was not only the taxes. I thought, she should have told me, that I have to pay more for my choices and asked, if I really would have it. I will never again buy a meal of them.
After the meal I was walking in the direction of the harbor, but took to the left at the Central station and came to the Square Victoria, which I liked, because the old Metro station. I also took a photo of the statue of Queen Victoria, because usually she is sitting down, but this statue showed here standing upright.
I was sitting in the sun for a while before I decided to go back to the hostel and continue with my blog. There is still lots to do before it is up-to-date again.
The 27th it was time to go further, even there was more to see in Montreal. My next destination was Quebec City. My ride was at 1:30pm, though I did not check out before 11am, was going to the post office nearby, or better, I tried: I found the sign, but had to ask for it anyway. It was in the darkest corner of a pharmacy. I was first at the wrong counter, because I first only have been told, that the post office is back in the shop. I paid around 10 CAD for sending a big letter to Sweden! That was even cheaper as every big letter from “down under”. The time left I was in the nearby park “Jardins Gamelin”, enjoyed the sun and was on twitter.
My driver was some minutes late. Her name was Camille and she looked really young so did the other two passengers: Cindy and Marc. Camille told us, that we were her first passengers. She had problems to park the car, though a kind gentleman did it for her 😉 and I was not sure at that moment, if I could trust her driving, but all went well. During the 3-hours ride she spoke some words in English with me, but most of the time she had conversations with the other two and in French.
For more photographs from Montreal follow the link.
Quebec City – 27th May to 2nd June
We arrived in Quebec City in the early afternoon. Even Camille knew, that it was my first time to Quebec City, she did not explain anything about how to go to the city center. She might not have known it either, because she has the car. She dropped us off at a gasoline station and, like it seemed, a usual pick up and drop off point. I used the washroom of the gasoline station, before I was going further. I saw a bus stop close to where I was and walked there. Entering the bus, I tried to pay with a 10 dollar-note and learned, that the bus drivers in Quebec City does not have change either. Though I had to leave the bus at the next stop. There were a mall, even it looked like a car park at the first glance, because the car park was in front of it. Asking people I found a drugstore, where I could buy tickets. I tried to buy senior tickets, but that was only possible if I bought a chip card for 15 CAD, though I bought a two ticket card, which was for 5.80 CAD with no extra charge for the card. By the way my “Here” map app told me exactly which route I should take and where to leave. It is really great, even if I have to change buses etc.
I found the YHI-hostel easily, but it is close to the top of a very steep street. I managed to walk all the way up with my luggage and checked in. I have got told the activities for the upcoming two days and the general as well. I asked for the supermarket as well as an ATM and have got the directions. Here in Canada the YHI-hostels have their own style, but you can always trust, that they are clean and cared about. This one is more like a hotel, than a hostel, even it is in an older building. The stories are high and one has to climb a lot of stairs. The receptionist offered me, nearly insisted, to bring my bag up by elevator. Only the staff is allowed to use it. When I came to the room with my bed, my backpack was already outside the door. I had booked a bed in a dorm with eight beds, but it did not feel like such a big dorm, because in the middle of the room was an extra wall, just leaving an opening like a door. I enjoyed it. In addition to that, all beds had numbers. By booking a bed you get not only your room number, but also the number for the bed. That made it easy for me to get a lower bed, what I had asked for, when I booked. My bed was booked for 218-4, that means room 218, bed no 4. All beds with even numbers are lower beds. I like that system! As I wrote before – for New Zealand and Australia – there are other kinds of travelers in YHI-hostels as in backpacker hostels. Unfortunately school classes and other big groups are also staying in YHI, that means a lot of noise. Where ever I have been so far, the young people do not really behave well. One and another does, but as a crowd they have always been noisy and thoughtless. I try to remember how we behaved, when we were in Munich or London with our school. I think we have not been so noisy, but I cannot guarantee. 😉
Above photos from the room I slept in at the YHI-hostel Quebec.
Back from the supermarket (I have not found an ATM) I had a meal. Afterwards I was on the Internet, looking for cars to buy and writing my blog. I could not put my photographs in folders, because the quality of the wi-fi was really bad.
The 28th I followed a free walking tour. The female volunteer was not as good as all as the male volunteer in Sydney. I think it does not belong to the genus, but the way the guide like these kind of tours. She was very uncertain in her role and about the old city of Quebec. She gave us some historic facts, but knew more about the restaurants (it seemed to me), where one can get a good Sangria, but had not realised, that maintenance was ongoing. She let us wait for a follower, who were buying a souvenir and became a hurry at the end of the tour, though I should not miss the next tour, I had signed up for, too. A young Canadian woman from Montreal told me, that I could make a sandwich and take with me, if I would not have time enough to eat. By the way, it was the one, who bought the souvenir. I told her, that I do know, what I can do. The guide told me later, when I was on my way to the kitchen of the YHI, that I could buy sandwiches close to the hostel, though I told her, that I have my own stuff in the kitchen. It was time enough for me to eat before the next activity started.
I was one of the first, gathering for the tour to the Montmorency Waterfall. Our guide was a volunteer from the hostel. She did not tell us, that she will be happy if we give her a tip. We was waiting for a while, though all the people, who signed up, could show up, anyway two or three did not come. Our first stop was at a little jour kiosk, selling bus tickets. I have not had a possibility to take som money out of an ATM, therefore I tried with my MasterCard, but the shop owner did not accept it for the low amount of 5.80 CAD. He told me something about an ATM, but I did not hear all of it. When nearly all had bought their bus tickets, I saw the ATM and withdrew money. I became the last one in the group, buying a bus ticket.
We went to the bus stop, waited for the 801 and was then going straight away with it to the last stop, which is called Charlesbourg. It was a very short walk to the fall, but we had to cross a bridge for the best view. On the other side, around one km further were stairs. By them, we came very close. The last department of the stairs where very wet by the fall, therefore I did not use it – I was afraid, that my camera will become wet and I will absolutely not break another camera (I did break two in New Zealand, because I was falling on the lenses, maybe you remember).
The waterfall itself was nice, but not amazing at all as the Niagara falls. I followed the tour, because I was told, that this waterfall should be a lot higher than the Niagara falls, but I did not have that feeling. Anyway it is 30 meters higher. Other visitors in our group had the same view as me about the waterfalls.
Back at the hostel I had my evening meal and was then on the Internet again, but even this evening the wi-fi was not working properly and I could not finish the albums with the photos from Australia. Writing my blog was still possible, though I started to update my blog about Canada.
The 29th I started with the Internet after breakfast. I was lucky and could finish the folders for Australia. Unfortunately all photographs are raw, I could not even turn them in the right position. When I sent the links to my children and a Swedish friend of mine, I told them, that they have to turn the computer instead 😉. In addition to the email I posted them on my blog dorotheeingreateroceania.wordpress.com. If I get time enough, I will put the links on the place on the blog, where they belong to.
In the afternoon I was looking at a used Ford caravan of a private seller. The owner is traveling in Australia. It was a cheap car, but it seemed still to be winter tires on it, the muffler (exhaust) was noisy, the mechanism for one of the mirrors were not good working, because the cables were not clothed anymore and the car was very dirty inside. I asked for the email address of the owner and asked him some questions about the car, but he did not answer me. When I told the people, who were acting of his behalf, they answered “good…”. Maybe he will not really sell the car. Anyway that answer was strange.
I also asked Google about registering a car and found, that both the buyer and seller have to go to the authority. I continued to search for used cars on kijjiji.
The following day I booked two more nights at the hostel, because I had got a message, that I could take a look at a car this day and the registration process would take time. When I finally got the message for the meeting it was already noon. I was welcome at 1pm. I had to be quick, especially because I did not know, how long time it would take to the garage, where the car was parked. I made it in time, actually I was 10 minutes early. Time enough to take a close look at the car. It seemed, that not only the doors were rusty, but also the frame. Furthermore the owner told me, that there are only 3 summer tires. With other words, I had to buy two new tires for the around six month of use. When the owner arrived, I told him, that I won’t buy that car and also have the possibility to pay a little more, though I could buy an other, better car. I got in touch with a dealer in Montreal about a car without chairs in the back. I told him, that I first can come 2nd of June. It was ok.
Back at the hostel I was on kijjiji again, looking for other cars. Unfortunately most sellers I have written till so far have not answered. Around 3:30pm I felt very hungry, but had not been at the supermarket again. Though I dit, what I usually do not do. I took a can Heinz Spaghetti in tomato sauce from the “free food shelf”. The items there everyone can take of without paying anything. Other travelers have left the items behind, because they cannot or will not take them home or to the next place. It is the best way of “recycling” for those items. I have never before bought such a can and now I know, I will never do either. I did not like the taste 😯. Furthermore I had problems to open the can. I tried all openers. At the end, I have got help with it.
When I had eaten, it was raining. Therefore I was on the Internet again, this time working with my blog. I missed some photographs, but did not have my camera with me in the lounge. I concentrated on the text instead.
The 31st I had to check out from the dorm with the 8 beds, because the whole room was already booked by a group. I could check in again for a bed in another room at 1pm. I washed my clothes, meanwhile I had to wait. As long as the washing machine respectively the dryer worked for me, I was on the Internet again – booking a car sharing ride back to Montreal and a bed for 2nd to 4th Juni in the YHI-hostel there. When it was done, I have got the message, that the car, I am going back to Montreal for, is sold. I answered “shit, I just booked the ride to Montreal” and the answer was “Fuck”. I do not really know, how that is meant, but whom cares. Though I was looking for the newest car ads and later working on my blog. I also called a dealer in Montreal, for him I confirmed my coming by email and it seems, he will wait for me. My washing was done at noon and I decided to see more from Quebec City. So I did. I took a long walk, found a recreation area, had a talk with a Canadian on the upper side of 397 stairs (after I have forced all of them), but got wet, when I had reached the Parliament building. Short time before I had been in a restaurant, eating a double cheeseburger – without sauce and salad. I got offered a glass of water, because I did not order anything to drink. The hamburger var for 5.60 CAD, taxes included.
Back at the hostel I checked in again, wet as I was! I have got a bed on the third floor and no service with my backpack. Fortunately I did not fill all things in the bag in the morning. The new washed clothes and a couple of other things I had not put in. It was easier to carry it up, but felt still heavy. I was wondering, where the weight was coming from. I think it is the backpack itself, which is quite heavy. In the new room are even a table and chairs, though I used my tablet right here. Two of my new roommates are from Japan, they told me, when they came in. We had a nice chat before I was going down to the kitchen in the basement.
The Japanese girls left the next morning, when I was going to eat breakfast. It was already the 1st of June and I have got the feeling, that I waste my time and do not see anything of Canada. I should check, if my medicine still works properly because I am a little tired and not so very happy at the moment. I also get headaches, which is quite unusual for me. I hope I will make it to Saskatchewan. When I make my homestays it may be easier to visit a doctor.
After breakfast I left the hostel in the hope, to find something interesting to look at. They have a folder in the hostel with a list, what to do in Quebec City, but that I had already done, but the pub crawls, which I am not interested in. In addition to that, it is an activity for the night-time. I decided to walk to the newer part of the town, outside the city walls, but just before leaving the old town, there is a museum in the Artillery Park. It is about the city walls. I had to pay an entrance fee. Even it was as low as 3.90 CAD, tax included, I asked for a senior ticket. There was, though I paid 3.40 CAD. The museum has two parts and both were interesting. The first was more theory, but had a 200-year-old model of the town. All was behind glass, though I did not take any photos there. The second was in the old magazine. Rooms were furnished as they might have looked like 200 years ago. From this part I have photographs.
The 2nd part of the museum is not big, though it did not take many hours to see all of it. Outside again around 1pm I felt hungry and decided to try to find something cheap to it. I stayed at a snack-bar, offering Poutine. It sounded strange to me and I looked the word up on Google translate and got this information “Putin” – Definition of poutine “Plat composé de frites et de fromage fondu en sauce”. Even I had translation from French into English, the explanation was in French. That is Google translate! I hope everyone understand it anyway. On Wikipedia you find a good article about Poutine. I went in the bar and read all the different ways I could get it. I stayed at the petite one, which costs just less than 10 CAD (without taxes, though actually it was for 11,44 – with the rounding 11,45 CAD). Before I ordered it, I had to find out, what the ingredients were, I knew them all but one, which I asked for to get shown, because Google could not translate it. It was a kind of sausages, used in thin slices and cut in stripes for the dish. In addition to that there was bacon and fried pieces of onion in it. I have got totally full of the meal and walked thereafter outwards along the street. Unexpectedly I saw some really nice older houses. I found also another supermarket and entered it, but did not buy anything, because they did not have, what I was looking for. I went back to the supermarket, where I have been before and bought a yogurt as well as drink chocolate. I regret later, that I bought the chocolate, because it was very sweet. By the way, both supermarkets had a strange, but similar odour, which made me uninterested to shop.
Back at the hostel I took an hours nap. Awake again I tried again to back up my photographs from the last days – there are still some from Montreal I could not add so far. It was not working, but to write my blog. I had a late, small evening meal and went to bed a little earlier as usual looking forward to see the car, I might buy, the upcoming day.
For more photographs from Quebec City follow the link.
Montreal – 2nd to 6th June
When I started this part of my travel, I did not know, what I had to expect about a car buy including registering and insuring it, but I learned it soon!
It started well, that means the travel between Quebec City and Montreal went smooth, even the driver was talking all the time with his passenger, a woman in her 50-ies, in the front. They spoke French. A guy in his 20-ties and me were sitting in the back. We had a short courtesy conversation. After that he was reading and I looked out of the windows as good as I could. Sometimes I was looking over the shoulder of my driver. He was driving 110 to 120, only 100km/h were allowed. I thought, if he has to pay a fine, it is not my problem. I came to think about it, because I had seen a radar control. I might not have seen it at all, if I had not been wondering, why a police car is in the dyke. The policeman with the well-known type of camera was standing behind a pillar of a bridge. I was happy, I saw him, because I will not drive more than the allowed speed – not even 10 km more, as we can do in Sweden. Actually I never have got a fine for speeding so far and I will not in Canada either, I think.
From the leaving point in Montreal I was directly going by the metro and bus to the dealer, who hold the car for me. I was a little early at his place, which he shares with a company for sound systems for cars. “Smokey” is a good-looking man in his 50-ies. My first impression was, he is such a slick one, like the most of the car dealers, but sometimes the first impression tells you wrong. He is caring! Do I need to tell you, that I bought the car? 😉
The car came with winter and summer tires and he agreed that the garage, he uses to work with, change to the summer tires without charging me. I promised him the winter tires instead, but he cannot sell them. If he is lucky he can give them as an extra to someone, who buys a car with the same dimensions of tires. He recommended me an oil change. Even I think a used car has to come with all this done, I learned, that it is not usual in all countries. The garage made it for 40 CAD and I knew that before it was done. During the change of the tires, the garage told “Smokey” that the “oil” for the brakes had to be changed and filled, because the ABS was not working. He ordered it and I had to pay for it, just 30 CAD, but anyway. The system seems to work here that way. I can be happy it is done and even about the low price. I hope my confidence is justified. With an appointment for the next day for registering the car at 1pm I was going back to the city and the YHI-hostel at Mackay Street.
I was very hungry and ate a special grilled sandwich with Chevre (goat) cheese. It was served with salad and absolutely enough. It also was delicious. I spent the evening in the lounge of the hostel, checking insurance and road signs. I found a site for a self test. The most of the signs I knew and the view I did not, I learned easily.
If I would set headlines for each day, I would call this Friday “An Odyssey”. It started with, that I called an insurance broker, who told me – after asking me a lot of questions – that they do not have an insurance for me, because I do not have a driver’s license from Quebec. Though I called the IBC (Insurance Bureau of Canada), if they could help me. They told me, that I have a right of an insurance, but only high price insurance would be possible for me. Furthermore they told me, that I have to go to an office of an insurance broker. I told “Smokey” by sms and he promised to find one for me.
It was time to take out cash from an ATM. There is one in the entrance for the hostel, but I could only take out a maximum of 400 CAD and would have to do that five times, that means five times a fee and by the way all in 20 $-notes. Though I walked to a HSBC branch for taking out the whole amount over the counter. When I finally had found the branch, because I had to go through a mall, but there were no signs in which direction I had to go. Outside I only had seen the logo – quite high up on the building. Under there was no door for public use – I had anyway to go to the ATM, because the cashier only could work with Canadian accounts. This ATM, also in-house, offered 500 CAD at the same time. The third time I tried, I did not get any money because the limit of the day / week / month? was reached. Therefore I had to take out money from my Swedish account, too. Each time, with other words twice, I had to pay a fee of 2 CAD. In addition to that, my Swedish bank takes a fee. This ATM gave me 50, 20 and 10 $-notes. I asked the cashier for 100 $-notes and got them in exchange. With all that money in my locked, little backpack I was going by Metro and bus to “Smokey”.
He was going with me to the SSAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec), where you can get a lot of information about driver’s license, take driver’s license, register a car etc (see link before). That was nothing special, because both – the seller and the buyer – have to go there and it is recommended to make it at the same time for the buyers economical safety. In Canada a vehicle can still have debts (credit) or there can be unpaid fines while selling – the fines are connected to the vehicle and not the driver. The buyer has to pay all this, when there are and he will have the vehicle registered. In our case the assistant would not register the vehicle for me, because my driver’s license is in German and my translation to English from New Zealand. She told me, it is just a copy, but I showed her the original stamp of the authorised translator. Anyway she did claim, that it has to be translated by an authorised translator from the province of Quebec. Though “Smokey” was going with me to another SSAQ branch and hoped, it would work there. It did not. She also required such a translation instead or a second ID. I tried with my German ID, but even it is in English and French, she did not accept it, because it was not worldwide official as my passport. I wonder, if Canadian people all have two ID’s and a driver’s license 😯. We went back to the office and tried to find a translator – everyone of us two our own way. The result was the same, even I was a little quicker. The price for the translation is a little more than 40 CAD, nearly the same price as I gave for the translation in NZ. Later, at the hostel, when I was writing my blog, I googled SSAQ (see above). On the homepage is written, that one as a tourist can drive a car with the driver’s license from the home country for six month. There is not written, that it has to be in English or translated into English, but they recommend to get an IDP before coming to Quebec. First after six month you need an IDP (international drivers license). There is not written, that you cannot register a car as a tourist, on the contrary I especially checked, what one need to register a car and it is a driver’s license OR an ID like a passport. I think, I will claim that! I am pissed off the way the SSAQ treat tourists. Anyway I ordered a translation and have to wait for it till after the weekend.
“Smokey” does neither like the way customers are treated here in Quebec nor that they still use the French language as main language, he told me. The British did conquer the area from the French long time ago and they won another related war, but the people are still speaking French. There is a language police in Quebec, he explained. If a business man or woman does not great with “bonjour” or the advertisement is also in French, the police gives fines! Quebec is the only province in Canada using French. He had to do a registration for another car, too, but did not get along with it either, because he needed one more document. He was, of course, unhappy about that.
Furthermore I do not have an insurance yet (see above about insurance), but “Smokey” did call a broker, which insures newcomers. He also told me, that it will be easier to get an insurance, when the vehicle is registered on me. I hope so, because in an accident without insurance, I would also get a fine. Even I hope, I will not have any accident, one never knows.
I paid the car in full, because I will not walk around with so much money. I have got receipts (the day before for the deposit and this day for the rest) and we have done the contract for the purchase of the car. Here I learned the practice about double-entry bookkeeping.
Back at the hostel I booked two more nights. I have a weekend to explore more of the city, but I think I have to skip my plans to see more of the province of Quebec, so I will not run late for my hosts in Saskatchewan. I will minimise my spending here in Montreal, too, even I had a grilled sandwich Italian style (cheese, pesto, tomato = delicious!) at the hostel’s bar. Unfortunately I could neither shot photographs nor make a video these two days. I hope, you understand.
On Saturday 4th it was very warm – around +25°C and a little humid. I was walking to the Old City and Old Port (harbor). I spent most of the day in that area, enjoying the art at the old houses and the old harbor. There is a floodgate at the old harbor and one can come and see at special times, how it works. The floodgate looks similar to the ones I have seen in Sweden and Germany, though I think, it works similar. Thinking about, that all the big merchant ships were going through that gate made me surprised. I also purchased a lolly of maple syrup. I had smiles for all the people looking at me with licking it. I felt great, letting out the child in me. 😉
I have seen two churches from the inside as well. The first was the “Notre Dame”. They took 5 CAD to be allowed to come in, the other one was the oldest church of Montreal, also known as the Seafarers Church. The last one was very welcoming and only taking donations, if one was only visiting the church, not the museums. Both churches were different to all I have seen before, even the “Notre Dame” was really ornate. I took a lot of photos and added them to the folder of Montreal (see link above).
Around 2 o’clock I had a meal at a bar called “Van Winkler” and all looked like it would be Dutch, but the people running it, were Asian. I ordered a sandwich with “beef Salami” – it was some kind of sliced sausage, but no kind of Salami I know. Anyway there were lots of sausage, some cheese, salad, sliced tomato as well as cucumber and mayonnaise on it. Unfortunately I ordered also hot chocolate, which was very sweet. All together was for CAD 8.45.
On my way back to the hostel I bought yogurt and cheese for my evening meal, because I still have cereals and bread. Walking along one of the main streets I was surprised and happy, that many of the skyscrapers have greens and/or flowers in front or around the buildings. There are also green oasis between skyscrapers. When I was back I was very tired and felt asleep after uploading my photographs to Google photo and copy them to the folder “Montreal”.
On Sunday, 5th June it started raining around 10am and did not stop before the night, but it shifted all the time between a slight rain and raining cats and dogs. Sometimes it also was windy. Neither my rain jacket, which I had bought in Devonport, did stand all that water nor did my little backpack. Anyway it was around +20° and I wear my skirt and blouse, because I washed my trousers – it had been really warm last week and had become sweat. I was also dressed in my sandals. My feet were black from them, when I was back at the hostel around 4pm. I had met Midge, a German Canadian, who opens her home for couch surfers. She is around 70 years old and happy, when people visit her. Before I had booked the bed at the hostel I had sent a request to her. Unfortunately she already had a couch surfer, but she told me, we could meet. She is also an official guide for Montreal. As I already had seen a lot of the city, we visited churches. She told me, that they all are different and special. Though we have been to the Christ Church Cathedral, to the Irish Patrick’s Cathedral and the Basilica and Cathedral Marie-Reine du Monde also called James the Minor Cathedral. We tried to come in to another one, but it was closed, therefore I do not remember the name.
For the rain, when it was as worst, we asked for shelter in an office building. There were a welcome desk and we asked there. We were sitting on a bench in the entrance and enjoyed life. From there we took some steps for coming to the underground pedestrian system (it has another name, but I have to ask Midge for it next time we meet). By this you can walk the inner city for around 14 km – lots of restaurants and shops can be reached by this and even hotels. We used only the area around Station de Gare (Main station) and came up in the lounge of a sophisticated hotel. We took a seat in the lounge, close to one of the exits. We just had to cross the street from there to the third church we were visiting. The rain was intensive again, but we won’t wait for longer, so we waited for the green traffic light and hurried cross the street and along the wall of the church to the entrance. We were lucky, because a volunteer had opened the chapel, were all the bishops as well the founder of the church (who also had been a bishop) are buried. He explained that place for us and I got the opportunity to ask about the statues on the roof, which I had taken photos of the day before. These are not Jesus and the apostles, but the founder of the church and other bishops as well as Francis of Assisi. It took two years for every statue to be built. See also Montreal’s Cathedral.
Before Midge and I said “good-bye” to each other, she told me, that I can come to her the night from Monday to Tuesday, if I cannot get the car registered on Monday. Furthermore we were talking about the Laurentian Mountains, which I had planned to go to, when I was in Quebec City, but I now think, I will not have time enough to see. She told me, that I can go there and continue to Ottawa without going back to Montreal. I could anyway take a look, even if I won’t stay for longer.
Totally soaked I arrived at the hostel and asked for an extra towel, which I have got without any question. When I had dried and also washed my feet, trying to get rid of the black colour from my sandals (it was not working) and dressed in dry clothes, I emptied my little backpack. I was happy, that my tablet still was dry, but all my papers (contract for the car…) and my money had become wet. I spread all over my bed – the money under the cover – and took car about my camera as well. Afterwards I ate my evening meal in the kitchen of the hostel, but went directly back to my bed, because I was charging the battery of my camera and it should not be overcharged. In addition to that it is always very noisy in the kitchen lounge. As usual I spent the rest of the evening on the Internet, first with my blog, of course.
On Monday morning I have got an email from Betty, the translator, that I could pick up the translation at her home. When I looked at it, I was very surprised. It was not like the one from New Zealand with the description of, what the classes are for, but just a translation of the little text of it: Driver’s License instead of Führerschein…, “Name” in English etc. For me it seemed like a joke. Furthermore there are explanations in numbers on my driver’s license. She did not write anything about them, just copied the numbers. When I asked her about it, she told me, she could not find anywhere, what they are for. Unfortunately I did not see the mistake with my year of birth, when I was at her home. She had only written 195 instead for 1950. Nevertheless neither the assistant at the SSAQ nor the insurance broker did point it out. Betty, born in Germany, was chatting with me and when I paid her with a $50-note she did not have the right change, though I was trying to give her the $40, she asked for instead, but she did give me $20 back and told me, that it is OK.
As soon as I had left her, I called “Smokey” and he asked me to be at 2pm at his place. I made it in time and he was going with me to the SSAQ again. This time it was another assistant. “Smokey” told her, that I am a newcomer and with my passport, my driver’s license and the new translation I have got the car registered until 30th November this year. By the way: Here in Canada cars only have a license plate at the rear. This plate I have got of the SSAQ.
The next stop was an insurance broker company. The broker, who took my case, was very unfriendly and not service minded at all. “Smokey” did tell her, too, that I am a newcomer. After some questions I have got the insurance. It is for a year, nothing else was possible, but I can cancel it, whenever I want and get the money back for the month after cancellation. By the way I was very surprised I could not use my debit/credit cards at both places. I did not have enough with cash with me, though “Smokey” did loan me the money.
Back at his place, we took the back seats and the bench out, though I got space enough to sleep in it the car. He also gave me some things, he had more than enough of, like a jump cable and an extra tire. Afterwards we were driving to a shopping centre with an ATM, though I could give him his money back. He was driving with his car in front of me, following him by my new purchase. I was really pleased about his trust in me – and with all his help, of course. I owed him $490 and tried to give him $500, because all the help I have got by him, but he denied. He gave me $10 in change. At the end he recommended me to wait until after 6pm to go further, that means the rush hours will be over.
I was to the shopping mall, getting something to eat and also bought some food for the upcoming day. I also called Midge, that I will go further that day and thanked her for her offer the day before. I tried to find a shop, selling camping gear, but did not find one, though I googled for “Canadian Tires”, a shop selling a lot more than tires. I found one, stating to be open until 11pm, but it was not the truth I saw, when I finally was there. When I arrived 9:30pm it was getting dark. They just let the last customers out, when I tried to enter. It was not easy to find them, even with the help of the GPS, though I decided to sleep in the car on their car park. Actually I regret, that I did not stay at Midge’s. Anyway it was quite comfortable to sleep on the driver’s seat, because I could adjust it very well.
For all photographs of Montreal follow the link.
Tuesday, 7th June, I entered the shop “Canadian Tires” as soon as they opened. I was making my way through with help of the assistants, because it was not easy to find what I was looking for. During my shopping round I was in need of a washroom and asked at the service desk, if I may put the trolley aside there. I was allowed and could take it again, when I was back in the shop. I was looking for a warm sleeping back, because I freeze easily – and I found one nearly half the original price and cheaper than the others. It was reduced two or three times. I thought, it might not be a good choice or maybe that model or the make will not be sold in this chain anymore. I hoped for my last explanation, but found only the one on the display. Therefore I asked a shop assistant to take down it from the display for me, because I could not reach, where it was hanged. She asked at the storage, if there were more, but there were not. Though she told me, I could not buy it. I explained to her, that it is a reduced last one, though it should be for sale. Only after she were asking someone else of the shop, I was allowed to buy it. The second item I was looking for, was a self inflating mattress. There were two choices, one becoming 3 cm thick and one becoming 5 cm thick. Unfortunately I chose the thinner one, because it was half the price of the other. I also bought a camping cooler, working by the cigarette lighter. It is a very little one, because bigger once were to expensive, for the short time I need it. This little one actually is big enough for me, after I learned how to fill it. Furthermore I bought very cheap camping dishes, but only a plate and a bowl. I tried to find a bigger bowl for making my dishes and a bucket for spill water, but did not see that things at this shop. In addition to that I was looking for a kind of curtains for the car, even the most of the windows is hard to look inside, because the tinted windows, but the windscreen and the windows for the driver. I did not find anything, which would fit. With my purchase I have got an advertising for a “car assistance” with a gold program for half price, which means 50 CAD (+taxes). The cheapest one I have seen before and nearly had bought, was around 80 CAD (+taxes) and that was not a gold program! Though I was happy so far.
With my new camping gear I was driving to the countryside of the province of Quebec. My destination was the Laurentian Mountain Range. By lack of time, because I had planned a homestay in Lake Lenore, Saskatchewan, from 17th June, I only drove to Saint Saveur – Morin-Heights – Saint Adolphe D’Howard – Saint-Agathe-des-Monts and Val-David. I spent most time in Saint Saveur and took some pictures, but did not like the camping ground. It looks very French.
For more photographs of Saint Saveur follow the link.
I did not see much of Morin-Heights, but the outskirts. I also stopped in Saint Adolphe D’Howard because of the unusual colour of the church. When taking photos of the church I became interested in the lake and some sculptures.
For more photographs of Saint Adolphe D’Howard follow the link.
I decided to camp in Val-David and hoped, the camp ground will be better there. I had to call the owner, because the reception was closed and had to wait for a long time, before they arrived. Meanwhile I fixed my self inflatable mattress and my sleeping bag. I have got a place for 20 CAD without water and power as real camper vans would have had, for the shower I had to pay 25 Cent extra. The washroom was simple and looked very old, there were no kitchen. The water of the sink was not drinkable and there were only two tables with benches under a roof (no walls), where you could eat, when it is raining. I already had planned to use free camping and that price made my decision even stronger. I would not have stayed there, if I have not needed a shower.
The next morning I drove to Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada. Please read more at Ontario.