Girlfriend Getaway in Quebec

A mere couple weeks after I returned from my trip to Europe, I had already started to get the travel bug. When friend Glenna suggested that she and I do a “road trip” to Gattineau to see our friend Mouna, I naturally jumped at the chance.

For those that don’t know, Gatineau is a city in western Quebec, Canada. It is the fourth-largest city in the province after Montreal, Quebec City, and Laval. It is located on the northern bank of the Ottawa River, immediately across from Ottawa, together with which it forms Canada’s National Capital Region. Now you know- thanks Wikileaks.

The drive itself was pleasant but at least an hour longer than we anticipated as we chose the “scenic route”. Still, with a good friend along for the ride, it certainly wasn’t boring and we had a great time doing our best Thelma and Louise imitation. Plus, our ETA was not until 3:00 as Mouna was working that day. We arrived 30 minutes later which I thought was good considering.

For the next couple hours we decided to wander the Byward Market, shopping, and generally checking out the scene. I could have easily spent several more hours there as we barely scratched the surface of all there was to see and do. We met a lovely woman in one of the shops who recommended several clubs we could visit the next evening, but for our first night together, we decided to pick up take-out and chill with a good bottle of wine.

My not so trusty Garmin GPS, failed us miserably and we ended up in a remote town a good 40 minutes from where we needed to be. (Apparently getting lost is my MO). A panic call to our host was unsatisfactory as the woman who answered the phone number that was given us on the reservation form, had no idea who were were and worse, did not have our reservation on file. She called her boss who owned 30 B&B’s in the area, and she soon learned that although not one of his properties, he was taking on one of a friend’s. This time we used our google maps on the phone, and after picking up our food, arrived at our destination, tired, cold but still in good spirits.

Unfortunately the key-less lock system was not working and we could not get in. After numerous tries we called our host again for help. Long and short, somehow when Glenna retried the code, the door opened, this time it opened to a beautiful, as advertised Airbnb, perfect for 3 gals on a getaway.

The next morning Mouna suggested a trip to a little town about 40 minutes from Gattineau where we were staying called Wakefield. Our google once again played tricks on us and turned us around a couple times, but now we were on to it. And it was good for a laugh anyway. Hilariously we decided that we would use the Garmin as well as both our phones and pick the directions most likely to be right.

Eventually we arrived in the beautiful town of Wakefield and stopped at a lovely little cafe for a snack and tea. Glenna, being the friendly person she is, struck up a conversation with a very distinguished gentleman by the name of Al Skaw, who as it turned out was a published author and artist.

Photo book by Al Skaw

The town of Wakefield was utterly charming and we spent over 5 hours, exploring, shopping and taking beautiful photos. We met some wonderful locals who told us that we picked the best time to come as the summer was crazy with tourists, especially July and August. Soon, however, the area would fill up again around Christmas time. In such a setting we could only imagine how beautiful it would be in the winter. We were so enchanted with the area we half decided that we should buy a bed and breakfast together and live here forever! Aren’t dreams wonderful?

The town of Wakefield was utterly charming and we spent over 5 hours, exploring, shopping and taking beautiful photos. We met some wonderful locals who told us that we picked the best time to come as the summer was crazy with tourists, especially July and August. Soon, however, the area would fill up again around Christmas time. In such a setting we could only imagine how beautiful it would be in the winter. We were so enchanted with the area we half decided that we should buy a bed and breakfast together and live here forever! Aren’t dreams wonderful?

After our tour we headed back to the Airbnb to rest. The original plan was to head back to Byward Market but I unfortunately was completely wiped, so a nap for the 3 of us won over instead. But later, after eating the leftovers from the night before, we decided to check out a couple of the places recommended to us, near the market. This time we found our way easily and parked right across the street from our first stop, The Rainbow Bistro.

The owner informed us of the $30 cover charge, and explained because the band was from Detroit, a famous blues band known as Shawn Holt. Not entirely true as the Teardrop band members were actually a pick up band from Canada- probably because Shawn’s own band could not get across the border for one reason or another. But we paid our money and luckily, the band was incredible.

Again, Glenna’s friendly nature attracted yet another male admirer and soon we found “Malcolm” hovering over us for the rest of the evening. Harmless, but we weren’t sure exactly how all there he was so we ditched the club, and him and made our way to the next recommendations. By now it was bone -chilling cold and we laughed at the scantily clad young women standing on the sidewalk, waiting in front of the various clubs. They all looked so young, we pretty much figured it was not our scene and decided to head home a respectable 1:30 am.

The next morning after a fairly good sleep on so-so beds, we stopped at a lovely Parisian style bakery for breakfast called Premiere Maison. I felt like I had stepped back in time to Europe, again and had a hard time choosing from the array of sandwiches, deserts and breads, but I finally decided on an excellent quiche.

After saying somewhat tearful goodbyes, we headed through pouring rain back to Barrie. This time we took the major routes (it still took nearly 6 hours in Sunday traffic), but a stop at the Apple Hut near Cobourg, Ontario, broke up the monotony.

Definitely we had decided that it would be good to go back and explore other areas a little more. June perhaps?

Published by Elisabeth Ashe

Just someone who loves to travel and learn about different cultures, people and of course, - try the food! A semi-professional phot-journalist one of my greatest things is capturing the essense of people and cultures through my photographs and writings..

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