But getting there was problematic. So many detours! Unknown to me was a three-year plan to re-route almost the entire city which began last year.
I arrived finally at the hostel (which was the city's jail built in 1862) and parallel parked at a street meter requiring a quarter for six minutes. I didn't have a collection of Canadian quarters, so while illegally parked on the street I quickly looked for their parking lot. It was behind a stone archway built in 1862!! I'd need someone to hold the other end of my measuring tape to measure the width and height of this archway before I attempted pulling into this lot. The folks inside the hostel were, let's say, inhospitable. Even though I'm a card-carrying hostel member, I couldn't use their bathroom because I wasn't registered and they couldn't understand why I needed help to measure their stone archway.
Deciding the stone archway would be too tight for me even if I did fit under the archway (plus tight maneuvering around the other little cars once inside the lot), I opted for the hospital parking lot. But once at the hospital arriving via detours of course, there was a waiting line of cars for all their lots with signs flashing "Full"! So, Plan C was Walmart's parking lot. I thankfully parked at Walmart, unloaded my bike and easily found the bike path to several points. But the bike path along the canal was closed on January 1, 2016! High link-fences everywhere.
Detours for the bike path were as bumpy as the roadway detours for vehicles. I was not having fun.
So I went back to Walmart's parking lot, loaded my bike and ate ice cream for supper. I have been spoiled by the cool weather and need for a blanket at night while traveling around the Gaspe Peninsula. In Ottawa, I had a rude awakening to inland heat; 94 degrees on a baked asphalt parking lot at 8 PM.
I am now enroute to Lake Huron, hoping for a cold lake breeze.
But, not all was in turmoil. The night before I arrived in Ottawa I was driving alongside the Saint Lawrence River on the wonderfully scenic Route 132. About 150 miles west, up the river from Quebec City is a little village along an island named Contrecoeur. I parked at a boat launch parking lot to consider spending the night there.
Incredibly, the village's city hall and library (included free Wifi at the parking lot) were located behind me at the parking lot. And at six o'clock, that church and another church rang their bells, wonderfully not in sync. It brought back pleasant memories of reasons I love the little villages of France.
And to the right of me, a pavilion with large trees and chairs.
Now that I've given you the backdrop, here's my story. Have you seen "Rear Window" the 1954 mystery thriller film with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly? In the beginning of the film, Jimmy is confined to a wheelchair recuperating from a broken leg, and from his large rear window he watches his neighbors with his binoculars to amuse himself. He watches a courtyard with many apartments, so there are lots of folks mingling and moving around. I spent two hours watching the townfolks at this parking lot from my front window seat in La Lair and it was a great movie! There was no crime, just a lot of folks having a good time.
Six standing board paddlers arrived, two were lovers (he couldn't keep his hands off her, one heck of a passionate kiss, too), one kayaker arrived and talked with one of the standing paddlers. They showed each other photos on their Iphones and flirted, too. Many boaters showed up to back-up and load/unload their little boats on the two ramps. A German Shepherd dog walker showed up and met four adults on the park bench. A bicyclist with dog on leash let his dog swim and cool off. Four teen boys hung around the porta-potties for a long while; probably doing what teens do out of their parents' sight. An inline skater showed up. There was a Raymond Burr-looking boater who returned to the dock without his lady companion, hmm, wonder what he did with her? Just kidding :) Every ten seconds, there was someone new to observe. I know it's crazy, but I loved this real life movie playing on my front window. Contrecoeur gets my vote for best little village in Quebec Province :)