dimanche 23 août 2009

A trip in history.

The wife and I took a short trip last week. We drove down the St-Lawrence valley, to begin with. We stopped overnight in St-Jean-Port-Joli. The town is home to the Bourgault sculptors dynasty. The Three Bérets, as the 3 founding brothers were known, have been succeeded by their sons and daughters and the place is brimming with sculptors and sculptures, wood of course. A sculpture biennial is held there in a park named after the Three Bérets.
They also happen to have a beautiful 1779 church. It has been adorned, of course, since the 1930s with several Bourgaults and disciples sculptures. If you wonder about the way it is built, there is a reason to it. The building is parrallel with the river and rounded at the back to shelter the front from northearsterly winds blowing in from the river, the rounded back spreads the snow around acting as a plow. The river here is some 20 miles wide, it has sizable tides and the water is salted.
The town also boasts a reconstuction af Philippe Aubert de Gaspé's manor house. It is a museum celebrating the town's people and history. It is called le Musée de la mémoire vivante because people have contributed artifacts and live taped and videotaped testimonys of life in the region.

From there we drove to Rivière-du-Loup where we took the 60 minutes ferry crossing to St-Siméon. There the river has gone to 25 miles across.

Out there you see a small whale sightseeing boat. We saw several from our room's balcony in St-Siméon...and for free.
The sun rises over the sand bar halfway to Rivière-du-Loup. Clouds held us company much of the time. From St-Siméon, we drove to Tadoussac, one of the very first fur trading post in the colony. There is still a chapel there dating from 1687.
Tadoussac is at the confluence of the Saguenay Fjord and the St-Laurent river. Highway 138 is cut by the Saguenay and the province operates a free ferry crossing:

We then went to Lac St-Jean whence the Saguenay river takes it's source, the lake is almost a perfect circle 31 miles in diameter and is famous for the ouananniche fish and its swimming crossing competition.
You have here a view of the shore from our motel unit. we then headed home via the St-Maurice valley down to Trois-Rivière home of the first metal industry in New France. The federal governement maintains a park there: le Parc national des Forges du St-Maurice.
This is a view of what is left of the furnace. The mill was shut down in 1853 and it operated almost 200 years.
We then headed home...and the sun showed up.