Bonjour! Je vous écris de Granby, Québec.
We are about a week from leaving the Montreal area. Granby (about an hour south east of Montreal) is an odd mix of quaint turn-of-the-twentieth-century architecture and late 60’s/early 70’s drab and utilitarian buildings. Fun fact: The youngest member of the Canadian Parliament — age 20 when sworn in — is from Granby.
Our studio apartment overlooks the main thoroughfare in town. We are across from a beautiful gothic church – Église Sainte-Famille. I’m steps away from my morning latte and also walking distance to a lovely little grocery store and delicious bakery. We’ve had the car out only a handful of times. It’s nice to be able to walk to all our activities.
Speaking of activities; we are still going to yoga. Yoga in Québec is definitely a new experience for us. We found a studio about .5 kilometer away. All the classes are in French! We’ve learned to recognize the different spoken instructions and we’re lucky to know most of the poses already. So a glance here and there keeps us on the right track. The instructors have been delightful and think it’s funny that we don’t speak French but continue to try to keep up.
We are experiencing the annual Festival of Mascots (La fête des mascottes) this week. It is a 5 day festival, mostly geared toward kids. There are about 60 costumed characters wandering around making everyone smile. There will be a finale parade and we are told there will be about 20,000 people lining the street outside our window! We’ve walked the promenade each day and I have to say, I haven’t seen one child meltdown and every kid runs to the characters for hugs. It’s very sweet. Our windows look down on the main stage of events. There are many dance troupes, singers and jugglers entertaining throughout the day. Kirsten, all the dance numbers make me think of Bree.
One of the treats of Granby is the public planters all along the main streets. Instead of flowers, they contain a variety of vegetables and herbs. Swiss chard, parsley, tomatoes, peppers, etc. We’re not sure who/what they are intended for. No one has raided them… yet. The weekly Farmers’ Market is also a treat. Beautiful produce, cheeses, wines, eggs, and many types of meats. And the prices are ridiculously low. Hard to believe vendors earn anything off their hard work.
We took a day trip into Montreal. It’s a very pretty city. Most of the day was spent walking around the old parts of the city. Many Victorian neighborhoods with bright color-schemes. It was also wonderful to see how many public spaces have been set aside for the residents to take full advantage of them. And they do!
Everyone is more than willing to speak English and many people like the idea of practicing their English with us. We’ve been happy to oblige.
We are ready to wrap up this traveling adventure. Packing and unpacking each month is getting tedious. That said, we are looking forward to getting back to the Vermont / New Hampshire area in a week.
Originally we were planning on trekking across the southern Canadian border and spending 3 weeks in Victoria. After 2 weeks in Vermont, in June, we changed those plans and will be heading back to Montpelier for the month of August. Our earlier 2-week farm stay wasn’t long enough to really learn about the area. We’ll be staying with our farm hosts – the Petersons – in Roxbury for 4 nights. Then we have an apartment in the heart of Montpelier. It’s a cute capitol “city” (the size of Sisters, OR maybe?).
We’ll be heading back across the top of U.S. to be back in the PNW by mid September. Then we’ll be looking for a place to rent and start planning for what we want longer term.
I think I have one or two more of these installments in me. Till next time.
Cindy and Eric
I’ve added new photos to our galleries: https://hayes-samco.smugmug.com