Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday, June 28th, Quebec

Greetings!

Two days into this, everything is going very well.  We spent Saturday visiting Quebec's Old Town, with most of the time spent walking, touring, and learning about the Lower Town section where my ancestors put in their indentured contract service ensuring the survival of the early colonists.  While I was happy to learn a few years ago about how enthusiastic were the French residents of Montagne au Perche (they put up stain-glass windows, and plaques in the Church picturing the accomplishments, and funded a history museum dedicated to the group), I wondered if anyone over here even knew about "Company of 100".  And more importantly, would anyone be able to provide me with more information on the 400 years of family history in this area?

Canadians are very proud of their early settlers, and the role that French beaver trappers, carpenters, and farmers played in establishing their New World.  The research we've done, both before we arrived, and while we've been here, has allowed us to connect with locals who have improved our knowledge of my Cloutier and Gagne family history considerably.  In particular, two resources should be recognized for their invaluable help so far.

The first is the Musee de la Place Royal in the main square in Lower Town.  They provided an excellent tour which gave us a sense of what life was like in the area in the 1600 and 1700's.  Special recognition to Jean Louis Nouvell, who looks pretty good for his 300+ years, and related to us his insights into marriage, merchanting, civil defense, and public hygiene.




The second is the Maison de Nos Aieux in Sainte Famille on the Ille d'Oleans.  Laurent Bernier and Marie-Pier Grenier provided me with an enormous boost to my understanding of Gagne, Gagnon, and Cloutier family history on the Island and surrounding areas.

Before we return to finish the work of discovering more about my ancestors, we'll be heading up to the Gaspe Peninsula for a few days.  It is so beautiful out on the edge of the Canadian eastern coast, that we have to go back after many years to check it out again. When the main museum in Chateau Richer (on the northern Saint Lawrence Seaway coast east of Quebec) opens for the season on Wednesday, we'll be back to visit and query staff.  It's the main residence of my family for 300 years, and contains most of our historical documentation.

And for our recommendations on where to dine in the area, we are especially recommending Chacon Dingue (the name means "Silly Pig"), for a nutritional, yet fast food experience on a restaurant-row street (McGuire Street) in Quebec.  I had a small seafood pot pie, with a salad containing sliced tomatoes, watermelon, feta cheese, and dark grapes.  Pat had a large poached salmon salad with vegetables.  The atmosphere was cheerful and the service was prompt.  Best of all the parking was free, and right out front.

For more photos taken yesterday and today, click on Saturday, June 27th, Quebec and Sunday, June 28th, Ill d'Orleans.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, June 26th, Quebec

Greetings!

After breakfast at the hotel, we took the shuttle back to the Airport, where our car rental company picked us up and took us to their office to get our car.  On the road after photographing all the scratches, we headed north to the scenic drive along the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Stopping at a small diner in Maskinonge, Pat left her purse under the table.  It was about an hour and a half later when we discovered it missing, and our race back to the diner was very white-knuckled.  Passports, her wallet, and plenty of less crucial but important stuff inside, we were hugely relieved retrieving it.  Forgoing the rest of the coast, we made a beeline for our hotel in Quebec.

Tomorrow, we head into the Old Town area of Quebec.  It is full of my family history, and I made a photo of the Google Map containing our stops.  The hotel shuttle will drop us off at the Hotel Frontenac, and we'll try walking the places noted.  The Metro can get us back to the Hotel later in the afternoon, and I'm really looking forward to this part of the trip.

We'll be here in Quebec until Monday, and have planned day trips up the north-eastern side of the St. Lawrence, and out to the Gaspe Peninsula.  Should be lots of photos in the next post.

Gregory

 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday, July 25th, San Francisco Airport

Greetings!

We're off to Quebec via Montreal, exploring my ancestry again.  In 1634, Zacharie Cloutier and Xainte Dupont joined 98 others sent by the French government to found the New World.  As you learned in earlier posts, my ancestors sailed 12 years earlier on the Mayflower to found their own version of the new world, escaping religious persecution.  This set of relatives had agreed to a contract which provided land for their building trade skills and willingness to risk everything in a journey full of promises and no guarantees.

We're in the SFO Airport, awaiting an 11:40am flight to Montreal, where we'll stay the night, and pick up a rental car tomorrow morning.  I have the locations of towns between there and Quebec, and then east and south of Quebec where they ended up for the last four hundred years.  I am so appreciative of Pat's willingness to endure my historical curiosity, and her great companionship and support in these many adventures.

Hope you all enjoy the trip too.  I'll do my best to make it entertaining as well as educational.

Gregory

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday, December 21st, Home from the Southern Oceans

Greetings!

Somewhere over Brazil, about halfway through our 11.600 mile trip home on Friday, I agreed with Pat.  Earlier, she considered this trip one of the best we'd ever taken.  It's so hard to compare adventures.  It is certainly was the best cruise.  It may even be the best wildlife search.  It took us to a completely different world, almost incomparable.

Because it proved impossible to communicate the experience during the trip, I chose to wait until we returned to try to explain it.  Now, with plenty of photos, and some notes, I'm pursuing a couple of avenues.  I've rejected constructing my traditional day-by-day postings.  Too hard to re-capture that daily environmental excitement needed.  I can't imagine all of you would have the same amount of time to absorb the great volume of views and comments in a recap, as you'd have had if we paced it out.

So it will have to be shorter, with less text.  I finished a single photo album which I posted on my Google Photo site (The Southern Oceans).  I'm in the process of uploading them with some text to my YouTube Channel.  Check back in a few hours when I edit this post and place the link here.

Next week, I may try to find the time to create a photo album featuring the hundred Best of the Southern Oceans.

Other than colds which result from anytime you put 227 world travelers together in a small place for three weeks, we brought back only wonderful memories and new friends.  May you add a trip of this design to your bucket list, and it will please us if you enjoy this one.

Gregory and Pat

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunday, Nov 30th, Buenos Aires

Greetings!

Listening to a bad rock band in the Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires, we're waiting for the last flight leg of our trip to Antarctica.  We've three hours to kill, and that's too little time to make it to a hotel and back in the middle of the night.  So we're paying outrageous prices in dollars for hot chocolate and an almost cafe mocha in order to sit in nice comfy chairs across from the LAN check-in desk.  

It all started when we arrived at San Francisco Airport to find the flight crew would be late on their flight in, and we would be missing our connecting flight in Houston to Buenos Aires.  All other connections would be missed, and the MS Fram would sail without us.  We decided (against all United advice) to take the delayed flight, and get as creative as we could in Houston with other airlines.

The options included several U.S. and South American airlines, flying through New York, Toronto, and Miami (we took Miami).  We turned down flying through Mexico City, Santiago, Bogota,  and Rio.  But we finally made it a couple of hours ago, and we have to thank the United Customer Service Rep Jean Etienne in Houston for saving us lots of money and getting our luggage safely over to American in time to meet us in BA.

Gregory and Pat

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Friday, November 28th, Adventure Way Down Under Begins

Greetings!

We're making lists, gathering and washing clothes, and finishing travel books.   We have one large National Geographic book on Antarctica which we will take (boy is it heavy) and donate to the boat. With all the warm weather clothes, we may be a bit over the weight limits.

Here's a link that will show you our itinerary, the ship, and our cabin.  Click on the "On Board" tab.  One the next screen, click on the "Menu" in the lower left of the 360 degree photo, then click on the "Suite F2" option.  Our cabin is F2 number 515, on the fifth deck.  It'll be our home away from home for the voyage.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to upload photos and daily commentary until we return.  If possible, I'll post some info on the way to the ship, or on the way back.

Gregory

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8th, Preparing for Antartica

Greetings!

Ever since we got back from Southern Africa, our joys of that trip have been competing with our anticipation of gong to Antartica next month.  Dave Forde, an incredibly talented and enthusiastic traveler who we enjoyed while in Africa, shared his photos and stories of Norway's Hurtigruten MV Fram expeditions.  Learning they were going for 21 days in December, we booked passage.

Here's a link to the expedition which left a short time ago:  Antartica.

Gregory