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We kicked off our travels in Montreal with a trip to Swartz for lunch. We are known to rise from our bed whenever we feel like it, and sometimes that means a late start to the day. Hey, we are on an extended vacation, we might as well make good use of the freedom while we can.

We purposely skipped breakfast as we knew a Montreal Smoked Meat feast was coming. We just needed to park the car / trailer at the casino (free parking), and take public transit downtown.

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We took the exterior photo on our way out, notice the long line? Somehow we arrived at the precise time, and walked in and scooped up the last two seats at the bar.

This is what they are known for: meat and lots of it.

This is what they are known for: meat and lots of it.

What to order?  We settled on a share platter.

What to order? We settled on a share platter.

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Bread, Coleslaw, dill pickle and the smoked meat. Although it was not unbelievably good as we had hoped, I guess it is a must try once type of lunch.

We hoped back on the bus and went down to Old Montreal. It was an interesting afternoon walking around and admiring the old streets and buildings. The 32 degrees made it very pleasant to be out in the sun.

Many people had suggested we check out the Notre Dame Basilica in the heart of Old town. We have seen many churches, temples and shrines in our travels and were just about to skip this- we are glad we had a look.

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Construction began in 1824, so its pretty old.

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Spectacular

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Confession anyone?

Confession anyone?

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We then walked around old Montreal. Mostly shopping which really does not interest us. The boardwalk was pleasant.

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We spent the night in Shawinigan and had a look at La Mauricie National Park the next day.

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We were unsure what this park contained, but as a rule a National Park within one hour of our route, requires a stop.

We saw some nice views

We saw some nice views, this one from the highest point in the park

We met some not so friendly mosquitos in the forest.

We met some hungry mosquitos on the way up to Lac Gabet.

We stopped for a rest on the shores of Lac Gabet. The beauty of National Parks is it was just us and insects up here.

We stopped for a rest on the shores of Lac Gabet. The “being in the middle of nowhere all by yourself” is the beauty of Canada’s National Parks. 

For some reason he brings all his food to this exact spot to eat it.

For some reason he brings all his food to this exact spot to eat it.

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We left St. Mauricie and drove up to Lac Saint Jean, and spent the night. We admired the lake and drove down the north shore of the Saquenay River. Our next stop was Tadoussac- where the Saguenay meets the St. Lawrence. This area is (apparently) infested with whales, mostly belugas.

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We were scanning the waves on the voyage across the river, but we did not see any whales. Too bad

We boarded and were directed to park with the big trucks.

We boarded and were directed to park with the big trucks.

looking up the Saguenay River

looking up the Saguenay River

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Beautiful country, St. Lawrence in the distance.

Beautiful country, St. Lawrence in the distance.

And at the conclusion of that loop, we are just about back where we started. Quebec City up next.