I celebrate my crossing into Quebec with a poutine at the first rest stop – perfect fuel for the mountainous hills ahead. On one particularly difficult uphill a car stops on the shoulder ahead of me. Annoyed, I move over to the gravel to pedal around but then the driver gets out – it’s Steph, a friend I made in Saint John’s! What a small country. I sit in her stopped car to catch up and enjoy a brief reprieve from the rain before continuing on.
I soon get my first glimpse of the Saint Lawrence River, which I follow for days. Through Rivière-du-Loup, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli and Montmagny the water is a constant and beautiful companion. The weather is cool and at a campground, Gisèle and Lloyd kindly insist that I stay in their camper. Their dog Mia keeps me company on the sofa bed and in the morning they send me away with homemade maple sugar.
In Quebec City I stay in a hostel and meet people from all over the world here to explore this beautiful province. I also run into Victoria, a friend I made in Charlottetown. Small country again.
After Quebec City it’s onward up the river to Montreal. Amahl comes from Toronto to visit me here and we get to see my friend Xander perform in the circus festival. I relax and enjoy the city for a couple days. Faez the didgeridoo player, who has cycled out to Halifax since we parted ways, catches up to me and together we head toward Ottawa.