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You can tell that it's Day Six of the 2012 visit to Canada simply by looking at the page number - the first four figures represent the year and the fifth character represents the country. When I'm on the road, the sixth and seventh characters represent the day and the eighth represents the page for that day (with suitable blanks in between to use if it becomes necessary in the future to split the page)

canada avril april 2012 copyright free photo royalty free photo

So this is where I'm stopping the night, the Beauport Motel, situated as you might expect in The Street of 200 Motels, otherwise known as the main road out of Québec towards the north shore of the St Lawrence.

And it was here that I had the most extraordinary stroke of good fortune. If you were with me yesterday you'll recall that I was driving around the old city for the best part of an hour and a half looking for a parking place without very much success. I mentioned it to Phil, the owner of the motel, and that I had every intention of seeing the city one way or another, and his response was
"why not leave your car here and take the bus to town tomorrow?"

It seems that there's a bus - the service 53 - that passes in front of the motel and there's a bus stop just across the street. It's a really irregular service (like once every 90 minutes on a Sunday morning, would you believe?) and goes to a terminus somewhere in the suburbs where there's an express service right across the old city.

I've never been on a bus in North America and so that factor alone has its attractions. Furthermore, I was told that the ticket cost $3:00 and entitled me to 90 minutes of travel - hence for $6:00 I can be in and out of the city with no effort at all - a great improvement on the $10:00 per hour or whatever it might cost to park up, with all of my possessions on view to the general public.

Yes, this bus affair had enormous possibilities.

canada avril april 2012 copyright free photo royalty free photo

Next morning found me at some God-forsaken hour across the road from the motel at the bus stop. and sure enough, somewhere not too distant from the appointed time, the bus pulled up at the stop.

A very friendly and helpful driver (and doesn't that make a change?) explained everything to me and when we arrived at the terminus, pointed me in the direction of the 800 bus, the express service that runs quite frequently into the city.

The 800 turned up shortly afterwards and in company with a crowd of other people, I leapt aboard.

canada avril april 2012 copyright free photo royalty free photo

When I saw a place that looked like it might be close to the fortifications of the old city, I signalled to the driver who dropped me off at the nearest stop, and here I am! I can't believe that I've been on a bus here in North America! I'll certainly do this again.

Anyway, waving goodbye to my bus, I head for the city walls that I had seen down the end of this street (behind me, in case you are wondering).

canada avril april 2012 copyright free photo royalty free photo

As I had said, I'd seen the city walls down the end of the street and there they are.

First thing to do is to make a prominent note of where I am, because I need to catch this bus again later if I want to find the car. This place is called the Stationnement de Youville, at the rue Joachim and right by the Palais Montcalm. That should be good enough to be going on with, shouldn't it?

canada avril april 2012 copyright free photo royalty free photo

Those of you with long memories, or with an extraordinary amount of patience, will recall that one of the reasons for my being here is to follow the Chemin du Roy , the old road that runs between Montreal and Québec.

Here in this square, which is the Place d'Youville, right by the gate out of the city towards the north is a handy sign telling me that at least I've managed to find the Québec end of the road. I suppose that that is something.

There's another sign here in the square, a poster telling me that on June 8th, George Thoroughgood and the Destroyers are playing here. That's a couple of days after I fly back to Europe, which is a shame. Of course I could always be Bad to the Bone and miss my flight back.

I should perhaps mention that the Place d'Youville was formerly the site of the marché Montcalm, back in days of yore.

What with my early start this morning I seem to have managed to have missed my breakfast. A convenient café kind of place opened its doors just as I was standing outside musing, and so a large coffee and a couple of these oatmeal biscuit things seemed to be in order.

After that, I wandered off to assault the fortifications of Québec. Wish me luck.

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