We had both had a pretty busy week, and so spending a couple of hours in the car on a road trip seemed like an ideal way to spend the *lovely* day. We hadn't been North of the city since our trip to Quebec at the beginning of December, but had ventured in the other directions of the compass at various points this year so far, so North it would be.
We arrived at Shawinigan, but could not find any signs to the waterfall from the main roads. There was no mistaking the huge hydroelectric plant which apparently provides power form both Montreal and Quebec, but the waterfall appeared to be elusive. Searching on the internet (I love internet enabled mobile phones - having been without one for eight months I now appreciate it to the full!) for directions proved unsuccessful too.
There was lots of information on the internet about the waterfall:
It was nicknamed the Niagara Falls of the East.
It has a drop of approximately 165ft (50m).
It is the most powerful falls in the province...
And yet there were no directions or tourist websites solely on the falls.
As we drove in one direction and then the other, turning around at dead end after dead end, we finally saw a sign to the falls. We were the only vehicle on the road as it twisted around past a couple of empty, abandoned looking carparks, before reaching a final carpark surrounded on three sides by woodland.
This carpark was not empty at least: there were two cars parked.
Two cars, at midday on a Sunday preceding a Bank Holiday Monday. Thinking about it, the carparks (and that one solitary sign) looked as though they had seen better days. This did not bode well...
On one side we could see an opening through the trees, so followed the path through the undergrowth to the other side.
We reached the entrance to the park, but the time now being mid-afternoon, both of us being exhausted after a busy week, and the weather it didn't seem worth paying the entrance fee, so we came away armed with information for next time. We had primarily wanted to get out of the city rather than do a great hike, so this wasn't too frustrating.
When we bought the cheese we had picked up a leaflet for future reference, and so typed the address of the place into google maps on the phone, opting for the slightly longer but less main road route. We were glad we did, as the rolling hills, green fields - and cows! I haven't seen many cows and growing up where I did the lack of cows is something I notice and miss! - made for a much more scenic drive.
Following the directions, we reached our destination. And found ourselves in the middle of a housing estate.
It seemed to be a strange place for a cheese producer, but maybe they sold it from their home...
We peered at the street names, and then the address on the flyer, and discovered they did not match.
Putting the address in a second time resulted in a different destination; 30km back the way we had come...
This clearly was not meant to be a cheese buying day.
We went and had a peer at the ferry, and on the way back passed a bustling butchers shop - we haven't found one of those in the city yet - so we stocked up on meat. At least there proved to be one success in our day!
Blockaded off from our parking space, we couldn't help but feel it was clearly one of those days...