a traveler's tally

Friday night around 8pm we pulled into our snowy driveway, home at last after 2 weeks away. The first week and a bit of our trip was to Nova Scotia to celebrate Christmas with my family. The second part of our trip was to visit the Gaspé peninsula of Quebec with my parents.

It was wonderful to be away, it is equally wonderful to have slept in my own bed for a couple nights. Now of course there is the tree to take down, heaps of laundry to do and fresh fruit to buy. But that is nothing in light of what happened to our neighbors while we are gone. Our very next door neighbors, whose house is right along our driveway, had a house fire 2 days before Christmas. I would be remiss and very insensitive if I shared our trip with you without sharing this painful loss also.

I am devastated for our neighbors, no person was hurt in the blaze but they lost one of their dogs and of course their house is inhabitable. We found out while we were still in NS and watched live coverage on the internet (now that was surreal). In light of this I am even more thankful for a house to come home to. Because there is so much to say about our travels around Gaspé I'm going to simplify it a bit and give it to you by the numbers.

  • One -Child coughing and blowing their nose. Just Brienne thankfully, now my job is to feed this family top notch healthy to boost our immune systems once again.
  • Five and a half- Average hours spent driving per day, over 5 days. It seemed like a lot some days but there was just too much to see and experience to stay in one place. This includes the getting to and from the peninsula.
  • Two - East coast/maritime winter storms we drove through (very cautiously).
  • Daily - Stops at boulangeries, patisseries and cafes. Eating healthy was a bit challenging with fresh from the oven croissants lining the counters. When in Gaspé...
  • Very high - Velocity of the wind coming off the St. Lawrence river and Baie des Chaleurs for most of our trip. This was too hard to measure, but let's just say it was very windy and cold.
  • Daily - Trips to the Épicier (grocery store) or supermarché— (super market) to pick up easy-to-prepare, healthy foods for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Two - Hours the children spent swimming at a hotel pool on New Year's Eve. Brienne progressed to an unassisted swim at this pool thanks to Nana's instruction and encouragement.
  • One - Feast of (home grown) turkey, squash, potatoes, salad, tourtiére and apple crisp prepared for us 7 travelers by perfect strangers.
  • Five - Restaurants closed on New Year's Eve in Campbellton, NB (where we stayed our last night). Thankfully a take out pizza place was open.
  • Two - Individuals and families (who were strangers) who welcomed us into their homes, shared their floorspace, their tables and their hearts with us. But when you count all the friendly people they introduced us to the number seems much higher.
  • Three - Movies children watched on our laptop in the backseat of the car. These were saved for the trips getting to (through NB) and getting home (through NB and ME) from the peninsula.

If you'd like to read more about our time in Gaspé— and how we met some amazing people, shared in old fashioned hospitality and saved big time on our accommodations & food please read my post couchsurfing with a family..

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  • SavvyChristine

    SavvyChristine on Jan. 4, 2010, 1:19 p.m.

    Most of that sounds wonderful! I'm talking, of course, about your neighbor's house fire -- what a perfectly awful time for something like that to happen. And thank goodness it didn't spread!

    Hearing you mention tourtiere is like home. My relatives are French Canadian, and meat pie is a traditional holiday meal for us. I made some myself this year. Did you like it? (I won't be offended if you say no -- it's not a dish for everyone, particularly vegans).

    SavvyChristine's last blog post... Simple Saturday: Happy New Year


  • Karen

    Karen on Jan. 4, 2010, 1:50 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your trip - both in experience (with Dad and I. we're still processing our journey) and in writing such a creative blog format. We had a wonderful time!


  • nicola@which name?

    nicola@which name? on Jan. 4, 2010, 6:23 p.m.

    oh renee, what an amazing trip it sounds like. and i know you have not even touched the surface of what you likely experienced! oh i am envious! you know and saw parts of canada i have been day dreaming about! nicola http://whichname.blogspot.com

    nicola@which name?'s last blog post... learnings from a year of buying nothing new


    • nicola@which name?

      nicola@which name? on Jan. 5, 2010, 2:31 a.m.

      i can't believe i forgot to comment on your neighbor's losses. how devastating. i am so sorry. what happened?

      nicola@which name?'s last blog post... learnings from a year of buying nothing new


  • Mel

    Mel on Jan. 4, 2010, 10:15 p.m.

    Your trip sounds lovely. We do a lot of close to home things as our boys are too young to spend too much time in the car. And no couch surfing with a 1.5 and 3 year old. Soon, though. Glad you got to enjoy the holidays that way.

    So sorry about your neighbor's house!


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 4, 2010, 11:56 p.m.

      Mel, I remember those days well of driving at night while the kids slept if we had long trips to make. Close to home is good when kiddos are little. It doesn't last forever and is just right for that time of life.


  • 5orangepotatoes

    5orangepotatoes on Jan. 5, 2010, 12:57 a.m.

    I'm so sorry about your neighbor and the horror of losing a family pet in that way.....

    That maritime storm is a scarey picture. I have a HUGE fear of water and can just invision those LAGE waves reaching out for me to take me over the edge.

    Love the picture of your little guy at the cafe. I LOVE his knit cap!

    Too funny about the dream! Araina is on the peanut little side, very small for her age; Fauna actually could be a little taller than you envision; she's on the average to tall side. She will be taller than me when she is all grown (I'm 5ft3).

    So glad you had a good 2 weeks with family, friends and strangers. Glad you and the family are home safe and sound!


    5orangepotatoes's last blog post... grandma's homemade goodness


  • Earth Mama

    Earth Mama on Jan. 5, 2010, 3:47 a.m.

    What a wonderful adventure. Those look like some crazy driving conditions, but that's probablly just cause I come from a place where people freak out when it starts to flurry.



  • pennie

    pennie on Jan. 5, 2010, 3:54 a.m.

    mmm...your trip looks lovely. how wonderful to travel together with your family. i have many many fond memories of doing this with my parents:)

    last year i had some friends that lost their house and everything but the clothes they left in, the day after christmas. they have two young girls and wow...did that open my eyes. we also had the house burn down right across the street from ours while i watched crying and crazy with fear. it is so sad and scary and best to hold tight to what we have (family and love) when things like that happen.

    and to comment on your previous post. your honesty...it speaks to me and i am sure many many more as we nod in agreement. nobody can do it all. nobody. and you are quite talented and i am really glad to read your blog and nod along with you when i start to doubt myself:) be well and strong and happy and filled with peace in this new year...now that is a really good goal...i think i will work on that:) xo, pennie

    pennie's last blog post... one small change: all local sundays


  • Lisa

    Lisa on Jan. 6, 2010, 4:34 a.m.

    Could you post pictures of your organization on the porch of winter clothing. I am also wondering about the sprouts you grow-do you use special seeds and would you explain the process?


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