The Summer of Twenty Fourteen (2014)

Posted on September 21, 2014


Warning: This post may be nauseating to some people owing to its focus on marital bliss, three years in and seven years on, since I met Sid, the type of guy my father always dreamed I would marry. Strong, dependable. Macho on the outside, cute and funny on the inside. Like I said, nauseating.

The summer of Twenty Fourteen can be best described as the summer of long road trips. Michigan – Upper Peninsula, Banff – Alberta and Quebec City and Tadoussac – Quebec. One of the best things about moving to Canada has been getting frequent long weekends. Believe it or not, we have ten long weekends each year! Canadians know how to have fun, and may be some of Canada’s famous spirit is rubbing off on Sid and me. And each one of these long road trips made me fall in love with my dad’s dream guy for me, a.k.a my husband. If you’re pissed, you probably skimmed through the warning above.

I love going on long road trips with Sid. We’re the perfect road trippers. He loves to drive endlessly and I love to just look out the window and absorb the many splendours of creation. We drive in silence mostly, at times, to the laments of Merle Haggard or some other despondent cowboy, and quite often belting out loudly and un-melodiously half-remembered lyrics to our beloved songs from the 90s. He often tells me I should have been trained as a singer, like my sister, because I have a good voice. I rubbish the notion halfheartedly, but pleased that he loves my singing voice. My way of showing love is to pull his chubby cheeks as he continues to drive wordlessly, knowing that protesting won’t make the cheek-pulling stop.

Our road trips began in May, with a trip to Petoskey and Mackinac Island in Michigan. This was the trip of spectacular sunsets, you know the unedited, no-filter kinda sunsets that look heavenly even through our phone cameras. On this trip, I saw a purple sunset for the first time. May in Michigan is still quite cold. The Marriott resort that we stayed at had just opened their hot tub. We’d run in our swimwear from our room to the hot-tub and step into liquid heaven! We ate at little cafes and talked to the local people who were still not bored of tourists as the season was just beginning. Mackinac Island was like a little machine stuck in the early 1900s, reachable only by ferry and has only bikes or horse-drawn vehicles. We rode our first tandem bike for may be 30-odd kilometers along Lake Michigan. We were so in sync. The different blue hues of the water made us believe that Michigan was as beautiful as Mexico! Had we actually stepped into the chilly waters, we’d not have thought so.

In June, we went to Montreal to meet a friend and her family. Though this was not a road trip, it deserves a mention because in Montreal began our love affair with French Canada. Stepping into Montreal is almost like being in Europe. The architecture, people speaking in French, the patios and little cafes all across downtown and Old Town. It was June and the Jazz Festival was on. It was three days of free concerts, chilled beers, street performers, sleeping on the grass and thanking god for great weather. Walking through Old Town, we ate some great pizza and watched Brazil beat Chile and Netherlands beat Mexico in the football world cup. Sid and I walked around Old Town for hours, taking pictures of one beautiful building after the other and cheating on our diet in those treacherous cafes, like Olive et Gourmando.

In August, we did a road trip from Edmonton to Banff. The perks of being a consultant; Sid worked in Alberta for almost six months. Monday to Thursday. Each week. Gruelling. But you know the perks, right? My flight was paid for, the hotels were booked on points. So all we paid for was fuel, food and park fees. Driving through the Canadian Rockies is by far the most humbling experience I have ever had in my entire life. The mountains as if open up and swallow us and float us through to the other side. The innumerable glacier-fed lakes, each more postcard worthy than the other. I walked on an actual glacier! Did you know that a glacier is a river of ice, and underneath that cold exterior is a flowing river! This was again one of those trips where Sid tried to get me to try something different, or as I like to dramatize and say, “He tried to kill me!” He took me river-rafting. Can you believe it; I took a dip in the glacier-fed, ice-cold, cold-as-death water of the Kicking Horse river? Next step? Polar bear dip in the middle of winter, or not! Apparently they were grade 4 rapids. I loved it! Going to the Rockies is like a pilgrimage. Every Canadian should do it at least once. I have never felt so insignificant, yet blessed in all my life. Those majestic creatures, the peaks, stand in attention, as if waiting to serve me or crush me! Each day that we spent in Alberta, I felt closer to god, happier in my marriage, at peace with myself and the world.

For the Labour Day long weekend in September, Sid took the week off and we drove from Toronto to Tadoussac, Quebec. We stopped at Trois Rivieres for a night, at a quaint li’l b&b before heading to Quebec City. Again, stunning architecture, a bustling Old Town, cafes and restaurants galore. The highlight of our stay here though was definitely the old fashioned hot chocolate at Le Cochon Dingue in Lower Town. And I am not even a hot chocolate person! Oh, and we went to the Montmorency Waterfalls just a short drive from the city. I know, I know, I live near Niagara and all that…but the Montmorency Falls are gorgeous too! The drive from Quebec City to Tadoussac is blissful. You go drive along the Launrentide mountains. The difference between the Laurentides and the Rockies is mainly that the latter are higher but as not as green. A 2.5 hour drive and we reached Tadoussac! You have to take the car on a barge to get to Tadoussac! Those barges can hold 75 cars! I did not believe Sid till I actually got onto one. We had multiple 18-wheeler trucks on that thing! The reason we chose to come to Tadoussac was simple. We wanted to watch whales! And watch whales we did! We saw minkes, humpbacks, fin whales, and wait-for-it BLUE WHALES at a distance of 10-20 feet! It has to be the singlemost exhilarating experience, seeing those creatures in the wild. To know more about Tadoussac’s whales, I would recommend asking Google. The week in Quebec was the perfect way to end our summer.

As we say unpack our coats and boots and bid adieu to summer, I can’t help but thinking this is going to become “that summer of long drives” for years to come. I am rewarding you with a 2-minute slide show of our pictures. We did not have a camera in Montreal and Michigan, so the pictures may not be the best from these two destinations.

Posted in: Travel