Up here in the mountains, with snow all around us, there isn’t much to do. So the day resolves itself into a different kind of rhythm – a rhythm of small choices: do we go out for a walk? Now or later? Shall we do that small chore now … or later? Hey – […]
One of the things I like about improv is that it’s the ultimate transferable skill. There may be some people who have scripts for their lives, but most of us are making it up as we go along. So that is how we came to make up an accidental 55-kilometre bike ride, on a beautiful sunny Monday in Vermont.
We’ll be able to buzz around Montreal on bikes, using the bike path running along the Lachine Canal, just a few metres from our door. Montreal would be our oyster.
Last Saturday there was a demonstration in Montreal to highlight the need to take action to prevent continuing climate change. The attendance was reasonable without being particularly mighty – for instance, the leader of the Green Party of Quebec was there, holding his Green Party banner – alone.
Stick your credit card in the machine, pay five Canadian dollars (about three pounds) and have unlimited use of any Bixi bike all day in 30-minute stints. They come in a Granny-style 3-gear model or a ‘sportive’ with all of 7 gears.
Cabins in the forest
As eco-nomads, we were attracted to go there by the idea of the eco-cabins. They come in three types:
- the Shiship, converted from old shipping containers, complete with compost toilet. As you can see from the photo, it doesn’t attempt to hide its origins
- the Maikan, a basic one-room cabin with no running water (no photo)
- the Mashk, a more upmarket affair with the usual mod cons – kitchen, bathroom with shower, galleried bedroom looking out onto the birch trees.
The good thing about doing a job cleaning rooms every day is that you get to know the cabins intimately! Some of the great things about them were the way they had been located round the property, so that each one was totally private, yet just a short walk from the main building and its facilities. They each had outside space, with a camp-fire/grill set up and seating.
The cabins feel very much in harmony with the surrounding trees and wildlife. Chipmunks give their warning calls as you pass by, rabbits and foxes are close.
However, like our own compost toilet at home, which we gave up on in the end, the toilets in the Shiships struggle to cope. The fruit flies move in and multiply at an astonishing rate, meaning there’s no choice but to use toxic chemicals to get rid of them. Exactly what you don’t want to do.
I’m sure there are compost toilet models that work better, notably those with a large underground pit that can be rotated, rather than a removable drawer, as here. The owners of the resort are committed to improving things and finding solutions, and I am confident they’ll do so.
More on the eco-resort – and on what we’re up to in Montreal at the moment – soon.
Any comments on glamping, compost toilets or anything else welcome. Let us know what you think!
We are here in Quebec province, spending time mainly with people from Quebec, and speaking French most of the time. Sometimes we communicate in English. But there is a gap of understanding in both languages. Our French is imperfect, plus we are still getting to grips with the Quebec dialect, so obviously this creates a […]
in this year-long trip of ours, so far we’ve chosen to travel without a car. And our current Workaway is at an out-of-the-way eco-resort up the route du Fleuve, along the St Lawrence river. Public transport doesn’t reach here. There are no buses for 26 kilometres. There might be an occasional train, but it’s a fancy tourist one which doesn’t come close to us.
Our Workaway hosts, who set up the Repere Boreal a couple of years ago, are very hospitable and do their best to give us lifts for expeditions on our days off. But it’s not always possible. In fact that has opened up another door for us – to the delights of hitch-hiking.
On Tuesday we set off in the pelting rain. We reasoned it would be easy to get picked up as car drivers would take pity on sodden hitchers. However, the opposite was true. We had to wait about 15 minutes. Maybe they didn’t want the interiors of their cars getting wet. Or maybe they couldn’t actually make us out in the driving rain.
Smile – you’re on MY travel blog!
It was worth the wait, though. We were picked up by a couple of friends, originally from India, now living in Vancouver and Ontario respectively. They were two lovely people on a week’s road-trip in Quebec. One was a documentary film-maker and blogger. His camera was running when they picked us up, and we got interviewed. Not sure whether we made the cut, but it leads to the curious experience of the mutual blog!
Staying (and working) at a motel on an island, the Ile d’Orleans, which is very obviously geared towards tourism, has got me thinking more about image recently. Filling your motel rooms, getting people to come in for tastings of your local wine, cheese and cider – it’s all about presenting the right façade. And it’s true, there are some beautiful vistas of the countryside and the river. And there are delicious local products. The sign outside the local service station/general store is enticing:
Inside, you do find local beer and chocolates. But also a lot of overpriced junk food. It’s a service station.
I was thinking that maybe, à la Facebook, this blog too has been guilty of presenting a sanitised version. For example, sunset from the motel terrace:
Actually, I had to cross the road to get this shot, because this is the actual view, complete with cables (different time of day, obviously):
And at eight in the morning I recorded on my phone 8 vehicles passing within 50 seconds.
Yesterday was a good day, probably the best day of our stay/working visit here. The Ile d’Orleans has basically one road – it goes all the way around the edge of the island (see map above) – so we set out on the tandem, initially just for a ride and to visit the cidrerie about […]