Racing towards the Unknown Town of Rivière-du-Loup

From the moment she pulled the Rogue onto the roadway, her right foot depressed the gas pedal to the floorboards speeding off beside the twisting St Lawerence river. Whilst she was busy intimidating Mario Andredi, I scoured Google maps searching for a botique hotel somewhere down the asphalt.

The car weaved in and out, around and through as my fingers depressed the ten-digits calling yet, another hotel to learn they had no rooms for the night. On my sixth phone call, I was rewarded with a room and although it was slightly higher than our normal daily night away from home, I decided to splurge because after all we’d just driven another 712-kilometres over 10-plus-hours including stops.

“SURPRISE!” I shouted down the hallway as we opened the door my wife pushing past me then out the side of her mouth, “Daddy got the BIG SUITE!, yes he did.” She quoted an Ashton Kutcherine from the movie “Just Married” as she wandered around our extravagant king suite.

“This place seems bigger than our condo!” she said as I cracked open my suitcase pulling out a sweatershirt. “Ready to hit the lounge for a nightcap?” I smiled then winked at the wife. “You bet. I could use a tall glass of red!”

Wandering down the hall we chit chatted about nothing in particular just the decor, lighting, carpet and purple painted walls. “I still can’t believe it… this is a Best Western Premier?” the words escaped my mouth just as we reached the ultra modern lounge.

The lightd dimmed so, low it felt more like a strip club glowing in rays of lavender and red, my ultra casual dress code of sweatshirt, shorts and sandal sticking out like an old sore thumb. Everyone around us sipping on scotch in their neatly pressed suits.

We asked about menus and the barkeep informed the kitchen closed 20-minutes ago. I chuckled and asked him, “is this a mom-and-pop place? And mom has gone to bed?”

His face contorted unable to understand my English humour, as I laughed, the wife cut-in, asking where we could get a meal? He smiled, shrugged his shoulders and went back to wiping down the liquor bottles.

After our very brief stop in the lounge, we were back at the front counter asking for a recommendation to get both a drink and meal? The desk agent looked at us, as though we were from another planet, then said, “did you try the lounge and restaurant upstairs?”

My wife new I couldn’t contain my smart-ass comments and replied, “your kitchen closed at 9pm at least that is what the bartender informed us.”

She stood there her face expressionless then picked up the phone as her fingers plucked at the numbers. A very quick, very short conversation went in French, I caught none of it. Then shr nodded, pulled out a map and started informing us about a place to get a meal and a drink.

After a ten minute drive into the centre of this quaint town, we walked into the recommended Resto-pub L’Estaminet, both tired and hungry to find it cackling with people and smelling of delicious French gastro-pub cuisine.