From Where the Water Flows
We left Quebec at sunset with the city lights coming up as the sun went down and an enormous grainery all lit up in purple.
Waking up, we were sailing along the St. Lawrence seaway and loving the colors of the fall. I haven’t seen much of the scarlet I was hoping for–most of the trees here are birch and they turn yellow. Later on we’ll get into maple country and see more scarlet and carmine.
Soon, we pulled into Saguenay, still in the province of Quebec. Cruise ships are a huge moneymaker for small towns, and they put on quite a welcome show, on the dock even before the gangplank is lowered.
Okay, so I never outgrew Howdy Doody, but I’ll bet this guy is much more French than Cree.
Sagueney is a modern looking town, and mighty photogenic, too.
The main industry around here is the smelting of aluminum. The bauxite ore is shipped in, smelted and aluminum ingots are shipped right back out. They do this here because there is a tremendous water flow on the fjord and the electricity to do the job is cheap.
Previously, they used the water power to turn wood into paper in a giant pulp mill. Today, that mill is a museum, one part of which holds the entire house of one Arthur Villeneuve, a local barber who started painting one day and never stopped. Lacking funds for canvas and art materials, he painted the walls of his home with house paint and the smallest brush he could buy at the hardware store. Upon his demise, the entire house was moved into the museum.
Villeneuve was purported inspired by a Sunday sermon in his church wherein Pope Pius XII exhorted the faithful to make full use of their talents. Painting without any reference to scale, perspective or chiaroscuro, he represented the world around him in his own idiosyncratic way, eventually becoming well known, successful and moderately famous.
The exhibit was fascinating. So much so that I looked up and was all alone and locked into the building and had to find the guide to let me out and back on the bus.
We then wandered out into the boonies a bit to a goat farm. Why a goat farm? Because there is a provincial program to help develop small industry/art & crafts establishments. This farm raises angora goats for their wool, selling some and turning the rest into fine cloth, knitting yard and woven goods.
The goats are shorn twice a year, spring and fall. We got to see a woman in the process of the fall shearing. It looks like the hardest work in the world, and guaranteed to ruin your back.
After the goat farm we wandered and rubbernecked for a while, ending up at a glass blower’s shop. No shore tour is complete without a gift shop to drag the sheeple through. We got to watch the proprietor and his assistant create a lovely hummingbird sculpture in just a few minutes, then were lead into the inevitable boutique. I found a piece I liked and managed to get it past the household design review committee, which made me a happy camper.
Leaving the glass blowers, the weather turned more than just chilly.
So much for the brisk fall weather we were hoping for, this is the real stuff. What the heck, I’m inside and it’s beautiful. Let it snow, we’re off to Prince Edward Island.