Road Trip through Charlevoix

After a quick four days, Jordan and I are back in Montreal, the bags are unpacked, the sleeping bags stashed, and the laundry done. The dishes, on the other hand, are a little behind the rest of us. I’ll get there. I swear.

Jordan and I road tripped through Quebec’s Charlevoix region. From Montreal, it takes around 4 hours to reach Baie St. Paul, the gateway to Charlevoix. The region is found north of the St. Lawrence River, passed Quebec City. It looks oh-so-tiny when compared to the massive size of the province of Quebec, but don’t be fooled, there is plenty to see (and eat and drink!) For those who need a bit of visualization, here’s my very unofficial, not at-all-exact map of where the region is.

Charlevoix is known for its rolling landscapes, bays, cheeses, and beers. The region is unique enough to have been granted UNESCO status. We spent a good deal of time pulling over into roadside viewpoints and snapping photos. But we also spent a lot of time at our campground, finding ways to put the local goods to the best and most affordable uses. The highlights of our trip included a hike in Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie and a bit of half-hearted whale watching in Tadoussac (not technically Charlevoix, but just across the fjords). There’ll be more on those in posts later today and this week, because I simply have too many photos for one post!

We started our official Charlevoix experience off with a stop at Microbrasserie Charlevoix in Baie St. Paul. The small city is touristy, artsy, but not overwhelmingly so, and manageable on foot. Don’t worry about finding parking or paying for metered parking. Simply head one or two blocks away from the main thoroughfare of Rue St. Jean Baptiste for some easy parking. We also stopped in for some ice cream and picked up a bit of gourmet fleur de sel chocolate from Cynthia’s Chocolaterie to save for some top notch s’mores at the campground.

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Lamb burger with local 1608 cheese for him, fish and chips for her.

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Yes, I still have that penchant for photographing cemeteries. 

And I couldn’t resist snapping a photo when seeing this familiar sign in French.

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After leaving Baie-Saint-Paul, we headed toward our campsite, moseying from viewpoint to viewpoint.

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Another lovely little stop along the river is the village of Port-au-Persil. It seems like there are as many inns and B&Bs as houses in this little town, so if you’re not into camping, this would be a lovely place to stay.

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Yes, it’s portrait time. Our parents always tell us that we take some nice pictures, but never with people in them. And so we tried to rectify that a bit.

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Like I said, I’ll be posting a few other posts to recap our trip through Charlevoix. But I hope these pics have given you a bit of a taste of what the region looks like. That said, the shore line is not the only reason to visit the region. I cannot wait to sort through and share our hiking photos to give you the fuller image!

week-ends du monde

festival du bresil

So, you remember how I like low key things? Yeah, I meant it. But then sometimes I can’t help myself from the other extreme. The day after the low key day, I met some friends at the Week-ends du Monde at Parc Jean Drapeau. This is a festival that celebrates the music, food, and cultures from around the world. It’s free, and I have enjoyed learning about other cultures all my life. So even though standing around at a festival all day is something the twenty-year-old version of myself liked a lot more than the present version of myself, I couldn’t really resist.

I spent the afternoon taking in some flamenco performances (okay, slightly mediocre compared to some of the street performers we saw in Andalusia last summer, but still fun), a traditional Ukranian dance, and some Colombian music. I maaaybe took in a taste or two of a Colombian anise-flavored liquor, Aguardiente. I wouldn’t have known to try it, but I happened to be with some Colombians for the Festival national de la Colombie. ¡Perfecto! 

After retreating from the Colombian stage, I, along with a couple friends, fell into the Carnaval d’été brésilien de Montréal (Brazilian Summer Carnaval), which made for some fun entertainment. Again, seeing some samba and capoeira is always a good time, but really made me miss the amazing, high-speed, flipping-all-over-the-place capoeira we got to watch during the music festival in Lençóis, Brazil a couple years ago.

I had a good time at the festival, and it left me really wishing I could speak Spanish (you know, like for real, as in past the mucho gusto and soy de los estados unidos stage) and Portuguese. Montréal is so diverse that it seems like a real shame to not take advantage of all of the cultures here. ( No time to waste!) I hope after looking at the photos you’ll feel the same way!

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Road Trip | ESL Article

Good morning, everyone! This morning, I decided to write a short post about some of my upcoming* plans.

large adirondack chairThis week, I am preparing for a road trip. A road trip is a trip or journey taken in a car, and there are usually a few stops along the way. Usually road trips are long, but they can be short, too. I love road trips because I like navigating* with my map (okay, and the GPS!), seeing the countryside,* and discovering random* things along the way. Road trips are always filled with strange stops, like the time when I found the World’s largest Adirondack chair!


I would love to do a cross-Canadian road trip someday, but that will have to wait! This weekend, Jordan and I will be going on a four-day road trip. We will be renting a car and picking it up on Friday morning. After that, we will be heading toward* the Charlevoix region of Quebec for four days. On this road trip, we will be camping the entire time, so I am preparing by clean our camping gear and making a list of what we need to pack. I will be going shopping Thursday night to stock up* on supplies, food, and snacks for our trip. Later today, I am planning to make a playlist* to help us pass the time* on the road.

Next week, I will be sharing some of my experiences from the road trip on the blog, so I hope to see you then!

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you like road trips? Why or why not?
  2. What was your favorite road trip?
  3. What songs should I add to my road trip playlist?

Vocabulary and Expressions

  • upcoming: happening soon, occurring in the near future
  • navigate: to find the way to a place
  • countryside: land that is away from big cities or towns
  • random: things that are not part of a plan
  • to head toward (something): to go in the direction of something
  • to stock up: to fill up with supplies, to buy a large quantity of something for future use
  • playlist: a list of songs to listen to in order
  • to pass the time: to find something to do to stop (prevent) boredom, do something to stay busy

Surviving the Heat Wave | ESL Listening Comprehension

Hello, again. Last night, we had some thunderstorms. After the storm, the temperature and the humidity dropped, but it is still hot here. The heat advisory has been extended tomorrow. While waiting for the end of the heat wave, I thought a video about how to survive the heat wave would be good. A lot of the vocabulary used in this video is the same used in the ESL article for this week, but I added some below as well.

Like usual, I recommend you review the vocabulary and expressions below before watching the video.  If there are any other words or expressions you have questions about, please leave a comment.  Then look at the questions and try to listen to the video without the transcript to answer the questions. Listen again while reading along, and check your answers.


  • retention= the ability to keep something
  • reflect = to move in one direction, hit a surface, and then quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction
  • to tend [to do something] = used to describe what often happens or what someone often does or is likely to do
  • plenty = a large number or amount of something
  • metabolic rate = how quickly you use calories (energy) from food
  • spritz = to spray (something) quickly with a small amount of liquid
  • drape = to cover (someone or something) with a cloth
  • nauseous = feeling like you are about to vomit
  • ventilated =  has air moving, or circulating, through the place
  • municipality = city
  • strenuous = requiring or showing great energy and effort
  • frequently = happens regularly or often, not rare
  • round up = to gather


  1. Why is it important to stay cool during a heat wave?
  2. What foods and drinks should we avoid (not have) when temperatures are high? Why not?
  3. Name four places you can go during a heat wave to cool off.
  4. During what hours should you stay inside? When should you do strenuous activities?

Video Clip

Video Transcription:

How to Survive a Heat Wave

When the temperatures approach dangerous levels, you need to know how to keep cool to avoid heat-related illnesses, and even death.

You will need shade, sunscreen, a hat, lightweight, light-colored clothing, fluids, appropriate food, cool water, air conditioning, a pool or cooling center, and ice cream.

People who are on fluid-restricted diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.

Step 1: Stay out of the summer sun. Find shade, and if you have to be in the sun, make sure you’re wearing sunscreen and a hat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunshine.

Step 2: Drink plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks, as these tend to dehydrate you.

Step 3: Avoid proteins and other foods that require an increased metabolic rate for your body to process. Increased metabolic heat production also increases water loss.

Step 4: Take cool showers or baths. Spritz yourself with cool water from a spray bottle, drape your head and neck with towels soaked in cool water, and soak your feet in cool water baths. Avoid extreme temperature changes which may make you feel nauseous or dizzy.

Step 5: Use an air conditioner or stay in well-ventilated rooms with fans if you don’t have air conditioning.    Spend the hottest part of the day (11 AM to 4 PM) in air conditioned places such as movie theatres or shopping centers.

Step 6: Locate a pool or cooling center in your area if you live in, or near a larger city. Many municipalities use public libraries or other city buildings as cooling centers during heat waves.

Step 7: Avoid physical labor, exercise, or other strenuous activity during the hottest times of the day. If you have to perform strenuous activities, do them between 4 AM and 7 AM.

Step 8: Check on the elderly, children, and people with special needs frequently during a heat wave.

Now, go round up the neighborhood children, get some ice cream, and stay cool.

Did you know? During the summer of 1896, a heat wave that lasted for ten days killed almost 1,500 (fifteen hundred) people in New York.


  1. Why is it important to stay cool during a heat wave? To avoid heat-related illness (getting sick because of the heat) and death!
  2. What foods and drinks should we avoid (not have) when temperatures are high? Why not? Do not drink caffeine, alcohol, or sugary drinks because they will dehydrate you. Do not eat too much protein because your body has to work hard to process it.
  3. Name four places you can go during a heat wave to cool off. The pool, the public library, city buildings, shopping centers, and movie theatres were all mentioned.
  4. During what hours should you stay inside? When should you do strenuous activities? Avoid the outdoors between 11 AM and 4 PM. If you have to complete strenuous activity, try to do it between 4 AM and 7 AM (but that’s too early!).


Discussion Topic

Do you change your habits during heat waves? If yes, what do you do differently?


some people love parties. me, i love conversations. i like low key. i like when i can hear the person i am talking to. i like when i can chat over a plate of good food, a glass of decent wine, or a bit of coffee instead of yelling over a can of rancid beer. yes, it’s true. i’m getting old. but frankly, i think i was born old-spirited. my favorite way to spend an afternoon is grazing on delicious food with relaxed conversations. and if a bit of physical activity is thrown in at the end to balance out the grazing, that’s perfect, too.

last weekend, jordan and i headed over toward the other side of the island to visit some friends. the two of them are delightful conversationalists with knacks for telling stories and sharing their experiences. that, coupled with their down-to-earth penchant for good food and drink makes the time fly quickly. before we knew it, our saturday afternoon activity had bled right into the 8 o’clock hour.

gabriella plated some of canada’s [supposed] best cheese (pictured above) while jean-sébastien prepared some locally-made sausages. i contributed to the dessert by bringing jordan’s childhood favorite cherry bing bars. and i’m not sure i should admit this, for fear of being viewed as too much of a wine novice, but jordan and i had rosé for the first time. no lie. first time.

A.LOT.OF.MEAT. especially for me. holy moly.


after eating, we headed to a nearby park to play soccer and frisbee. yes, toe nails were lost in the fierce battle that ensued. well, only for the guys.


yours truly after the soccer match.

i swear the jordan wasn’t doing a cartwheel. unfortunately.


Expressing Impressions in English: Seems Like, Feels Like, Looks Like, Sounds Like

Usually when we think of weather, we think of science and not our impressions. However, we almost always talk about how the temperature feels when we include humidity with temperature. In yesterday’s post about Montreal’s heat wave, I wrote that the “humidity is around 30 percent, making the temperature feel like 40 degrees.” The word feel means to be aware of something that affects you physically, such as pain, heat, or an object touching your body. In English, we also use this word to describe our impressions about a situation, person, or an object.

Four of the main ways we express impressions in English are:

  • to seem like
  • to feel like
  • to look like
  • to sound like

Let’s take an example.

  • You seem like you like living in Montreal.

We can break this sentence into the the subject, the expression (that expresses an impression) and the actual impression (opinion/thought).

  • You=the subject
  • seem like=expresses an impression
  • you like living in Montreal=the actual impression I have about you

A note about comparisons: These expressions are sometimes used to make comparisons. For example, I might say, “This music sounds like the music we heard yesterday,” or “He looks like his father.” However, these expressions can be used to express much more than simple comparisons.

You might be thinking…


Don’t worry, you will understand it soon!

When to Use Them

These four phrases are used in a similar way, but they are not exactly the same.

Use seem like with: general impressions that are not seen physically, or specifically heard. Seem is usually not used with I.

  • The winter is extremely cold, and the summer is extremely humid. It seems like there are only 10 nice days a year!

Use feel like when: expressing personal impressions. Often used to reflect.

  • It is so hot today! I feel like I am melting!

Use look like when: you can physically see something (you see or saw with your own eyes, in images, photos, or video)

  • I saw a documentary about Montreal in the summer. It looks like it is really warm in the summer.

Use sound like when: you have heard people talking about something

  • My sister lives in Quebec. It sounds like a nice place to live, except for the weather.


  • I feel like he doesn’t think about me.
  • She seems like a nice person, but I do not know her very well.
  • Thanks for telling me about your trip. It sounds like you had a lot of fun!
  • You don’t look so good. You look like you’re going to faint. Maybe you have heat exhaustion.

Questions: Asking about Impressions

Often, people will ask a question before you give your impressions. It is more likely that someone might ask “What do you think about ___________?,” instead of using the four phrases used above. However, it is common to hear questions with these phrases.

  1. Do you feel like there is something wrong with him?
  2. How does this sound to you? = What do you think about this?
  3. Does she seem like she is tired to you?
  4. How does the weather look this week?

Notice that when asking questions, like is not always used. If your question already includes the impression (1 and 3), you will use like. If it does not include an impression (2 and 4), you will not use like.

Practice Exercises

Choose the correct expression (seem like, feel like, look like, sound like) in its correct form to fill in the blank.

  1. I just saw the sky covered with clouds. It ____________ it is going to rain.
  2. Michael said he loved the restaurant. It ____________  he enjoyed his meal.
  3. I don’t know Sharon well, but she ____________ she is very smart.
  4. My father can ____________ a shy person when you first meet him.
  5. I am so frustrated. I ____________ I can never do anything right!


  1. I just saw the sky covered with clouds. It looks like it is going to rain.
  2. Michael said he loved the restaurant. It sounds like he enjoyed his meal.
  3. I don’t know Sharon well, but she seems like she is very smart.
  4. My father can seem like a shy person when you first meet him.
  5. I am so frustrated. I feel like I can never do anything right!

Thanks for visiting. I plan to post tomorrow with a “heat wave” listening comprehension activity. See you then.

Heat Wave | A Summer ESL Article

We are experiencing a heat wave* this week in Montreal.  The highs* will reach 32 degrees in Montreal, and some places in Quebec may have temperatures as high as 40 degrees. The lows* will only be around 20 degrees, so the nights will also be warm. The temperatures are warm, but not high compared to many other places int the world. However, the problem is when the temperature is combined with the humidity.* The humidity is around 30 percent, making the temperature feel like 40 degrees. This heat wave is expected to last until the end of this week.

montreal.heat.waveWhen there is a heat wave, we are reminded to stay hydrated,* avoid exertion,* and try to stay in the shade* or air conditioning.* If we do not find ways to avoid being in the extreme heat, we are at risk* of having a heat stroke.* Elderly* people and children under four have a higher risk of heat stroke. The symptoms* include dehydration, dizziness,* weakness, and confusion.

I am following the advice of the newspaper and experts by drinking a lot of water and trying to avoid the sun if possible. We do not have air conditioning in our apartment, so we use a fan* to keep the air moving. I also prefer to exercise early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are lower.  Heat waves  provide an excuse to not use the oven, so I am making salads and smoothies for most of our meals. Heat waves are also a great excuse to eat ice cream or gelato!

What are your favorite ways to “beat the heat?” 


Vocabulary and Expressions

  • heat wave: a period of unusually hot weather
  • a high: the highest temperature of the day
  • a low: the lowest temperature of the day (usually in the night)
  • humidity: the amount of moisture (liquid) in the air
  • hydrated/dehydrated: has enough water/does not have enough water
  • exertion: physical effort
  • shade: a dark area which is blocked from the sun (trees and buildings provide a lot of shady spots!)
  • air conditioning: a system that is used to keep a building or apartment cool and dry (the machine is called an air conditioner)
  • to be at risk: to be more likely to experience something
  • heat stroke: a high body temperature because of being in a hot place
  • elderly: the polite way of saying an old person/usually someone over 75 years old
  • symptom: a change in the body that means something is wrong
  • dizziness (dizzy): feeling that you are turning around in circles and are going to fall even though you are standing still 
  • fan: a machine or device that is used to move the air and make people or things cooler