Friday, May 29, 2015

Vieux-Québec


About eleven years ago we first visited the city and as soon as we began planning this trip Québec was on my must see list. When booking our rooms for Québec Sharon was conscious that this ends our trip in the sense that after Québec we visit my family in Montréal and then we head home. So she splurged and booked us a hotel in the old city, which dates back to Champlain in 1608 and is one of the oldest in north America. Our hotel only dates to 1880. But it is in the absolute center of things.

 Sadly we are spending only 1 ½ days here and on Saturday we simply wandered the old city as whim took us. Beginning with the Archevêché, Parc Montmorency and the Terrasse Dufferin, we went down the funicular to the petit-Champlain district and from there walked along a portion of the walls from the portes St. Jean to Kent to St-Louis. From there we turned back into the old city (we could have gone up to the fortress--but we have been there. We did some shopping and then ended the day with dinner at my favorite restaurant here, Aux Ancien Canadiens, where they serve superbly prepared game. Over Sharon's genteel protestations I ate Bambi.

plaza outside our hotel

The Frontenac. Amazingly another railroad hotel from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries

The founder Champlain

Another view of the Frontenac

From the Terrasse Dufferin

Looking down into petit Champlain, the oldest quarter of this old city.

petit Champlain




Wonderful mural of 17th century life in this building





Petit Notre Dame
The port St. Louis of the city wall. It is the only American city north of Mexico with intact walls.

Views from the walls

in the background the Ursuline convent

Port Kent

The tin roofs glimmer in the sunlight

Port Kent

Port St-Jean




Aux Ancien Canadiens

Opposite the restaurant, this gallery with museum quality Inuit art. Sharon is building a collection of figural birds, so we added this abstract swan




Saturday we head to Montreal, a brief 1 ½ day stop to visit family and then home.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Au Québec



On Thursday we drove from Grand Falls, NB to Quebec City, as always across backroads. Vfirst thing in the morning I was curious about why the “grand” in Grand Falls. Here’s why.


Note the rainbow in front of the rock

Once we crossed into Quebec, both the environment and the climate changed. Those of you who know it, know that Quebec has its own culture, not just language but architecture. They build differently here. Also, if spring was just poking it’s buds out in the Maritimes, here it is in full riot. Fields of dandelions set off not just the green of the vegetation but also the gaily painted houses and even, my favorite, the tin roofed and spired Roman Catholic churches, almost as thick on the ground as dandelions and Tim Hortons. And it rained. Starting around midday. Honestly, there would have been many more images but for that.

A riot of dandelions

Note not just the church, but the positively exuberant use of color for both homes and businesses




Our last time up here I fell in love with the tinned roof churches and their steeples




Once we got into Quebec City I remembered, instantly, why we had come. The centre-ville, the old city, is a magical place. Our hotel, Le Clarendon, is in the heart of it all and after dinner we walked just a bit. 

No travel day is complete without one of Sharon's window shots

A room with a view,

Harlequin to greet us

More of the city tomorrow


More tomorrow.

Nothing Much

For the first time on this trip on Tuesday we did nothing. Well, not quite true, we read, I caught up on some work and we both slept. Sharon had awakened feeling like she had a cold coming on and I had sympathetic symptoms, so we did nothing. We finally left the room about 6:30 to get dinner. It was a bit strange, but on Wednesday, a travel day, she felt somewhat better, as did I. We both left Halifax feeling as if we had not done that charming little city any justice. Next time, and if I have my way there will be a next time, in 2017, inshallah, when we hope to spend four weeks in the Maritimes.

And so we set out from Halifax to Quebec City. That, my friends, is a looong drive (~1000 km) and so we decided to break it up, spending the night in Great Falls, which is a picturesque Acadian town in New Brunswick, just about five kilometres from the border with Maine.

The result of all this is not much visually. Just a few windshield snaps.

Note the fine window reflections

Ever since we were in Alaska about 25 years ago, Sharon has been chasing moose. Given all the time we have spent in Canada, this trip and several others, she has this sense of entitlement. Tho moose do not agree. These are the only moose she has seen


Actually a pretty scene, somewhere in New Brunswick after we left Nova Scotia

Tim Horton's we have seen plenty of these, in English (Always Fresh" and in French (Toujours frais). They are thicker on the ground than Starbucks in the US