Published: August 3rd 2012July 31st 2012
Walled city - one of the entrances
My title of this blog refers to the old city being a walled city with open doors. For us it refers both to the physical properties and the welcoming nature of the people we encountered.
Sometimes when things don’t go exactly according to plan it actually works out for the best. We had planned to leave during the week, but didn’t get away until late on Friday. That meant we passed through both Toronto and Montreal on the weekend. Traffic was heavy and there was assorted construction, but it was better than during the week. We arrived Sunday night and are camped in St Vallier at Camping le Domaine Champetre. We are southeast of Quebec City. This is a campground that gives Escapees a discount, which is always welcomed. We were able to stay here for $20.12 per night but it had to be paid in cash. There is less of a discount on the weekends, so again our delayed departure from home worked to our advantage.
George is doing much better with making attempts at French than I am. We bought a phrase book while still at home. I get all flustered and then even my English gets odd. George is good even with making phone calls and his “Parlez-vous anglais?” has often elicited a reply of “Little bit.” I believe that many of the workers we have encountered speak job specific English, which
Harbor View and Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac
We also walked through the lobby of the Fairmont...elegant!
we appreciate, but when I try to talk about something else it becomes confusing and I can see in their eyes they don’t know what I am talking about.
We spent 2 days in Quebec City and still didn’t see everything we would have liked to have seen. We had some difficulty the first day, even finding the ferry, due to road construction and detours. Once we abandoned following the signs and started using our seasoned travel-sense we found the parking lot and the ferry and were able to get across the St Lawrence River and into the city. George was in Quebec City in about 1975, so he had some familiarity with the features and the layout of the city. We started uphill with map in hand and bottles of water. The weather has been hot and humid with unrelenting sunshine.
It seemed that we did a lot more going uphill than down, but really that is not possible. I found myself asking George if we had seen everything at our current level before we started heading downhill on a street. There are 170 precipitous stairs which are named in our guidebook as Breakneck Stairs. What the
guidebook does not say is that the streets leading up to the stairs are also on a steep incline and the streets after the stairs have varying degrees of incline. We climbed them with occasional rest breaks in whatever shade we could find.
The first day we basically wandered the old town area of the city. We didn’t have a plan or goal and it was fun to just take in the sights and sounds of the city. We worked our way gradually upwards and had some great views of the river. I really felt transported to somewhere far away and long ago, except for all the modern people walking around. French was the primary language I heard on the street, but not the only language. We also heard Spanish and Asian; to be more specific is beyond my ability of eavesdropping.
Of course we enjoyed dining somewhere different each day. The first day we had a lunch that included wonderful multigrain rolls, soup, salad, Quiche and Crème Brule. We share, so we can try a wider variety. The second day we ate at Au Petite Coin Breton Creperie and of course we had crepes. George had the
We took this back and forth from Levis to Quebec City.
“Taste of” which included French Onion soup, a salad, and a dessert crepe with maple crème, strawberries, and homemade ice cream. The servers were dressed in Old French with BIG lacey headwear. It was a fun and tasty experience.
On our first day as we wandered we headed for the high point of the old city which was the Citadel. I was hot, sweaty and thirsty, which added to my amazement of the guards who stood perfectly still in the blazing sun. The second day we still did lots of walking uphill, but we opted to ride the Funicular for $2 each and skip the 170 stairs. It is a glass enclosed elevator. George took a picture from inside looking out, but we forgot to take a picture of it from the outside.
We visited the Parliament building and took the tour that was presented in English. George had some problems going through security and had to keep emptying his pockets and going through the scanner. Finally he cleared security after being wanded. Our tour group was primarily from Europe, Asia and Australia. Our tour guide did a wonderful job with her English and her presentation, and I
learned a lot. I did miss some things as I would sometimes be slow in understanding a word and then would have missed the next few words. I would also get distracted by how beautiful the names were or even by wondering how a sound was made.
Now it is time to move on to our next destination. Again it is sort of vague but we are heading eastward along the St Lawrence River towards Gaspe and Forillon National Park.
There are more photos below