Oh. My. Gosh. (OK, I censored that for Mal....) This city is SO amazing!
Roberta and I got up early and were out the door by 7:30 this morning. We didn't get home until 4 pm. In the interim we ate two meals, had chocolat chaud à l'ancienne at a bistro down by the port, took a cruise on the St. Lawrence, and walked, walked, walked all over the old city.
Our hostel is located on rue Ste. Ursule, right in the heart of the old city. Like most of the buildings in this area it's old. Not sure of the date. I'd have to get up and go outside to look and I'm too tired to move.
We have one more day here, and before we go we are hoping to take a caleche ride and a bus tour of the old city.
The day started with one of those little miracles that happen once in awhile. After eating crèpes for breakfast at a local bistro, we took the funiculaire down the cliff to the port. Walking around the old streets, we came across a street musician setting up to play classical guitar near a small
park. While we watched him set up and then listened to him playing, a huge wagon was brought into this narrow little street, full of pumpkins. A bunch of workers set about unloading the pumpkins and placing them around the small park. This took about half an hour. Meanwhile there was much else to watch as well, as the streets were starting to be filled with tourists and locals going about their business.
I nearly used up the entire battery on my iPhone taking photos and videos of what we saw today: 152 photos so far. I'm sure I'll take more tomorrow. It was cloudy, sometimes raining lightly, foggy over the St. Lawrence, but still very beautiful.
The streets were full of tourists. There are five cruise ships docked here today and there are Americans all over the old city. Roberta and I have been largely speaking French to each other. The ambiance here seems to promote this somehow.
We had breakfast at a crèperie. I liked Roberta's (ham and cheese with sauce béchamel) better than mine (à la quebecoise with egg, cheese and bacon). Then we walked around up here for quite awhile. Everywhere you walk,
there seems to be something else interesting that draws you a little further on. At around 10 am we got to the funiculaire, which we had intended to take right after breakfast, and we went down to the lower part of the old city. We found a favorite restaurant, Le Cochon Dingue, and went in for a chocolat chaud à l'ancienne, which we remembered well from our last visit here in 2008. Then we wandered around in the lower part of the city.
At 11:30, we took a boat excursion on the Louis Jolliette, a 90-minute tour with excellent commentary in both French and English. The trip goes up to the Monmorency Falls (higher than Niagara, but not as much water), turns around and comes back. We sampled a drink neither of us had ever heard of before, called sortilege, which was quite nice: Canadian whiskey (30%) and maple syrup!
We had lunch at a place called Aux Anciens Canadiens. Well! a three-course lunch for $19.55 including a glass of beer or wine! The food was beyond delicious. Roberta ordered a paté (called racillette or something like that) made with caribou and wild boar, followed by a tourtière made with several kinds of game and served with home made "ketchup" that was really more of a chutney, then raspberry sorbet. I had soup aux pois à la grandmère, followed by pheasant legs with fèves au lard, then pumpkin pie. All accompanied by a glass each of red beer (is that the right term in English? it was rousse in French, I believe). We couldn't eat it all, but we did our best. Each item we tried (and we tasted back and forth) was a new source of oohing and aahing!
By the time we got out of there and back to the hostel it was 4 pm. Roberta has gone upstairs for a nap while I downloaded my photos and worked on the blog.
This is the most amazingly photogenic city! Everywhere you look is something else precious. I took too many photos to post here, but here is the link to my Picasa page that contains them all: https://plus.google.com/photos/109471170472848057534/albums/5795950671912182705?banner=pwa
I hope this works!
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