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October 14th 2012
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: 46.8266, -71.3024

It was an easy 3 hour drive up to Quebec, where the pine trees begin to take over from deciduous fall colours. We're now in hotels for 10 days and on our own. Time to spread out a bit, more reading and exploring, probably determined to some extent by variable weather. The dominance of French speakers, French signage and culture seems somehow misplaced in this huge American continent, but history tells you otherwise. The Quebecois language is, however, fairly impenetrable, with a strong accent and local vocabulary. They think French French rather posh. Communicating in English is a fail safe!
our small hotel was walking distance from the old town and surrounded by useful shops and resturants. We followed the hotelier's advice for resturants, not knowing any better, and had two great American brunches and three evening meals, influenced by French, American ( super-burgers) and Italian cuisine- the last to celebrate Peter's signficant birthday.
In the setting sun on our firdt evening we wondered up to the park - dramatically called the Plains of Abraham to commemorate the battle between the French and English, won by General Woolfe, although he was mortally wounded, which decided the future of Lower Canada ( or New France) as a Brtish colony. The French have been campaigning for significant independence and the freedom for the French language to dominate public life ever since. Halloween displays in the park looked atmospheric amongst falling leaves, ghosts hidden in trees, a gallows, witches, spiders, pumpkins and scarecrows - quite a show.
We worked hard the next two days to be good tourists, learning the history from exhibits and the excellent Museum of Civization - an excellent place to spend a cold Sunday sfternoon- and walking round the old town, reading all the plaques, buying food delicacies from the food market and retreating back to the hotel when the driving rain finally set in. I managed to replace my leakng Merrell shows with a similar pair - much needed.
Peter adds: It did seem that every time we were faced with the walk back to our hotel that the powers-that-be decided to make it rain, and somehow we failed to master the buses that zoomed up and down the road joining our hotel to the Old Town (Boris would not have approved, they were bendy!) The place was heavy with tourists even in October, there were two cruise ships in the docks, so one can only imagine how rammed it must be in summer.
We also visted the lovely old station and chatted to a Via Canada man (that's the railway company) about train travel, there are still trains from Halifax Nova Scotia to Quebec, and 4 trains a day to Montreal, then on to Toronto to board the train to vancouver. 4 days and 3 nights - 5300 dollars canadian for 2 in a sleeper. Sounds like a bargain to me!
OK - now to find some photos

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