This will most likely be only a short post, not because Québec didn’t offer much but because we are now in London and the kids have not yet adjusted to the time zone, so the space I have found to write this in is about one in the morning. I will see how I go.
You may also be excited to know that Skye is thinking about starting to write some posts too, which I am really happy about because I am well aware of my repetitive monologue diary style of blogging and I am looking forward to Skye breaking this blog up with her more unique perspectives for you all.
We were lucky enough to have been advised by a French Canadian we met in New York to find accommodation within the walls of the old town of Québec City. This area forms a very compact and quaint town within which we felt compelled to do little but explore its streets, cafés, squares and buildings. We stayed five nights and travelled everywhere on foot, within the walled city itself. I am not suggesting there is nothing to see beyond the walls, I am sure there is, we saw advertisements for day trips to some lovely waterfalls etc., and the only time we did venture beyond the walls we found a fantastic modern art gallery. But, for the time we had here, we decided to be satisfied with seeing the historic old town as best we could rather than spreading our time thin over a large area.
I won’t write a History lesson about Québec, I will no doubt get something wrong and upset someone, besides anyone can Google it, but needless to say, it is important and historic, culturally and politically, and this shows in its architecture and beauty. We were surprised to see though that the information we read on the majority of places of interest had burned down at some point and been rebuilt, often numerous times, and not in one big fire across the whole city it seems but individual fires just at random dates, despite being mostly stone construction, this included the history of our hotel, which had a heated indoor basement swimming pool int eh place of some early 1900 Turkish Baths.
We saw too many things here to list, but some of the places that we enjoyed included:
The walls themselves: You are able to walk alongside, or indeed on top of, a large part of the city wall, the first part of which dates to the 17th century. It has numerous gate entries, many cannons, great views and it leads to the Citadel, an early 1800’s star shaped fortification still operating as a military installation today.
The streets: The town is divided into various quarters of varying styles, but all picturesque and interesting.
The Funicular: We have been on many of these all over the place, but this one had cute little carriages that held only a few people at a time and provided a fantastic view.
Chateau Frontenac: This is a huge hotel providing a bit of a centerpiece for the town. It has a winding arcade of specialty shops in its basement area.
A Machines Exhibit: Ari pointed out, whilst in a restaurant toilet of all places, a fantastic poster with pictures of cogs, nuts and bolts. We read that it was for a Machines in Art exhibition starting the following day, and we stumbled upon it a few days later when looking out to the port from one of our walks along the walls where we recognised a similar poster on the side of a gallery. It was a really great exhibition which kept Ari very interested and offered a kids workshop room at the end, where the kids, including Tess, could make art works using simple machines such as record players, or making flip books.
Murals: There are large full life scale paintings on a few buildings giving you an insight into the past.
A small museum of Maple Syrup: This was the upper floor of a little cafe selling only food sweetened with Maple Syrup. It has historic displays, information on how if is collected and processed, and the history of the industry.
A regular Cafe: It was nice to find a little cafe nearby that had good coffee and a bacon and egg breakfast that Ari couldn’t get enough of. Each time the same elderly gentleman seemed to be sitting behind us and commanded a chat. He was constantly complimenting the kids on their looks and behavior and trying to remember an actress from his youth that Skye reminded him of, whilst insisting ‘I’ve never watched a day of TV in me life, but I remember her from the papers’. He got a little heated in his own conversation a few times about local politics we didn’t understand, but was harmless and a nice familiar face. On our last visit there, when we told him we were leaving Québec, he gave the kids some money to buy themselves an ice cream.
There were many more things I should be commenting on, but I am falling asleep and just wanted to get something up about our time in Québec before the moment passed. So here are a few pictures too.
I love this photo, Tess just thinks Ari is going to fly right out of his seat.
So then it was back on the train to Montreal, where we stayed another night before flying out to London, but that will be another blog entry, one I will do at an earlier hour, with my eyes open.
Oh just one more thing, we did also learn that when Ari is sitting quietly and happily in the corner, enjoying his own company whilst drawing pictures, he’s probably still wreaking havoc, just with less noise.