Posted by: TheAuthor | 02/10/2011

Days 18 and 19 – Classic Quebec City

Day 18: The customary early rise was met with the usual disdain, we relayed our gratitude to the resident of the apartment we had been staying in whilst in Montreal. As fantastic a stay as we had experienced, it was time to move on and begin ‘Phase Two’ of the road trip. We had parted ways with Claire already, now we were losing another (Henri) and replacing them with one – Dan, whom we know from working in Banff. Phase Two will last until we are set to leave Canada.

With the farewells and new bags packed, we set off out of the chaotic streets of Montreal (Dave and Lucy navigating from downtown had experienced a number of issues with one way streets) in search of Quebec City further to the east. The drive was, as per usual, relatively uneventful until we approached Quebec City’s limits. We were immediately treated to beautiful old houses, open spaces and quaint streets, particularly when we drove through the old city gates into old Quebec.

After setting up camp in our hostel, perfectly placed downtown. Shell, Dan, Lucy, Dave and myself headed out for a walk as the afternoon began. Quebec City was instantly, in the old town, extremely french and very much like small areas I have been to in France. Beautiful side alleys and narrow streets, very little in terms of big chain shops and plenty of good food on offer. I let out a sigh of pleasure as we strolled by, when lunch became the topic of conversation. Shell had desired crepes for quite a while so, when in French-Canada, we searched for one we have heard of, Casse-Crepe Breton. Sharing a savory and a dessert option, we have a fantastic meal.

Continuing the stroll around town we chanced upon some old cannons. We had reached the perimeter of the old city walls to the north, built up to protect the city during the 1700’s. We followed the wall until we found stairs descending to an area with vibrant small shops and colourful banners. It was obviously a very popular area because it was teeming with tourists, most likely emanating from the cruise ship docked a few hundred metres away. So much to see and captivate your mind as you walk along practically jaw wide open every step of the way in amazement.

In true road trip tradition, we had a shared evening meal all together, breaking Dan into the group. Whilst setting the table Dave and myself started to look over a nearby map of North America. We were amazed to visually see just how far we had driven until that point, a huge portion of Canada with yet more to come.

Day 19: In the morning we decided to pay a visit the famed Notre-Dame Basilica before taking a self guided walk along the western perimeter walls of the city. The town was rubbing its eyes and ‘hitting the snooze button’ as we walked through on our way to the Basilica. Once inside I have to admit I was a bit disappointed to see a great many LCD TV’s lining the pillars projecting advertisements for the church. Coupled with plain plaster on the walls and little decoration beside the nave, made the overall feel of the church quite dull. That is until you observed the alter, with a huge gold-plated sculpture practically from floor to ceiling.

The walk across the wall was interesting as we stopped to admire the view and construction of the battlements. The walls are built on a dominating mound around the city, obviously making it hard to assault it. As the three of us, Myself, Shell and Dan, went we took care to capture the moments with our cameras.

Ending up at the Citadel, an almost impenetrable fortress now home to the Royal 22nd Regiment, we declined to pay the $10 to take a tour around the barracks. This in retrospect was a bad decision because we ended up having little to do later on in the afternoon and did have the time to have a tour.

As it happened, we took a walk along the battlefields (Plains Du Abraham) and concurrently to that, the river to the south. A huge expanse of water flowing calmly to the west.

Our walk afterwards was through the newer, more modern, segment of the city and wasn’t quite as beautiful (or French) as the old town. We took a break and mused around the Chocolate museum trying to understand the predominantly French signage – as per the rest of the province of Quebec. For 25 cents we tried, what we thought was some great tasting chocolate samples within the museum itself. Once we placed a small specimen into our mouths we were treated with a foul and bitter taste of pure cocoa. Trying not to spit it out was about as tasty as we could convey to the others inside the building.

In the evening we set out to get some night photographs of the now quiet city. The buildings were lit up with tremendous lights creating a spectacular presentation of what they had to offer. Unfortunately the wind, which had been around all day making things icy cold, had picked up with the sun setting and made everything bitterly cold. We managed to get a few inspiring photographs, including one as Shell’s camera was blown over by the wind – creating a stream of lights across the exposure. We didn’t last for too long as it was far to cold to be out, so we headed back for our final stay in the HI within Quebec.

Trip Statistics:

Tim Horton’s stops – 8

Kilometres driven – 272km

Total distance driven – 5761km

Car faults – Found out Speedometer is inaccurate by 10kph

– Speakers starting to refuse to operate



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