Quebec City

When looking at hotels here Claudette didn’t even bother looking outside of the “Old City”. Since we were going to pay for a hotel anyways, we figured why not pay the extra $20/night (roughly) premium to stay within walking distance of everything we wanted to see and do. The only problem with this was that parking was about three blocks away in an underground parcade. We had transferred all of our clothes and “daily need” things into just one suitcase which made it handy in that we could just leave the other three bags in the car. The whole experience here quickly immersed us back into Europe where the roads are small, hotel rooms dingy and sidewalk restaurants plentiful.

On our free day we started with a citael guided tour and made plans for a City walking tour at 2:00 that afternoon. The citadel is a working Canadian Military base and home of the Van-Doos. It was a pretty interesting tour and the fort had a broad, commanding view of the St. Lawrence Seaway. After a bite to eat we lined up for our scheduled walking tour. This was officially put on by Canada Heritage, so we used our season pass yet again for a discount. We were together with a mid fifties Kiwi couple, and an older couple from Toronto. We were supposed to take around ninety minutes all total but after the first fifteen minutes it started raining. It looked like it would be a hard rain, but probably not too long. As the downpour started, we were asked by the guide if anyone wanted to continue in the rain. The older couple were incredulous that such a option would even be presente. Both of the New Zealanders said sure, and the James’ proclaimed a resounding “Yes!”. For those who weren’t sure, I announced that I’d heard that skin was waterproof. The Kiwi lady quickly changed her mind and dropped out. While the older couple were waiting for the guide to dig their ticket stubs out of his pocket, I had to ask nonchalantly “So where are you from again? Toronto is it?” in a quizzical yet innocent voice. They readily confirmed and I broke out in a broad grin before proclaiming, “Oh yeah, the place where the military gets called in with a little bit of adverse weather.” They sheepishly acknowledged that “yes, the rest of Canada will probably never let us live that down…”

The tour itself was very informative and interesting, if not more than a little damp. I kept the camera bag tucked under one arm as the five of us followed along with occasional questions or clarifications. The guide was a jolly young man who was very personable and knowledgeable. He also had a new staff member along who was observing and learning how to do the tour. We ended up at the local park office which was part of the old wall, and right beside one of two original powder storage bunkers. They had excellent displays including a large 3D relief model, with movable pieces showing the stages of development over different eras.

The one other notable thing about old Quebec City was the fact that it was jam packed with grade school field trips. Every age and both “official” heritage designations (Francophone & Anglophone) were well represented. The rain didn’t seem to bother the school kids as much as the “other” tourists either. Every doorstep and stoop was packed full of people who ”were” just wandering the roads a few minutes previously, but now were scrunched in tiny dry spaces like sardines to avoid the rain. Just too funny to watch… Still thoughm not as funny as the fact that the English had built most of Quebec city originally.

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