Quebec City, Day 2

I’ve fallen behind in my blogging, I know. I have all sorts of things coming up, so don’t fret! First, let’s finish Canada.

On our second and last day in Quebec City, it rained. But before we had to go out in the rain, we had breakfast at a really great crepe place. Mine was ham and cheese with maple syrup for dipping. If that isn’t French Canadian, then I don’t know what is.

We eventually did have to go outside, where it was raining.

I maintain that it was also really cold, and raincoats severely impede your peripheral vision, so I wasn’t getting the full experience. Despite the rain, we walked along the St. Lawrence and eventually made it up to the Citadel. Here’s Jason on the Dufferin Terrace.

And here is a guard at the Citadel, they don’t smile either, just like their British counterparts.

Okay, so this Citadel is an active military base, and it’s the home of a specific regiment of the Canadian Army. This regiment is associated with the Royal British Army, so the Queen occasionally sends them gifts. Once, this gift was a goat. (Yeah, for real.) So, the goat became part of the whole shebang. In one of the museums, they have one of the old goats stuffed, check it out. I especially like the ornamental silver forehead piece.

The tour of the CItadel was pretty weird. First of all, the whole thing was built because Canadians were afraid of an attack by the Americans. Our tour guide kept saying things like, “No hard feelings though, really,” which kind of just made us feel like there might be some hard feelings.

At the top of this hill, there is a HUGE cliff. And at the bottom is the St. Lawrence River. As citadels go, I think it would be pretty hard to break into this one.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the view of the Chateau Frontenac from the Citadel. They are replacing the roof (which had become a green-copper color) with very shiny very not green copper, which you can see a little of in this picture.

 

 

Here’s a cool thing that we learned: Before everyone had phones that know what time it is because of satellites, time was sort of a tricky thing. And when you were on a boat, the correct time was something you didn’t always have. So, they had this thing:

That ball moved up and down with each hour, and when a ship came in, they would check their time and make sure it was right. Then, after they left, another ship would pass and ask them, “Are you on the ball?” So that’s where the expression comes from.

After the Citadel, we walked around the city for most of the afternoon. People in Quebec City have the best window-boxes. That sounds really strange, but they were really beautiful and often functional. This one was outside of a restaurant:

It had parsley, peppers and a bunch of other herbs in it. I think this is such a cool idea.

We also went to see Le Petit Champlain, which is the narrowest street in Quebec City. It’s not really all that narrow, but it was pretty.There’s a lot going on around here; we saw part of a glass blowing demonstration.

I have no idea what they were saying because they were explaining in French, but it was still really interesting to watch.

On Le Petit Champlain, there are these metal cutouts strung between the buildings that were kind of neat. Some of them were just generically friendly looking, like these, and others were kind of uniquely Canadian…there was one of a hockey player.

After walking for what seemed like forever, we made it back to the hotel. We talked with the concierge for a while and asked him where we might go to eat dinner, hoping for something off the beaten path and maybe a little more hip. He sent us down a street that we hadn’t ventured down, and we ended up at this great little restaurant, called Chez Victor.

The beer was better than anywhere else, and the people were our age and not tourists. I had a pork burger with sauteed apples and onions and Jason had a beef one with avocados and bacon. We also gave poutine another try, and this time it was about as good as it’s going to get–which is not all that great.

After dinner, we stopped by the grocery store to get some snacks for the train ride the next day. (Train food is crazy expensive.) And there we ran into something I found very interesting.

Any of you who are familiar with Trolley Stop hot dogs know that they come on buns that are cut on the top, rather than on the side. These kinds of buns are available in grocery stores in Wilmington, probably because Trolley Stop customers know how great they are, but I have never seen them in any other grocery stores. Except this one, in Canada.


 

 

Okay, get ready for the best thing in Canada. Cirque du Soleil started in Montreal, but there were no shows in that city while we were there. However, in Quebec City, they put on a free outdoor show every night in the summer. Under an overpass. How cool is that? We walked to this weird place on the map where the highways came together, and there we were.

All we did was wander in and find a place to stand in the crowd. It was unreal. Nothing short of the other Cirque du Soleil shows that I’ve seen in theaters with expensive tickets.

It was the perfect end to our last day in Quebec City.

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