"Let's go to Quebec City,"
he said, and so we did.
he said, and so we did.
Sometimes you just need an adventure. We bought our train tickets for the next day but didn't make any progress at finding a hotel, not that we were worried. School had started and we knew tourist numbers would be down, and on the 5 hour 45 minute train ride from Ottawa, we had time to find and make a hotel reservation from the train.
About an hour away from Old Quebec, the train attendant recommended the hotel where Via Rail employees stay and we booked that. Perfect, since we were arriving just before 10 pm and it was a short walk from the historic Gare du Palais, the train station. It would also be convenient for our morning train, 3 days later.
Left, lit up at night, the Gare du Palais has an almost fairy tale look. Built in 1915, it resembles the Chateau Frontenac in its architecture.
Old Quebec, is a UNESCO world heritage site and the only fortified city North of Mexico. To visit it is like experiencing a tiny piece of Europe complete with French language, fabulous French culture, and 400 years of French North American history. The site for the city was chosen for its easy to defend location meaning high cliffs. We experienced some of that the next morning on our way to breakfast.
The stairs, above, were the quick way up to the old city. At the top, I paused to
My crepe has cheese, mushroom and spinach in it but I want to point out the container to the left. That's maple syrup and it's so common here, they don't mention it on the menu! Canada is the world's leading producer of maple syrup and the province of Quebec produces 92% of it.
Oh, baby, dessert with breakfast, heavenly. We waddled on.
The first day, we decided to check out the Dufferin Terrace and then make our way over to the Plains of Abraham. And towering over the terrace is the most photographed hotel in the world, the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.
The terrace is 671 metres (733.81 yards) long. From it, you have views of Île d’Orléans, the St. Lawrence River, and Quebec City’s Lower Town.
In winter, a toboggan slide runs down the stairs and along the terrace, and your toboggan can reach speeds of up to 70 km (43.5 miles) per hour.
The view from the terrace, below. I took this photo the next day when the weather was a little more cooperative.
Now we will head along the terrace, up the stairs, and along the walk behind the Citadelle.
By the time I took the photo, below, we had already climbed a huge flight of stairs and we appreciated the bench on the right where we could
pass out rest a little.
A little further along, you won't see anything other than wall and trees as we walk behind the Citadelle, a star-shaped fort. When it was built between 1820 and 1850, it was the largest British fortress in North America, and it's still the secondary residence of the Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada.
By the way, there are no drones allowed over this working military installation.
Without being here, it is difficult to grasp the height and steepness of the cliff. When the British attacked in 1759, it was impossible for them to scale these cliffs. They landed their ships a little further up the St. Lawrence river where the shore line wasn't so steep. We're heading in that direction now.
This is the view from Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond). Behind it are the Plains of Abraham where British General Wolfe's troops defeated French General Montcalm's troops in a battle for Quebec City and the surrounding area. The battle is known as The Battle of the Plains of Abraham (after a local farmer named Abraham Martin who owned the land) and also the Battle of Quebec.
The 98 hectare (242.16 acre) Plains of Abraham, above, was Canada's first National Historic Park.
We looked in horror at the dark sky that had been hidden from our view by the wall. At this point, we thought we better head back to the city -- quickly.
We hurried by the Citadelle, now along another side, above. Still nothing to see unless you find those doors exciting.
Above, is the Parliament building that houses Quebec's National Assembly.
In the photo, above, is the nearby French fountain caught in a moment of sunlight. Old Quebec is full of beautiful fountains and statues.
The downpour started as we reached the heart of the old city. We ducked into a couple of gift shops but the rain didn't stop and the umbrella we bought wasn't enough. Thinking we would have to wait it out, we headed into the first bar we could find. Here, I was suddenly reminded of my spring
drinking trip to Manchester...
Quebec makes some wonderful beers and I was somehow convinced to try them. lol. Local beers are indicated by the Fleur-de-lis in the menu, below.
The rain let up a short time later.
All photos were taken by me with my Canon SX620 HS, in Old Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
I hope you enjoyed Day 1 of my Old Quebec tour. In my next post, we'll go to the very scenic Lower Town.