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Since it seems that my visits to various different places have a tendency to fade into my memory over time (yes, I’m getting old) and I tend to forget to share my experiences of the visits (until pictures jog the memory a bit), I am hoping to document some of my memory with the readers and keep the memory alive. Hopefully, I’ll get around to recalling the Hong Kong and Tokyo trip I made quite a while ago in a future posting.
My recent trip to Quebec City back in May wasn’t my first visit to this beautiful city. I visited it back in January 2000 when we visited Montreal. At the time, it was cold and we were lucky to catch it during the annual Winter Carnival. All I remembered was that it was cold and everything was white. Visiting it again in late spring gave me a completely different impression of this beautiful city. And I’m glad because visiting it a second time, made me love this city so much more.
We stayed at the Loews Le Concorde Hotel, located on Rue Grande Allee and Montcalm Place and several blocks from the gate of Old Quebec (Vieux Quebec) and a block away from the Parliament Buildings and surrounded by history, overlooking the Citadel and Plains of Abraham. Needless to say, it was amazing to think that I’m at the site of one of the bloodiest battles of history. The fields are so expansive and lush green with well kept gardens that it’s almost unbelieveable that so many lives were lost at the same spot. History certainly has a way of covering up its past.
Quebec is filled with history as the “father of Quebec”, Samuel de Champlain landed and fortified the city back in 1608. It is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s landing and they are planning huge celebrations to commemorate the event. Unfortunately, the events start shortly after my departure from Quebec City but I still loved it regardless.
One of the things you can not escape in Quebec is the history. Everywhere you look, you see old architecture and buildings. It’s so nice to be able to almost step back in time and see old buildings that you don’t see anymore. In some ways it reminded me of Charleston, South Carolina (minus the humidity) as that atmosphere of history surrounded me everywhere. I saw a lot of horsedrawn carriages (similar to Charleston), similar architecture of old houses, forts, cannons and some cobblestone streets.
Going down Grande Allee, I was greeted by a block filled with open air patios of restaurants ranging from Italian to Asian to French and others. I actually dined a few times at several restaurants and if you have not done so, it’s quite an experience to sit in the pleasant atmosphere of people around you and just people watch while you enjoy your dinner. The weather was so amazingly pleasant and fresh and from time to time, you can find yourself accompanied by little birds that want a small sample of dinner.
In most meals, you can not escape the allure of maple syrup. They pride themselves in crepes and maple syrup and you can always expect fresh fuits and berries in a fruit or salad plate. Yum! I, however, prefer to have my butter not frozen, or at least, at room temperature so that it’s easily spreadable. Unfortunately, it seems the French prefer to keep the butter in ice to keep it hard. That was one thing that I wasn’t pleased about when trying to spread my butter over the bread during my meals. But that’s hardly much to complain about.
I had a few meals at the revolving restaurant atop the Loews Hotel, called L’Astral. It offers a great view of Quebec and of course, over the course of your meal, you will be able to view all over Quebec. The food is fantastic and the servers are always pleasant and polite. Almost everywhere you go, the merchants will be able to speak English so there’s no need to try to strike up something in French. I’m actually quite amazed at how fluent most Quebecers are, as opposed to the rest of the Anglophone people of Canada. Yes, I’m quite ashamed.
We’ve visited the Citadel, Old Quebec, Plains of Abraham, Place Royale, Funiculaire (gondola), Battlefields Park, Place d’Youville, Place Laurier shopping mall (huge shopping mall) and many others. We even took their local city bus to visit the Place Laurier Mall and my son loved the ride.
Quebec City is an amazing and beautiful city and I’m so glad that I got to visit it in the spring and see how beautiful it truly is, compared to all that white and cold during my last stay during Winter Carnival. The people are friendly and warm and it’s definitely one place I would go back and re-visit in the future.
One of the nice things about our trip to Quebec City was that we got the chance to visit different airports along the way. We stopped at Vancouver International airport and then Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau (ex Dorval) airport enroute to Quebec City (Jean Lesage). On our way back, we visited Toronto’s Pearson airport and then Calgary International airport before arriving back home. My son absolutely loved it since he’s a transportation freak ever since he was a baby and we did quite a bit of travelling even then. I did too because I always love seeing new things and Pearson Terminal 1 looked quite a bit different since my last visit enroute to Charleston. At the time Terminal 2 was still somewhat operational (they closed this year) and Terminal 1 was practically brand new.
Even the Air Canada flights were okay. On our way back, we got to watch some movies as the plane offered personal tv for economy class. Unfortunately, news wasn’t available but there were other channels to occupy my time. I was quite surprised that there were AC plugs offered for the economy seats (unheard of previously) and USB ports. So, no more worrying about portable power (well, in those special flights at least). Going there, we didn’t get this luxury on our plane.
I always enjoy traveling whenever I get the chance and this was another one of those lucky opportunities. If you ever get the chance to visit Quebec City, I’d strongly suggest you do, because the people, the history and the culture will grab you in such a way that you never expected. Needless to say, I loved my second visit to Quebec City as it really convinced me that this was a place I’d want to re-visit again in the future.
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