Let me tell you, it was tough crossing the border back into Michigan this week after several days in Quebec City. Tougher still when I turned on the news to the deranged Phoenix speech Tuesday night. I wanted to turn right around and head back to Canada. And when they say at the border "How long are you staying?" I would say "as long as you'll have me."
Yes, we've been through turmoil before but after the grim events of Charlottesville it seems different. It was so very good to get away.
Rick rode his bike from Michigan to Quebec City and left August 5. I took off on the 16th to spend the night with my friend Suzanne and then fly onto Quebec the next day. I wasn't at my peak. I sounded like a broken squeaky toy with laryngitis that was on Day Seven. If I could count on it always being that way, I could make a fortune voicing cartoons. But let it stop me? No way!
Perhaps the happiest sight I saw when I arrived (apart from the fabulous old buildings, French written everywhere and the exhilaration of being someplace new) was seeing Rick at our B&B, having arrived after 900 miles of pedaling! A sight for sore eyes.
Our B&B was great, a historic house built in 1793 in an outstanding location. I'll do another post about that later, but I would certainly recommend the B&B experience. Especially if the breakfasts were as good as ours!
As soon as I decompressed from the plane, Rick and I headed out to explore Vieux (Old) Quebec. Our B&B was in Haute Ville (the upper town). Basically, this means that anywhere you walk, you will probably be walking down. Like the photo below -- this was the street we were on. The ground floor of the buildings at the top of the street are a good story or two above those at the bottom!
We arrived on a night called Festival Celtique. I had hoped that would be Celtic or Cape Breton music but all we heard from the DJ was pop stuff. Nonetheless, it was entertaining. As best I can figure, staff from various bars were competing in a race to see who could run in kilts with one member (or maybe it was a relay) carrying a full pitcher of beer.
They had stops and tasks along the way, like jumping rope or walking on narrow boards propped on cinder blocks while holding the tray and pitcher of beer. Pretty fun!
I was a little worried about dressing right -- it is a large city. But we quickly learned anything goes. One street musician managed to incorporate his dog into the act, at least costume-wise! (I do have to admit, the dog was better dressed than I was.)
We found a cute bistro recommended by our host and the food was very good. I loved my quiche and salad.
But it wasn't enough for a guy who had been riding his bike for days!
So, we picked up a bottle of wine and a baguette on the way home! Good move!
Along the way we enjoyed some of the charming shops, including the appropriately named "Eclipse"...
...Yummy looking boulangeries or patisseries...
...beautiful window boxes...
...and fabulous views.
That little spot behind me is the Chateau Frontenac. Their rates would imply that the breakfast is great but somehow I suspect it's extra! But we'll go there a little later.
Here's a better view. It's enormous! And so very beautiful. You'll see it from many vantage points in Quebec and it's a wonderful marker. I can see why it is so identified with the city and appears on every magnet and every postcard.
Behind me in this one you can see the view across the St. Lawrence River.
This area -- where there is a stage for street performers with risers -- is called Place Dufferin. There are street performers everywhere in Quebec and many of them apply the same stock in trade... juggling, acrobatics, unicycles and fire.
This team did fire better than anyone! (Yes, he jumps through the flaming hoop and does a sommersault/handstand.)
Looking down, the area called Basse Ville or lower Quebec. We'll check that out next time!
We walked home, enjoying the sights and sounds, such as the artists closing up their booths in Rue Tresor. We would be back.
Day one impressions -- it's a beautiful spot, French is the primary language but just about everyone speaks English. It's fun to try if you can, but don't be intimidated if you can't. And yes, the hills are very steep!
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