Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 2 of Our Canadian Adventures

*Warning - lots of photos* 

As I shared about Day 1, we arrived at our hotel very late after a long day of driving (12 hours total). We ended up staying in the business district of the town, so there really wasn't a whole lot to see as we pulled in to the hotel. In fact, the hotel blended in with all the industrial type buildings and it took a bit of driving around before we finally saw it.

It was a nice hotel room in our opinion. There was actually a computer in the hotel room which was really nice since the WiFi connection in the room was awful. The tricky part? The computer came up in French so it was interesting working on figuring out what to click on until I could get it to translate to English.

First hotel room I have ever stayed in that was not carpeted at all.
I peaked in a few rooms as we were walking down the hall while the maids were working and some rooms did have carpeting in them. 

The next morning we headed in to the old part of Quebec City to play tourist. I should mention that we were on vacation during a very hot week in July when the temperature stayed in the 90s and humid just about every single day. 

We had no real agenda for the day other than to walk the streets and enjoy what we could find. We did quite a bit of walking throughout our whole vacation and our first day was no exception. We parked in the upper part of the old city near the Parliament building so we headed there to explore first. 

As an aside...the photos above were taken by my hubby with his cell phone. After I saw all the photos he took while we were in Quebec, I only carried my big digital SLR a couple other times. Other than that, we just used his cell phone. 

The Parliament building was definitely impressive. It had all kinds of sculptures along the outside depicting all the explorers who helped make it a nation. There was also many of Native Canadians as well. 

From the top of the city we began walking down towards the lower city. Quebec was a walled city and much of the old wall still stands. 

You can never take an engineer on vacation without getting some sort of technical explanation. Actually, I don't mind. He loves history too so was explaining to me the strategy behind the wall.

We began walking around the top of the wall assuming we would come out near the entrance to the Citadel. We also assumed the Citadel was an old style fort - much like Fort Knox in Prospect - so it would be cooler inside. We would walk the wall and then head underground to get out of the sun. Great assumptions right? Well, there is always a problem with assumptions isn't there? 

Our plan was to walk around the city wall - the dark gray lines - and see all we could first and then head in to the Citadel and other parts of the lower city.

We finally got to see the St. Lawrence River!

At this point we thought we were about half-way around the Citadelle and saw this ahead: 

There were lots of folks walking and even jogging along it so we headed out. Unbeknownst to us at the time, we were actually on the Governor's Walk which encircles the city. Thankfully we started at this end rather than other. Instead of climbing up over 300 stairs to this point, we were headed down instead.

The views were fantastic.

However, we were ill-prepared for a long walk on a hot day. When we finally arrived on to the main boardwalk we quickly found an ice-cream shop. The strawberry smoothie I had was the best ever! 

The boardwalk or Governor's Walk was very impressive. It started at the top of the old city and went all the way down around the outside of the wall and ended up following along the St. Lawrence River in to the lower part of the Old City. 

Below is the Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac. It's amazing! You could also see if from the top of the city. It's actually a hotel and restaurant and we contemplated staying here until we saw the cost of the rooms. It's still very impressive though.

This area is at the end of the boardwalk. When we came by in the morning there was a gentleman sitting there (you can just see him in the bottom right) doing a "one-man-band" thing. Later that afternoon there was another group there performing. In fact, there were performers at many of these different spots throughout the city.

Lunch was at this very neat Irish pub that had open shutters to the outside. The food in Quebec was so yummy! Portion size was perfect too. 

After lunch we were able to see an absolutely gorgeous cathedral. When we walked in, there was an organist playing. Simply stunning.

We finally made it to the Citadel as well. It turns out that this is nothing like Fort Knox at all! It's still an active military base and houses the only completely French-speaking troops in the Canadian army. No English is used at all. There are still a lot of British influences as well. They do a changing of the guard ceremony in the summer. We skipped this as it was going to happen later in the afternoon and we knew we weren't going to hang around for a few more hours to see it. We did have to have a tour in order to enter the base and arrived just as an English speaking one was starting out. Here are a few shots of the base:

I Remember

The rest of the day was spent shopping and exploring the rest of the city. Thankfully we found the funicular (tram) that brought us from the lower city almost back up to the upper city. It was the best $5 we spent all day! We also found a very yummy chocolate shop. So very, very good!

The view from midway up the funicular tram.

It was a long, but fun day in the city. We ended up in the city on the last day of a week long festival. There were a number of street shows and part of one street was even blocked off. We liked Quebec so much we talked about bringing the boys back to visit one day.

Day 3 coming soon!

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