We visited Quebec City at the end of our recent round-trip migration, but I’ll start off here with some urban scenes before going on to the rural and wildlife parts of the trip in the next blogs. A shocker for me as we drove into the City was the billowing air pollution along the entry highway. The previous 8 days had been in pretty pristine environments; even the little villages looked very clean and litter-free.
Four of us took two walks in the provincial capital, whose name stems from an Algonquin word meaning “where the river narrows”. Quebec City is built on the north shore of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Our first walk was during a very rainy afternoon. After taking a bus partway, we walked through the Porte St.-Jean to enter Old Quebec.
The streets and buildings looked quite European to me, including the many gift and tourist shops that one sees nowadays in old neighborhoods that attract tourists. Gas-flame heaters were burning outside some shops. And in one drugstore, we were helped by a young woman who had one of the most beautiful tattoos I have seen. She was surprised I recognized it right away as a fox because she said people had asked if it was a wolf or a bear!!! (Click on it to enlarge, then left arrow click back to blog.)
The rain intensified as we walked on; many people were purchasing rain ponchos at a local tourist information shop.
And the stores started beckoning to us as we strolled along, also admiring architecture.
Earlier in the week, we had stopped at a rural village to visit a well-reviewed chocolate shop. The owners had taken a course in Belgium and learned to make Belgian bon bons (very similar to Dutch ones). Since chocolate appeared to be a comfort food for most of our group members, a fair amount of time was spent in that shop!
When we saw a sign for chocolate in Old Quebec, we ducked in out of the rain to examine the wares there. The chocolate on a stick for hot chocolate looked good to me; the chocolate sausages were a surprise.
Canned chocolate fondue in various flavors was for sale in the regular grocery stores as well. What really tempted me were the different flavors of chocolate toppings for Dairy Queen-style cones; I resisted, however.
The chocolate shops sold maple syrup products, too, and some stores in Old Quebec made references to moose – with antlers above the door, in their names or in the products they sold.
When we saw the sign for Les Trois Corbeaux (the three crows), the birders in us had to pop in to see this artisan-run glassblowing shop. A very nice young woman was forming tiny pieces of glass into ducks at the front of the store.
At the back, another young woman was rolling blobs of glass in different colored glass pieces, firing them and then stretching the bulbs into brightly-colored starfish. These small pieces were obviously for the tourist trade; larger, more abstract and more expensive elegant pieces were for the art collectors.
We walked on and got to the promenade overlooking the river. Along the way, I noted that renters in the city are protesting something (likely high rents). The funiculaire was providing respite to people who didn’t want to climb the multiple flights of stairs (which I did the next day – about 15 in total and not great for my leg which I had re-injured earlier in the week).
We gazed out over the river where I saw my second Dutch boat (the first was from Delfzijl at the Pointe-au-Pic quai).
And then we walked home in the rain, stopping so that my friends could pose with a statue honoring women leaders (but I couldn’t keep my point-and-shoot camera dry long enough to get a raindrop-free photo).
The next morning, we again strolled through the local neighborhood, saw the colorful street sign covers, and took the bus to the old city.
Another chocolate shop (!!) didn’t advertise heavily but had lovely painted chairs with potted plants on its lawn. We also noted another branch of a chain restaurant, which had given us a really nice meal the day before (even for vegetarians).
We saw another statue honoring women – in this case, those who dedicated their lives to educating the youth of Quebec after 1639. I found a statue of a jester quite appealing.
As we wandered, we looked at more shop displays – many were colorful, either in hues or their messages.
A last exciting sighting of yellow warblers along the stairs (the only birds I recognized there besides song sparrows) stopped us so some photos could be taken. I didn’t have my good camera along, so this reminder of photographers should suffice here.
We then hurried through a park to get to our hotel, which was unusual with a “split horse” in front. And then off to the airport we went, just as it began raining again! (I hope you noticed that I managed to get some animals in this blog, just not live ones. 😊)
Goodbye from Quebec City!