Hello Family and Friends! The story continues….we hope you will enjoy it!
Tuesday, Oct 28 – Old Quebec City
After a pleasant drive from Sutton, we arrived in Quebec City. The main road into Old Quebec was under construction so we had to follow a lengthy detour. Signed well, but threw Joe the driver for a loop (literally) when he had mapped out both the car rental return address and the next apartment. We ended up parking at a half way point between the two and walking to each to find the exact locations. Joe the driver was now anxious to be rid of the car and I don’t blame him.
We found the apartment building – right in Old Quebec City on a steep hill with a few shops and restaurants. The location was perfect and steps away from the main streets. We had our luggage in tow and detailed ‘translated to English’ instructions from our host on getting the keys and finding the apartment within the building. Retriving the keys from the lockbox was no problem but finding the apartment was a little more difficult. This is the instructions:
Open the door of the building, take the staircase which it finds last the main staircase, fall and the apartment is the one with the red carpet.
I took ‘fall’ to be a typo for ‘hall’ as there were many of them and staircases too; narrow and noisy. We went up and down and over; dropping bags as we searched, to be retrieved later and still no red carpet. Finally we found a carpet with trees and a little bit of red so I knocked on the door. A nice young girl answered (so happy I didn’t try the key first) and I showed her the instructions but she couldn’t figure it out either.
Back down to the front door we went (no more smiley faces now) so I could call our host and out of nowhere he appears. He (Fabrice) seemed a slight perturbed that we had trouble finding the apartment. (Why didn’t he just put an apartment number on the door??) He took us up one staircase and then down one (‘fall’ in the instructions) and there was the red carpet!! Viola! We dumped our bags and went back to return the car. Yippee!
This apartment was great; a bright and clean studio. I have come to realize the male hosts are as good, if not better, than the women. The table was set, fridge full of water, good amount of supplies and the best thing – a brand new shower curtain. For me, and I would think most women, this is the clincher! (Or should I say clinger?) lol
After another completed ‘moving day’, Joe had a hamburger craving so we went to a nice little pub for dinner. We each had a beer, soup, an appie and shared a hamburger and the bill was $75! The taxes in Quebec were killing us! GST plus another 9.975% QST. Makes the bill jump very quickly. And of course the receipt has the calculations for you on a tip; usually starting at 15% to 30%. Ouch. We still joke about going for a $75 hamburger.
Wednesday, Oct 29
We went for our morning walk around the Plains of Abraham. Sounds so bizarre to say that! Lots of history here and we try and educate ourselves by reading the plaques at the tourist spots; however here they are only in French. We get the French language thing, but being in a tourist hot spot you would think even a small English translation would be allowable. But, no. So I relied on Joe’s excellent memory of high school history (I must have skipped that subject!) and Google filled in the blanks. Joe’s high school French also came back to him little by little every day so he became our translator. Hahaha
Actually we never really had a problem with the people speaking French/English in Quebec. We always respectfully started with ‘Bonjour – Hello!’ and whomever we were speaking to, immediately switched to English. Some restaurant menus were not in English so that was a bit challenging, but believe me; we never missed a meal.
Today we walked back to the neighborhood we stayed in 10 years ago and found the hotel and the restaurant district. I remember at that time, the restaurant hostesses standing outside in the cold, try to lure you with their menus. Still some great restaurants there but we couldn’t find the one with the extensive underground wine cellar that we had toured. Some places were empty, now there was a McDonald’s and Starbucks (so wrong here). Signs of the times.
Tonight we were going out! It was Jazzfest in Quebec City and Joe found a hotel nearby with a performance for only $20. We decided to have dinner first at the restaurant and I knew I was going to need something new to wear. (Oh darn!) My ‘uniform’ for nice dinners needed a backup. Just a light, washer friendly, wrinkle proof, dressy top that would go with everything. Uurrgg. I managed to find something so I was set.
Joe also shopped today. It was cold here (around 5-10 degrees) and he needed gloves and a scarf. He looked at gloves for hours it seemed! They also had to meet certain requirements; warm but light, grips for hiking and store flat in pockets. (I think he secretly likes shopping now.)
Dinner and the jazz show was at the Hotel Clarendon, the oldest operating hotel in Quebec City. Very beautiful inside. Dinner was a set menu; not fantastic but enjoyable. The Jazz artist, Halle Loren and her band were incredible! They played some standards and some more current tunes. Halle Loren’s voice was beautiful and she moved both gracefully and seductively while she sang – in a slinky red dress. Joe seemed mesmerized so I had to kick him under the table a few times. (Kidding) Great evening out on the town!
Thursday, Oct 30
Today we walked the Plains of Abraham again but went down, down to the lower level. A beautiful crisp (=cold) and sunny morning.
Later we walked around and then went into, the Hotel Frontenac and lobby. Such a beautiful hotel. It is an icon of Old Quebec and has breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River. Sadly we are not staying here, however; Jordan and Amy, along with their PAD puppy, are – next week. Lucky them! Too bad our timing was off by a few days; would have been wonderful to spend some time with them here. (And crash on their couch LOL).
After talking to my sista Linda this week about our clothes and packing, etc., Joe and I went through our suitcases and found a few things each that we could easily part with, boxed them up and shipped them to Linda to store for us. It only amounted to 6 #’s altogether but made a significant difference in our bags; weight and space wise. Perhaps one day, I can shop again!
It was very cold here now. Scarfs, layers, gloves, all required. That damn wind!
Pictures of our neighbourhood:
This art display was in front of the train station:
And this was in a space between two buildings:
Fall / Halloween displays – so much colour!
Friday, Oct 31 – Happy Halloween!
Today we went down to Lower Town; Basse-Ville. Very historical architecture, murals, cobble streets. Shops were mostly tourist traps, but lots of art and antiques shops. Some nice restaurants and cafes. Apparently it comes to life at night; was pretty quiet during our tour. Worth the visit.
I love this shot I got:
Tonight we went for a 7 course dinner at Saint-Amour; a fabulous restaurant 1/2 block from our apartment. Paul McCartney and his band dined here! We found a coupon for this dinner which included a bottle of wine. Magnificent! We savoured each and every bite; the flavours exploded in our mouths. Here is the menu but missing a couple of courses – smoked salmon with candied duck and raspberry sorbet:
It was our ‘treat’ for Halloween. This dinner will be remembered.
Saturday, Nov 1
We had eaten most of our groceries so we got to go out for breakfast today. The restaurant was French and the meal came with a delicious, sweet, warm crepe. The waitress wore a very strange outfit.
We also went for a Great Itailian dinner; last night in Canada for 9 months! Cheers!
Sunday, Nov 2 – Depart for Atlanta, Georgia
This was a long day – left our Quebec apartment at 8am and got to our hotel in Georgia at 8pm. Had to fly to Toronto first (good memories Michelle!!). Two hour layover was consumed by customs, security (again) and a quick bite. On to the next flight. The Atlanta airport is massive – shuttle to this, sky train to that. I think getting to the car rental building was longer than the flight from Toronto! But we arrived and the sun was shining and it was WARM and wonderful. On the road again. 🙂
We had a Nice drive in our cute little compact car, to Macon, Georgia for an overnighter. We didn’t have a chance to really map out our route to Macon while in Toronto, so we were just winging it from Joe’s review of Google maps last night. Lord Have Mercy on this day. And he did….by some miracle, we took the correct exits and turned here and there and found our hotel.
We went for dinner at a little Mexican restaurant nearby and had our first taste of Southern Hospitality. The people here are SO nice – they ask you how you are and mean it. Everyone says hello to everyone. Our waitress checked with us at least 3 times to see how we were going; the Manager twice. And they were both so sweet!
We are going to love it here too!! Every where we go is so awesome!
Tomorrow we drive to Savannah…..to be continued.