We spent the Labour Day weekend this year in Québec City. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision based on a profound need for some time spent exploring, just us three and may have been one of the nicest little vacations I’ve ever had.
We have never really travelled. It was something that we just did not have the funds to do on a whim and this was therefore a real treat for all of us. I love the province of Québec. I love the people, the culture, the language and the scenery. Most of the time I’ve spent there has been in Montreal, however, and Montreal has a very different type of energy.
Québec City was selected because we could walk everywhere (and not bother with renting a car) and because there was enough to do in an extended weekend, but not so much that we would regret having only four days.
And did we ever have fun! Katherine is old enough now to withstand the rigours of travel with a minimal amount of whining, even when utterly exhausted due to flight delays and missed connections. We’ve finally reached the point where we are no longer parents to a little child and is a vast relief. I used to feel pangs of regret that this portion of my life was somehow over, but I’m realizing now how much richness is contained in the greater freedoms that come with children growing up a little and, frankly, I’m celebrating it. Kids are a lot of work.
We wandered through the fort, explored the township, climbed over walls, and John and I got up in the early morning together and ran through the Fields of Abraham as the sun crept up over the fortress walls; it was magical.
We rented a couple of bikes from the amazingly kind and helpful folks at Cyclo Services and made our way out to les Chutes Montmorency (Quebec bike trails are INCREDIBLE!).
There were crepes, gelato and burgers at Trois Garçons and so much walking that our feet ached at the end of each day.
We went to a climbing gym, Délire Escalade, where Katherine got to play for a couple of hours thanks to a very nice belayer, named Olivier, who was able to teach her a few techniques along the way and managed to get me to leave the floor and try the wall, too. I found out that I rather enjoy the climbing, but am less-than-thrilled at trusting an auto-belay system (you have to let go of the wall, actually start to plummet and THEN it catches you and eases you down. When you’re forty feet up, this is quite the leap of faith.)
There were also geocaches:
And more geocaches:
The funniest story may have been in the cab ride to the airport, heading home. Our driver was a retired fellow, quite garrulous, and genuinely thrilled to have Newfoundlanders in his vehicle, because, you see, we have the “best moose!” He was a hunter and quite the avid one at that. He filled the whole ride with tales of his woes, how the deer apples that he laid out near his hunting cabin were constantly stolen by the raccoons, but only HIS apples. Those of the men in the next cabin were untouched. He spoke in English out of deference to John and Katherine, but at one point he couldn’t put his tongue on a word (he was looking for the translation for “liquorice”) and slipped into French, hunting for the translation. When I responded in French, he stayed there and rattled on about hunting still more, only he had switched topics slight and wasn’t on deer or moose any longer. John was staring at me quizzically, looking for a translation, as the driver was growing increasingly animated and gesticulating wildly. “Anise. Attracts bears. At night. Not good,” I managed to squeeze out between sentences.
We all had a good laugh at that one and it really topped off the visit nicely. Thanks, Quebec, we’ll be back. I’m hooked.