Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Canada Trip - Old Quebec City - Day 1

On Sunday we took the train to Quebec City, specifically to visit the old city. It left exactly on time at 9am, and was extremely comfortable including power, plenty of legroom and free WIFI (QR, and even our airlines could take some lessons here). We arrived at the 'Gare du Palais' and a short uphill walk took us to the city walls (this is the only walled city north of Mexico), past some interesting street sculptures and a cute little electric bus. The city was founded in 1608 and is a world heritage site. The streets are in no order whatsoever, so it took a while to find the Tourist Info Centre, but eventually it was located. Passing some street performance in the square, we then took our small overnight bags to our hotel - Hotel Louisbourg, and were able to check in, even though it was early. The room was minute, and at the top of an old wooden staircase. There were only 4 rooms on each floor. As usual we went in search of a supermarket to get food. This was outside 'Old Quebec' and we had to somehow fight through a very large crowd of older people who seemed to be lined up to see a Johnny Cash show. We had an audio walking tour on the iPod, and a few different walking tours in a book, but kept getting lost with where they were up to, so we opted to wander around, and I listened to the MP3s at the relevant spots. Our tour took us along the edge of the escarpment on Terrasse Dufferin (a boardwalk), and the Promenade des Gouvernors (with 310 steps). This brought us to the Plains of Abraham & Parc des Champs-de-Bataille,, battle sites from 1759/60. From here we walked up to the fortifications and the the Citadelle, which we were surprised to find is still a military base for the Royal 22nd Regiment. There was a sentry outside in camouflage uniform, and inside were two sentries in pill-boxes, they seemed to be keeping very still, and we eventually realised they were actually dummies! The one outside was definitely real. We have never seen so many cannons in one location! The streets were also crowded with lots of tourists, some being conveyed by horse and cart. A street performer put on a good show with acrobatics, unicycling tricks and juggling. There are some really beautiful old stone buildings inside the walls, but it is a shame where modern ones, which look out of place have been built.

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