After what seemed like the whole day travelling [and a time zone change] from Calgary to Quebec, we checked into a hotel close to the airport, and then the next morning transferred into Quebec City.
We stayed in a Bed and Breakfast which had mixed reviews, but its location was perfect. As it turned out it was just fine, a bit old and worn on the edges, but fine. The owner was a bit brusque, but I think that was more a ‘lost in translation’ thing than actually rude [like some of the comments had been]. We arrived hours before check-in, but he very kindly stored our luggage, gave us a map and advice for our own walking tour.
We headed on out into the freezing temperatures, suitably rugged up and hoping it wouldn’t snow. Quebec City is a French speaking city, but it [Quebec] is actually a word from the First Nations’s people. But the city itself does however have a French history and that is apparent everywhere. With the old buildings, the cobbled streets and French being the local language.
We walked up and down, along and down, upstairs, downstairs, along boardwalks and up the Funicular – it [the Funicular] wasn’t worth it! [A funicular is a small cable car that transports you up a hill, for those of you who didn’t know!!] $3.50CAD each for a 30 second ride … a genuine tourist trap, especially if you are fit and able!! After walking the gorgeous Skye for a month we are certainly fit and able.
Everywhere we walked there were charming streets, gorgeous buildings and statues and waterfalls on every corner and in every park. For those of you who have been following along on this journey, you will know that I love them so my appetite for sculptures has been sated for a while [just a bit!]. From the ships maiden head to the fountains, busts and famous people, halloween figures and more modern sculpture, there is art a plenty. And then there are the incredible murals to be found inside the city’s walls. All just fabulous.
As we walked along the promenade boardwalk and climbed the many stairs [no Funicular here!] we found ourselves at the famous Citadele fortifications [which was having huge reconstruction undertaken – actually there was a lot of reconstruction happening across the city in general]. The huge battlefields, cannons and the Plains of Abraham are full of such ancient history. Battles and Wars from a time gone by. Lives lost, battles lost, borders lost leaving a city that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts 4.4 million visitors a year. That is the population of New Zealand traipsing through a city the size of maybe … Napier?!?
We visited the Houses of Parliament which are located in a beautiful building built in the lates 1800’s. There are several statues here, but I loved the ones of the women in politics – a tribute to those that demanded that women be given the right to vote. It is good to know that little old New Zealand led the charge on this front, being the first country in the world to give women the vote. There had been a film shoot over the previous couple of days [as Parliament isn’t sitting] and it had a ‘crib’ in one chamber and a hospital bed in the other – the guide very dryly noted that having a job in parliament is from the cradle to the grave!!
Across from the Parliament building is the Tourny Fountain – we saw it each day we were in the city – the first day we stopped as it was so impressive with all its Angels and fountain heads and the second day we stopped again because it had frozen!!!
I tell you it was sooooooo cold in Quebec City and seeing the fountain frozen just proved how cold it was. From here we visited the Plains of Abraham Museum and learnt of the battles from the mid 1700’s to the siege of Quebec. The uniforms and guns that they wore back then were so heavy, it is a wonder that anyone actually shot anything or anyone!
Because we knew that we had one more day in the city once we checked-in on the ship, we left the ‘civilisation’ museum and the Montmorency Falls till we had boarded. Our first night on the ship was in Port, and it gave us great views of the city by night. It was lightly snowing when went to bed, but nothing that really was going to stop us exploring, and we even rugged up and watched a movie on the deck under the stars.
After a lazy start to the day we went to the Museum of Civilisation – we really needed more time here [hmmm perhaps shouldn’t have been so lazy!] A really interesting Museum that had showcases of different societies and eras across Quebec’s history. Most of it is relatable to history in general – we could have done with another hour here! I especially loved the shoes exhibit, but the most fascinating was the incredible exhibition where they asked people to send in their pictures so that could put face recognition to the test, but they were going to try it on 2,000 year old sculptures and works of art.
Over 100,000 people [from all over the world] sent in their pictures to see if they had a doppelgänger from the past. The results were incredible and of the 25 selected, there was a strikingly spooky resemblance to their ‘doppelgänger’ from the past. I will put a couple here for you to see, because I found it totally fascinating.
Dionysus vs Antoine
Greek mythology god 1250 BC vs Montreal Child 2016 AD
A God vs a Child
Demosthenes vs Jean Potvin
Politician vs Painter
Athens Greece 384 BC vs Quebec City 1947 AD
Oratory Art vs Painter
Gave speeches with pebbles in his mouth vs doesn’t mince his words
And I don’t know the details of this one…forgot to take a picture of the details!
So that is part one … stand by for part 2!