bonjour du Québec

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This weekend we visited Quebec City. What an amazing place (although I wish I knew more about Canadian history as I'm sure I would have had a greater appreciation for the place.) I knew that Quebec was the centre for the French part of Canada, but I still don't think I was prepared for the full reality of the place, as it is pretty much ONLY French speaking. In Toronto, all the signs and labelling are in French and English, but in Quebec everything is just written, spoken and done in French. Although I have never actually been to Paris, I kept thinking that's where I was. It was quite a wonderful experience.

We left Toronto's Union Station at 11:00pm on Thursday night and basically drove all night to be in Quebec but the early morning. First stop was a lovely little chalet called Chez Marie where we had a delicious breakfast, then we drove to an amazing cathedral at St Anne de Beaupre. This cathedral was huge, and I couldn't get over the huge collection of walking sticks, canes and frames that adorned the pillars at the front of the aisle, which had apparently been abandoned by those who claimed they were cured after visiting the cathedral.

We then went to Quebec City, the only fortified city in North America, and spent the afternoon wandering around its quaint streets, looking in shops and checking out the incredible old buildings. We found some ice slides down behind the Chateau Frontenac, and had a bit of fun there, before making our way towards the bottom of the town, where Kate made herself a new teddy to replace Rabbit, who went missing on the plane in Vancouver.

Friday night, Alex and I wandered down to the Place Hydro Quebec, to enjoy the festivities and the opening party for the Winter Carnival. The city has so much colour and light, and has such a European feel to it.

The next day was my birthday, and we were supposed to get on our bus to visit the Ice Hotel and Montmorency Falls, but as we boarded the bus Kate said she wasn't feeling well. Donna decided to take Kate back to the room and planned to meet up with us after lunch so we could see the rest of the town together. The Ice Hotel was also incredible, made entirely of only ice and snow, and it melts in the spring and then gets rebuilt every year. Montmorency Falls was spectacular, and the bridge over the actual falls gave an amazing perspective to them.

On arriving back at the hotel however, we were given a message that Donna had taken Kate to the hospital, Hotel Dieu de Quebec, so Alex and I rushed down there by taxi to find that Kate had been diagnosed with pnuemonia. It was quite a traumatic experience to be in a hospital with a sick child in a strange city, where very few people spoke English. We did not leave the hopital till quite late in the day, and eventually took Kate back to the hotel where she spent the evening in bed. I went out looking for a pharmacy and fortunately found one where the pharmacist spoke quite good English.

Alex and I went out to the Plaines d'Abraham that evening to look at the main centre for the Bonhomme celebrations, and then we all had dinner at the Hilton's restaurant. It was a nice evening, and Kate was feeling much better. It's a shame that we didn't get to see more of Quebec City, but at least we plan to get back here in the summer with the Robs when they come over.

Enjoy the photos...

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