Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quebec City- France in North America

We were amazed!  Walking through the old city of Quebec felt like we were in a village in France.   The fortress entrance of the walled city, complete with violin player instead of knight, transported us across the Atlantic to Europe.  The cobbled/bricked streets and quaint shops with signs all in French reminded me of my trip to France and gave Greg and the kids their first taste of the old world.

Arriving at the Quebec Hilton, I was determined to not be nice to any French Canadian after our rude treatment and ridiculous fine at the border.  I immediately found out that Meg Ryan was right.  In French Kiss, she said, "The key to French waiters: If you're nice to them, they treat you like s^&t. Treat them like s&(t, they love you."  That theory seemed to work on all the natives I met and before long, I was in a good mood again.  So I was nice to them, then...  go figure. We were in a vicious cycle the whole trip.

We strolled the streets on the mist filled day, window-shopping and exploring the layout of the city.  

We walked all through the upper city to the water wall overlooking the lower city and the port.  The kids loved playing on the cannons at the fort seawall and Greg and I were interested in seeing the Queen Mary 2 docked in the St. Lawrence River.

Still determined not to spend any money in Canada, we paraded through Le Chateau Frontenac, one of the oldest hotels in Quebec City, and smiled and nodded, but bought nothing.  

Around lunch time with our granola bar breakfast long gone from our bellies, the smells of the cafes hit us hard.  We decided on a small, family-friendly place with a 3 course luncheon menu. I was immediately glad we chose the cafe because the wait staff made the kids feel right at home.  I hadn't realized how weirded out they were about the border crossing event and the foreignness of the city.  The waiters joked and teased and one even talked of vacationing in South Carolina.  After our meal, we all felt more relaxed and at ease.  

Seeing a statue of Champlain, I was glad we came to Quebec City.  We had just finished studying the exploration period of world history and seeing the French explorer in his new world helped me remember why we wanted to take this sabbatical year: to show our kids; not just tell them about it or read it in a book.  Seeing this city made that lesson stick. (At least with me...)

Feeling better about Canada, Anabel and I split from the family to search for a Christmas shop to buy our Christmas ornament.  She picked out a lovely moose.  Perfect!

Across the street from the Christmas shop, we found a beautiful cathedral and decided to go in a light a candle for a safe rest of the trip.  

We are missing our regular church in Canton and our extended church family so it was nice to come in on rainy day and kneel down and just pray.  I hadn't realized how stressed I was until then because I felt so much better after praying.  We toured the beautiful church and I gave Anabel a short lesson on the history of the Catholic Church.  What a great way to spend a rainy day in a strange city, right?

Walking back to the hotel, we picked up soup and sandwiches for dinner and some pastries for breakfast in the morning.  The violin player strummed Mozart our whole way home.

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