Quebec City: A Charming Embodiment

Quebec City is the most European of any city in North America, they speak French all the time. There is a part of town called Old Quebec which is really like being in France. The architecture is just gorgeous, food, shopping. I’d say Quebec city is the most beautiful city in North America I’ve seen.” (Sebastian Bach”)

We’d reached the end of our sixteen day cruise in late summer and eagerly awaited a relaxing, four day conclusion to our latest vacation in historic Quebec City. Seeing again the majestic towers of the Chateau Frontenac Hotel, as we sailed in along the St. Lawrence Seaway, I quickly re-imagined our youthful frolicking in a winter holiday wonderland during our first trip to Quebec City in the late 1970s. Vivid memories of those exhilarating moments for us remain. In walled section of medieval Vieux-Québec, I recall wandering aimlessly with playful naïveté at the time as we felt true romance in sharing a dripping cheese fondue over a warm fireplace then. I also flashback to admiring images of stately carriages hauled by horse and buggy in bitter cold air. Strong memories also survive of us getting lost in the narrow cobblestone streets with limited direction/distance tools to follow as steep hills provided little challenge to our youthful vigor.

Being now seasoned travelers in our early retirement years, we realized with optimism that our enduring resolve to settle into the present moment of travel would provide a similarly satisfying visit to Quebec City in late summer 2019. In particular, I would thus feel free to set out on my own to seriously photograph historic landmarks around Quebec while my wife could embrace the social company of her Canadian friends. You might then say that our 2019 Quebec visit provided a successful test of the enduring strength of our 40+ years marriage as we mutually respected each others differing sightseeing interests in a non- possessive way Enjoy the uplifting spirit of Quebec City “now” in the following photographs.

On this cruise visit to Quebec City, we cut short our first city walk on a cold and drizzly summer morning.

Yet in spite of such foul weather, spectacular artistry designs captured my photographic attention there.

Facing a steep climb in North America’s oldest walled city, I gazed with wonder at the unfolding panorama of Vieux-Québec.

Booking a four night stay just outside the old city walls at the Hilton Quebec, our 12th floor suite offered gorgeous views of the Quebec City regional skyline.

Taking strenuous walks from the Hilton to and from the old city each day offered us plenty of cardio activity.

Our Canadian friends, Fabienne and Claire accompanied us on a long walking tour along the St. Lawrence River via the historic heights of the Plains Of Abraham.

Descending by steep steps to a shaded board walk below the Hotel Chateau Frontenac came impressively into view.

I’m not known for window shopping in our city travels, but this display caught my interest for sure.

So did the colorful sidewalk displays of late summer flowers.

Admiring the impressive medieval facade of the Chateau Frontenac, we took a curious peak at its lavish interior.

Reentering Old Quebec, we passed  through the old city wall. A sentimental saunter amidst the lively cobblestone streets of Vieux Quebec then provided a romantic twist to our latest visit.

At the Plains Of Abraham Museum, l experienced the sounds/sights of colonial era warfare associated with the British invasion of Quebec City during the French and Indian War.

Outside the museum, a short path led to the restored ramparts of      “ The Citadel”, marking a key site for French defense of the city from British control in 1759.

I noticed how an imaginative redesign of a historic church could now function as a modern library.

As an esteemed center of wellness provision in Quebec City, Le Monastery des Augustines provided a celebratory setting of healthy food options for our last meal in Quebec City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnificent Maritime Motion

When I’m in Canada, I feel this is what the world should be like.” (Jane Fonda)

Sometimes a wandering mind can render direction or distance guidance virtually useless. For in restraining oneself from scheduling a designated path to a destination, interesting sidetrack discoveries surprisingly appear. So as Ruth and I observed cool, sunny weather, as we reached the most northerly portions of our recent cruise along the Atlantic seaboard, we opted to ignore guided tour temptations and simply walk on our own ashore.

Spontaneous sightings quickly arose then along our itinerary of one day stopovers in maritime Canada. Along the shoreline, a festive, local flavor took place as we ambled short distances from our cruise ship. Further inland, our steep climbs uphill would find immediate rewards of spectacular panoramas of downtown skylines. Wandering around through “Old Town” districts, we savored authentic treasures along narrow streets reminiscent of past British rule. To slow down our pace in the rising heat of summer afternoon, a shaded park bench to rest inspired captivating glimpses of nature’s glory. Heading back to our ship with some time to shop, we feasted our eyes on inexpensive buys at outdoor markets filled with eager local merchants.

In the spirit of these serendipitous cruise memories, then, I thus offer the following photographs for your enjoyment.

SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK

As we exited our cruise ship in Saint John Harbor, I immediately noticed the fresh summer profusion of summer flowers lining streets into downtown on this quiet summer morning.

Taking a short but challenging hike uphill, Trinity Church remains as an impressive landmark of past British Loyalism in St. John.

Nearby the church, we took a short rest surrounded by the eerie sight of the Old Loyalist Burial Ground.

Touring City Market, we noticed an old industrial warehouse now functioned as a bustling shopping corridor for local wares.

We also admired the authentic mercantile artifacts exhibited at historic Barbour’s Country Store.

Returning downhill to our ship, trendy Market Square Convention Center returned our mindset to the gentrified world of modern 21st century design. Why then would I forego my cellphone for a British phone booth in making a call ?

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA

Offering a distinctive multicultural “feel”, our walking tour in midweek began with a curious stroll along the the Halifax Harbor “Green” for a taste of the town’ festive summer spirit.

On this cool, sunny morning, an aspiring teenage trombonist played a song for us to accentuate the “electric” Canadian vibes we were feeling then.

Occupying the strategic high ground of the city, Halifax Citadel remains as a symbolic landmark, marking over two hundred years of Canadian military history. The sentry shown in the photo below put on quite a “tourist friendly” show.

Still functioning as a thriving gathering point in Halifax, we ducked into the Public Gardens in midday to escape the busy downtown crowds. A lazy walk through the park revealed an intricately designed ground pleasantly dotted with manicured gardens, Victorian era sculptures, and a slow moving stream.

Returning to our ship along a quiet side street, I attentively noted the pleasing sight of these colorful matching sets in row houses and doors.

SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA

Sailing into remote Glace Bay on Cape Breton Island to Sydney, we did not anticipate such a spirited community welcome for the arrival of cruise passengers.

As we hiked inland along Ferry Street to a Provincial Park on a cool afternoon, we soon realized that this pleasant spot along an inland river had once been the unsightly industrial scene of a iron and steel production yard/facility..

At the Old Town Hall Heritage Museum, historic memorabilia vividly displayed the struggles and triumphs of Sydney’s proud citizens to remain an independent municipality amidst political upheaval resulting from an unfolding environmental crisis.

Through the eyes of a local child, Sydney today, remains a beautifully inviting place to live.

 

 

 

 

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