Thursday, January 16, 2020

Autumn in Canada #12

Autumn in Canada
Friday, October 11, 2019
Quebec, Canada

          Well, this is the last full day of our cruise, we have an excursion planned for 2:30 this afternoon.
          Breakfast was in the Rotterdam Dining Room with a large table with visiting people from Kansas. After breakfast, reality came when we found a large envelope by our door with “Disembarkation Instructions” printed on it.

          The sun was shining and it was still early so we decided to stroll around the city of Quebec. The announcement came over the ship’s PA system saying it was a warmer day than expected with a gentle breeze, BUT Bill looked out the window and saw the flags flying stiffly in the wind…and when we got to the gangway, it was freezing!

          We walked down Rue Dalhousie to Corte de la Montagne then to du Sault au Matelot. We saw the most amazing painted wall of a town scene from the 1700s. It was in a small courtyard with a French gentleman playing a keyboard of romantic French music. We sat on the bench and listened and were amazed at the large mural. Then he played La Vie a Rose. Everyone in the courtyard taking pictures stopped and watched the musician. It was lovely.

          We continued down du Sault au Matelot and found a snow globe trying to blow fake snow around a bust of someone (there was no plaque for a name.) We continued noticing how beautifully the town decorated for harvest time, i.e., pumpkins, straw, dried stalks, flowers. It was amazing!

We found the Flenicularie, a small car that went up the steep stairs to the top of the hill. We decided to pay 3,50C ($3.50 Canadian dollars. When we reached the top there was a boardwalk that wrapped around the entire hill.

The view from the Terrasse Dufferine was amazing! We could see across the St Lawrence River to the city of Levy. The city was dotted with steeples and a few high rises surrounded with trees turning colors. It was an amazing view. A woman was singing Opera in French accompanied by pre-recorded music. We met up with the two ladies from Utah and we all decided to explore the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac.

They began building it in the late 1700s and finished building to its current size in the mid-1800s. It was huge, had spires, and was shaped in a capital E. Lobby reminded me of some of the French palaces we saw when we were in Paris. We decided to take the Fenicularie back down and walked through old down with narrow cobblestone streets, old restored building shops, and tall trees.
          We made it back to the ship at 11:30, frozen to the bone and hungry. We ate poolside at the Drive-In. A sandwich place and a taco bar.  We ate poolside

          The call came at 1:45 for our 2:30 UNESCO Historic tour of Quebec City. While waiting for the tour bus, Janet struck up a conversation with two local ladies. They were sitting on a park bench watching the ships go by. Janet mistook them for guests on the ship. One of them spoke broken English, the other no English at all. Bill joined them and we had a nice conversation using a few French words, a few English words, and some hand signs. When the tour bus arrived we hugged the ladies, they kissed Janet on both cheeks.  When we stood to leave, Bill shook hands with them and said "Enchanté" (Nice to meet you).  He really charmed them!

          As we waited for our tour bus with the rest of the group, the two ladies came up to Janet one last time and wished us "Bon Voyage" and blew Janet a kiss. They were very sweet ladies.

          As we stood on line to enter the bus, it was the wrong bus and the company had to send a second bus. So our tour was delayed for 20 minutes. The new bus was much nice and very comfortable. Our tour guide was Roger Napier, a local in Quebec. He spoke excellent English and took us beyond Quebec city limits. However, first, they stopped and let us out downtown to the north of where we were earlier. We stopped at the Information Center on Rue de Buade and Rue Du Fort. The people were very helpful in giving us information about Montreal. We only had 20 minutes and walked down Saint Anne and turned down a small cobblestone street du Tresor. There was an art show of local artists, beautiful watercolors, acrylics, etchings, oil and pencil drawings, really nice stuff, and expensive. We happened across a hidden outdoor restaurant with a courtyard a fire pit. We were running out of time so headed back down Rue de Fort. A French gentleman in a light blue suit and hat was singing what appeared to be French folks songs. Locals were crowded around him, dancing, clapping their hands and singing along in French. It was a very sweet scene.

          Since our tour was delayed we were now stuck in rush hour traffic. We drove around the Plains of Abraham, a battlefield site of a battle between the French and the British in 1759 where the British defeated the French. Across the fields were the Parliament building for the province of Quebec and a statue of Joan d’Arc. Much happened in this small area. The first Catholic diocese in New France was established here and extended from Quebec all the way to Louisiana until the Louisiana purchase by the US in 1803 for 13 million dollars. Now the French regret selling!

          Our guide went on about hockey teams and other trivia to kill time while we were stuck in traffic. We finally arrived back at the ship just as the Queen Mary 2, docked in front of us, was leaving port.  After the half dozen tour members with wheelchairs, motorized scooters, and canes got off the bus, we hightailed it to our cabin to wash up and change for our dinner.
10 Restaurant

          Our reservations at the Caneletto Italian Restaurant were courtesy of the AAA which arranged our trip. It was strict semi formal dress restaurant. After touring all ay, we were lucky to look as good as we did! We both had the seafood Italian wedding soup, and lamb chops which were all delicious.
11 Packing

          Back in our cabin, we got down to the business of packing for disembarking in the morning. Our dismemberment time is 9:30 AM, but we will be able to have breakfast beforehand. Bill will contacted Uber and arranged transportation to the Le Centre Sheraton Hotel in Montreal. We hope they will let us check in early, otherwise we’ll have to have them store our bags until check-in time. We always hate this part of a cruise, because we’ve become very comfortable with our cabin and the ship.  Plus we have to put our bags out in the hallway before midnight for pickup at the dock in the morning. We were exhausted and fell asleep immediately.

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