Quebec....je me soviens!
Trip Start Jan 16, 2011
12Trip End Ongoing
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The train station was bigger, there were more people, the traffic was louder and the buildings were taller. Perhaps arriving during the evening rush hour wasn't such a great idea in hindsight. After the usual process of finding our feet in the hostel and getting something to eat, we'd begin sightseeing the following day.
Walking through the city, the European influence was very evident from the buildings and street signs, however, unlike Quebec City, the tall buildings here were generally belonging to concrete skyscrapers with the usual financial institution logos attached to them.
The other big change we noticed was the serious drop in temperatures, down to a very harsh -7 at some points, with the added wind chill factor making sure we got plenty of use from our winter layers.
As is the case quite often, the old part of the city was certainly more charming and grand and we came across some free Christmas Carols being performed by a professional choir within the very beautiful Bon Secour de Notre Dame Chapel. As odd as it sounds, but being away from the usual madness of Christmas shopping and TV adverts, neither of us had really felt the Christmas spirit as usual, so it definitely pushed up the Xmas Factor levels.
Sunday afternoon gave a us a real surprise when we went on an organised walk from the hostel to Park Mont Royal, a snow capped summit that overlooks the city which really blew us away with it's beauty and views.
The park itself was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead who is the same gentleman that designed Central Park in New York, so I suppose that's always got to be a good starting point on the CV.
We were met by all manner of folk there, from the Sunday afternoon strollers, to dog walkers, some brave joggers and even one or two people getting some cross country skiing in. Whilst the views were amazing, it was the almost complete silence that was more astounding, especially as we were so close to the big city below.
Coming down the otherside of the mountain, we stopped off in the Mont Royal district from some of the local "cuisine." I say "cuisine" as I'm not so sure some top chefs would class it in that category. The dish is called Poutine and is something that Quebec is very proud of, and Canadians are very fond of.
The basic serving is made up of a large portion of fries, which are then smoothed in gravy and topped off with some cheese curds. I've tried it a couple of times before while living in Halifax, but considering most Irish people say that Guinness only tastes good in Ireland, I figured it would be best consumed in the place of it's birth before giving it a full review. And the results are in the photos attached to this entry....
On our last evening in the city we had a mini pub crawl courtesy of a friend of ours, Vanessa, who we met when she spent a few days in the Halifax last September
Our stop offs in the province of Quebec were indeed short but most definitely sweet. Although I said it in the previous entry, I think I should comment again on how welcoming and pleasant the people of Quebec were to us, making us feel very welcome. Add that to the beautiful sights and sounds that we've experienced and it's safe to say that we will remember Quebec with more than a hint of fondness, and as the locals say, "Quebec, je me soviens" (Quebec, I remember)
We're currently in Toronto, another step up on the big-city scale, so there's lots to see and do, however the rain and mist haven't heard we're in town and has stopped us from doing the biggest thing of all, getting to the top of CN Tower. We're keeping our fingers crossed that it'll be open again tomorrow so we can scale the 553 meters to top of one of the tallest buildings in the world.