Sunday, July 05, 2015

Parlez-vous français ? Well, it depends...

 On my first trip ever to Quebec City, I knew French was the language of choice in that Province.

One instance where knowing the language was not a major requirement happened when I visited Parc de la Chute - Montmorency.

The guidebook was correct in suggesting a trip just 8 miles from downtown to see a magnificent waterfall, taller than Niagara Falls!

The Visitor Centre seemed to realize what the sound of all that rushing water would do to a person.

Nearing the falls, you hiked up stairs - with many photo opp stops - and heard the sound get louder and louder.

You soon reach a bridge that lets you look down on the fast-flowing torrents.

It's fascinating. Beautiful and powerful.

Then you look around for a bathroom.

Hmm, not way up here on the side of a mountain.

The staff at the Centre knew the look and pointed you in the right direction.

The Parc, er, I mean, Park, is well laid-out with hiking trails, picnic tables in shaded areas, and an aerial tramway system lower down.

On the other side, you can see wooden stairs that lead down to a spot almost beneath the falls.

People were down there, dampened by the spray from the falling water.

 Did not do those soggy stairs on my last day in Vieux Quebec.

Earlier in our 4-day stay, we had looked out over the St. Lawrence River and saw where the British had massed for an invasion.

The attack did not happen but there was a well-armed fort - La Citadelle - perched high on a hill with cannons aimed in all directions.

It is still an active military base and we hiked up the hill to see a 10 am changing of the guard.

They say Quebec City is a walking place. And that is true, but most of the walking seemed to be uphill. LOL.

But, travel is "broadening," so ample exercise balances out the delicious foods one finds.

This was a major Summer daily event and crowds surrounded the massive parade field as the current guard unit assembled and awaited the arrival of their replacements.

Yes. I did notice the presence of the 22nd Regiment's official mascot.

A polite, well-mannered goat.

Kept very still but was alertly eyeing the crowd.

The military band marched out and played the music needed to accomplish the changeover from one group of soldiers for another.

Both ranks were in their impressive tailored red coats, tall fuzzy black "shako" hats and ramrod straight posture.

Our visit coincided with the annual June 24 "La Fete Nationale, " the birthday of St. John the Baptist celebration, so there were bands and entertainment all around the city.

Here, by the famed historical mural, a crowd was seated for musical performances honoring the Quebec National Holiday.

We were told the celebration starts the evening of June 23, a full day of revelry including a huge bonfire on the 24th, followed by "a day of recovery" on the 25th!

(Click on the link to see views  of the mural, taken throughout the year and from many different angles.)

It is an impressive work of art and history.

Just around the corner, to the left, is a busy square, filled with shops, beautifully preserved buildings and nice dining choices.

I came a bit closer to the band that was playing and noted the young bass player.

A short, very young man, was standing on a blue plastic carton.

Slapping and plucking that upright like a seasoned pro.

I bet his parents have to help him pack it up and move it around. It's taller than he is.

There was a lot of music in the air as the annual St. Jean Baptist birth was honored.

Ceremonies of a different sort were going on back home. Including funerals.

The week before, the horrific event - now called the Charleston Massacre - happened in my hometown.

Nine black people in a Bible study class at their church were shot and killed by a white man.

Hate crime? Terrorist attack? No decisions yet but much speculation and discussion.

I saw an example of the world press ongoing coverage  and regretted my lack of proper attention in my French classes in college.

I can read a bit and catch the gist but wish I was better versed.

Television coverage was available in English and I am sure there were publications around that I could have read. A sad, sad story.

 The next day, Tuesday, was cloudy with quite a bit of rain.

But, I'm a positive frame of mind kinda guy.

I concentrated on glistening streets and parades of colorful umbrellas. Also a good time to step inside churches and museums.

No shortage of either here in Quebec.

The weather was a good twenty degrees cooler than back home and I enjoyed the break in hot, humid and hazy.

Did see several reminders of the Historic District we have in Charleston.

This sun-splashed late-afternoon view looks a lot like Second Sunday on King Street.

Well, yeah, these signs are all in French.

The variety of architecture here is amazing.

There is a juxtaposition of old and new but the zeal for preservation is obvious.

Has Mayor Riley, in his 40 years in office, done some counseling to these folks north of the border?

Looks like the two cities have some common goals.

It is startling to see modern, glass condos rising above quaint red brick Victorian structures that have stood the test of time.

This view is along Grande-Allee, several blocks of dining and drinking places - with less emphasis on food.

Sat out on a patio, sipping a beer, and watched the parade of people going by on foot and in distinctive vehicles.

Was told it was the time of School Proms.

A number of stretch limos with smiling, excited young people inside would glide past, followed by several vintage cars .

Then a motorcycle or two would rumble and roar past.

The previous night, after the rain had passed, we saw clusters of young ladies in long, flowing prom gowns.

Apparently the boys were hanging together separately or the two groups planned to meet up at the McDonalds further up this street?

We were sitting at a Casse-Crepe Breton, window table across Rue Saint-Jean, digging into a giant dessert crepe.

This shared "meal" was accompanied by large cups of hot chocolate topped with even more whipped cream.

Now I am glad of all the hills and the exercise that entails.

Eat it it off.

We came back for another meal here.

I had tried crepes before when I lived in California but these were out of sight delicious.

I see a stack of photos of things, places and people I met while in Quebec and think I'll try to simply post some without captions.

The last picture is a suggestion Mayor Riley might have overlooked if he indeed did travel to Quebec City to consult.

Notice pertinent street signs actually point out where to find the "facilities."

C'est si bon!

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At Wed Jul 08, 01:51:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never get tired of Quebec City. Great photos of one of my favourite places. (Cathy)


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