Arriving at Quebec

It was a day of driving in the coach to get to Wolfville to see the tides, and having spent 2 nights there in a lovely RV park we had to back track the way we came. We realise now that while the land in Nova Scotia is beautiful there’s not a lot to see.  We didn’t explore Halifax as we thought we would, but rather spend the time exploring the bigger French cities.  Halifax was the biggest city in the area, otherwise it’s crops and huge barns dotted around the countryside that house cattle and poultry.  It seems sad that no animals here are free ranging, and there were no free range meat, poultry or egg options in the supermarkets but then it does freeze over here in the winter and can drop to -18 and can snow for 6 months, then I’m sure the animals would rather be in a barn!

We had a night in Moncton and then, after a long day of driving north on the Trans-Canadian Highway we arrived at Edmundston where we stayed for 2 nights.  The highway is repetitive but pretty, an array of wild flowers grow in the wide verges right up to the edge of the forests, the forests that can be seen to the horizon.  Up to this point the signs and often the language is primarily in English but closer to Quebec the English is dropped and all language and written word is only French.  I didn’t realise that Quebec was only French-I do wish I had paid more attention at school, I really didn’t like learning French then, but now I would love to speak it.  I can read it pretty well, but that’s not always very helpful.

Edmundston was just a rest stop for us-the town itself was pretty but with timber mills and paper mills on the river the town had an industrial look, it didn’t help that we were there on a grey and gloomy day.

We are now in Levis which is across the river from the old city of Quebec.  We are going exploring tomorrow.  It’s cooler here, about 75deg and is supposed to warm up in the next few days.

We caught the ferry on this hot day from Levis to the Old City of Quebec today-just a 10 minute ferry ride over the St Lawrence river. The old city looks very impressive from the river, perched on a cliff top with it’s mediaeval looking architecture and fortress, I’m sure that 300 years ago it was most intimidating.

 

The fort was originally built by the French but then the English arrived and began a battle for the territory called the Plains of Abraham in 1759.  The English took over and turned the cannons on the river to defend from the Amercan’s and on the town itself to defend against the French.

The dominating building on the cliff top is the chateau Frontenac, originally built as a grand hotel by the railways corp, today it is still a grand hotel and we had a walk through, taking in the chandeliers and wood paneling-very nice.  Rooms there start at about $500 NZ a night but it really is situated in the very heart of the city overlooking the river.

 

We generally wandered around the old city, through it’s cobbled streets jostling with the, at times, over-whelming number of tourists,  and looking into a few of the very interesting boutique stores.   I was struck with how French the city felt, people dressed stylishly, eating al fresco etc

 

It’s a beautiful place to wander. Pretty much the whole city can be taken in on foot in a day, but we are going back tomorrow to explore some more. It’s the only city in North America that is contained within the original old city walls.  The city reminded me of a cross between Carcassonne, the old city of Prague and Paris.

 

We took in the oldest house in North America, built in 1676.

 

I could see myself spending lots of time here sitting on street corners painting the scenes, and a very arty city it is too-full of art gallery’s, and modern art throughout the city, including live performances and busking and some amazing murals.