O'm writing to you from a ViaRail train on our way to Toronto, the last installment of our Canadian Expedition! Despite the wonky drop in temperature (it snowed yesterday!!!), we loved Québec City--especially Old Québec. Two days was the right amount of time to see everything we needed to see. Compared to Montreal, this little city is even more European, 100% French (if you're nice they'll speak in English), and quite quaint. This would be such a fun place for a honeymoon or a family vacation in the winter-très magique!
1. Old Québec
+ The Notre Dame Basilica: It is just as breathtaking as the one in Montreal, and it was exciting because this year being Holy Year in the Catholic Church, this basilica was commissioned by the pope to build one of the Holy Doors, which is meant to be a symbol of unity. People of any religion or denomination can walk through the door and write down their prayers. Which is exactly what I did on Pentecost.
+ Canadian Maple Delights Museum/shop: Of course we had to stop here since Canada is known for their maple products! The little museum upstairs gives an in depth history of maple harvesting, the development of the cooperation between companies, and facts about maple in general. Did you know that maple syrup has potassium, magnesium, and calcium! Yummy and good for you! The shop downstairs has an almost overwhelming variety of maple products from syrup to tea to popcorn. And they always have samples going around.
+ The Church of the Holy Trinity: We didn't go inside, but when I saw they had a donkey and a goat to the side of the church, I had to go say hello! The donkey was a Christ donkey, the ones with crosses that go down their backbones and shoulders. And the goat was not happy that we didn't have anything to eat. You can feed them lettuce, but not anything else or else they'll get fat.
+ Chateau Frontenac: A beautiful, old hotel that is still a magnificent place to stay today! The American equivalent would probably be The Greenbriar in VA, but this is a little grander. You can take a tour or just walk through the public parts. We warmed up on Starbucks for a little while. Outside, you can walk along Le Dufferin Terrace and view l'Ile d'Orleans, the pastoral island across the way. We walked up the 355 stairs to Le Citadelle, and after all that huffing and puffing, it was closed for construction :(
+ Le Petit Champlain: A charming little area below the city. You can go down the stairs or take this little escalator/cart thing for 2.25$. This area is the oldest in Québec City, where all the old homes are that have even converted into souvenir shops and boutiques.
2. Québec City:
+ The Parliament Building: a beautiful building that's seen a lot of history! They have a gorgeous fountain out front, and a statue of suffragettes throughout history who helped to get women the vote!
+ The Erico Chocolate Museum/Chocolatier: A tiny little museum that gives history, method, and facts to chocolate making. I actually learned a lot! For instance, did you know that dark chocolate helps to prevent cavities, lower cholesterol, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, AND is a good source of energy? I'm glad I like dark chocolate! The chocolate shop was delicious and very friendly!
+ St. Joseph and St. Jean Streets: These two main streets are great places for shopping in unique, vintage stores! We loved popping in and out of the stores, both to look and to warm up! And these also have a lot of restaurants. Speaking of...
1. La Buche: Traditonal Canadian food that is GREAT! Our concierge said it has everything that his mom makes at home. It has this cool new age-chic-hunting lodge vibe going on. And the bathroom was the coolest bathroom ever-probably the only bathroom I'll ever take a picture of. I had caramel crepes with blueberries and the best bacon I've ever tasted in my life! And Kylee had scrumptious French toast with thick maple sauce and apples. Bon appetit!
2. Le Bureau de Poste: Probably the best find of the entire trip! It's this awesome restaurant/dive//hangout place in an old Post office. Everything on the menu is 4.95$, except the drinks. We split crispy onion rings with honey (genius and delicious), and I had macaroni &scheme with bread crumbles and peppers. The buttered, herbed bread was perfect. A place like this would do so well in a college town!
3. Chasse Crepe Breton: Another cheap find. We had giant crepes for breakfast this morning for 8.00$ with tip! And they were fast, so we were able to get back to our hotel from the Old City in plenty of time. And very delicious!
**sidenote: This city is completely walkable. Just wear good shoes and be prepared for all types of weather, even winter in the middle of May!