Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Quebec City: An Irish-ish two days

After baking in our hostel room in Montreal, we hit thunderstorms and much cooler temperatures heading into Quebec City. And Cathal was driving again...Irishman 0, bad driving conditions gods 2.


Our Airbnb was 100% perfect. Veronica's place is registered as a hotel, allowing her to rent out rooms in her home. She had to undergo inspections and follow certain criteria for this designation, which limits the number of rooms available for travellers in the province of Quebec.
Her cat is super friendly and helped tide me over with animal snuggles.
We had a lot of space, an ensuite bathroom with shower, access to a massive washer and dryer, a fridge, a coffee maker and coffee, a toaster oven, a microwave, free parking...I don't think we'll get another place as wonderful on this trip (but we do have an exciting booking coming up in northern Ontario!). After a quick workout, we were off to a nearby pub to watch the Euros, France v Germany.

Day 1 - French Football and Ferry 

We weren't sure what to expect with a Québécois crowd, but they were absolutely all cheering for their fellow francophones. It was still afternoon, but it was clear people had left work early to catch the match. One big table appeared to be a contingent of people from one office. Fun atmosphere to watch a game!

With a couple of hours to kill before I had a phone meeting, we checked the TripAdvisor app (which doesn't work at all without an Internet connection...get on that, developers!) and saw that the Quebec City-Levis ferry was highly rated and only a 20 min drive away. Allons-y!

Photo from the ferry. Not of the ferry.

After getting super lost driving through Old Quebec City, not for the last time, we found street parking and sped, with several wrong turns, to the ferry dock. Old Quebec City is very confusing to navigate, with many small streets and incorrect information on Google Maps.

The ferry is just 12 minutes. We disembarked, turned around, and got right back on in Levis. We got the nice photo of Château Frontenac at the top of the post and enjoyed a pleasant boat ride. Recommended!

Day 2 - Wandering and Waterfalls

Day 2 was laid back. Thanks to online forums, I knew to park below City Hall for a reasonable day rate ($15ish) and we were off. St Patrick's Pub served me the most overpriced but delicious poutine I have ever eaten and gave us a perfect vantage point for people watching. After nursing a coffee and inventing backstories for people walking by, we decided to wander Old Quebec City.

Irish influence 

We stumbled upon a monument from Ireland to thank Quebecers for their assistance to those who arrived fleeing the famine. It's a lovely tribute, written in English, Irish, and French, and includes many beautiful carvings of Irish and Catholic symbols.

40% of Québécois have Irish ancestry and it is evident. Irish pubs, churches, street and town names, and names of people could make us forget where we were temporarily. (Until we heard someone speak with one of the most distinguishable accents in the world!) Comparing the countryside, especially the east coast, I don't think we could confidently identify whether the scenery was from Irish hillsides, except due to the lack of sheep.

We walked into the highly rated Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral but weren't super impressed. Compared to small town Irish churches, it didn't really stand out. Yes, now we're those snobs who will compare everything to Ireland.

We've now extended our travel rule of not visiting any more temples to include churches, as well.  Once you've seen one, generally they all seem the same. To us, anyway.

After realizing we couldn't afford anything in the shops or restaurants, we consulted the handy TripAdvisor app (while stealing wifi from St Patrick's Pub). Off to the Montmorency Falls!

Montmorency Falls

We enjoyed the hike up, choosing to forgo the cable car or zipline to offset our poutine consumption. Excited to have poutine at the top of the falls, we discovered their restaurant is only open for lunch. (Not on your website, Montmorency Falls! Bad form...)

We traipsed back down, and drove straight to a grocery store for sandwich supplies.

Au revoir, Quebec! 

Overall, Quebec was an active chapter of our cross Canada trip. We did a ton of walking in Montreal (over 35,000 steps in our second day!) and Quebec City. My middle school French took us through, although both cities would be very feasible to travel with only English.

I will always be grateful to the province that brought me my favourite food and 1/4 of my heritage.

1 comment:

  1. As close to Paris as you will get this side of the pond. Incredible cuisine, interesting shops, great sites, and very walkable. We didnt visit the Museums as we spent 4 days just walking through the old city. This is a perfect place for a getaway long weekend.
    Quebec City