Tuesday, November 27, 2018

East Coast Cruising - Quebec City

September brought a cruise to the East Coast for Annette and I. We started in New York, visited two cities in Maine, then sailed over the International Boundary into Canada and visited several cities in the Maritime region. The cruise ended in Quebec City and we ended our holidays after spending time in Montreal.

Quebec City is one of the gems of Canada. In the old section of town located by the St. Lawrence River many of the old buildings are still standing. These buildings date back 200 - 350 years and are built in the European style. This lends an aura of Old Europe to the Lower and Upper Town sections.

Standing on the bluff above the river, Chateau Frontenac opened its doors in 1893 and has commanded the scene ever since.
Built by Canadian Pacific Railway as one of their destination resort hotels for the rich and famous, she retains her majestic to this day.

As CPR built the railway across Canada they were awarded huge land grants as incentive to build the railway. 
On the prime land they constructed mega hotels and marketed the resorts to the rich adventurer whom loved discovering the "rougher" side of the world. The elite class could travel from a "chateau" in Toronto, to Montreal, to Banff National Park in Alberta to Victoria on thew West Coast,  enjoying the scenery while ensconced in the luxurious train cars as you travelled between Grand Hotels.
Ahh, there's nothing like being rich.  

Quebec City was the last port of call for our cruise but in a bit of a rare move the cruise line had us booked for the night on the ship and we were to disembark the next day. 
This allowed us two full days to tour the historic Lower Town and Upper Town, as well as visit the the Quebec Citadel. a functioning Canadian military fort.

Right across the street from our ship was Lower Town, so we didn't have far to go to start our tourist thing.
Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608 as a fortified city surrounded by fortress walls. de Champlain was an accomplished individual. Known as the Father of New France, to his credit he was an explorer, a cartographer, a drafts man, a soldier, a geographer, an ethnologist, a diplomat and a chronicler. He explored and settled the Quebec area,as well as charted the Great Lakes.

As I mentioned earlier, Quebec has done a fantastic job of keeping their stock of heritage buildings, and the future generations are rewarded by the forefather's foresight. In the picture above is the foundation and location of the oldest know building. While the building itself was torn down many years ago, the location is one of the early hubs of the Quebec.

All of the tourists shops are located in Lower Town, while Upper Town holds the restaurants, hotels, Chateau Frontenac and The Quebec Citadel 

We made the rounds of the shops and then opted to take the set of stairs that leads from one level to another. I wanted to try the funicular for a couple of bucks, but NOHHH, someone said we had to walk up the stairs.  

This was our hotel and indicative of the old buildings that still permeate the top of the bluff that holds Upper Town.

We walked around the edge of the city and came across the outer wall of the fortress city beyond which we could see the modern city complete with office towers crowned with radio and TV antennae.
We use the wall as a turn around point and meandered back through the city stopping enjoy the scents coming from the restaurant doors. 
We spent the day just winding our way through side streets and back alleys enjoying the Europe flavour of it all.
Before long it was time to point our way back to the ship to have our own wonderful meal

The next morning was a bit more chaotic as it was time to disembark from the boat and catch a cab to our hotel. Although the distance was not overly far, carting suitcases, overnight cases, backpacks, and assorted other packs was not high on the list of things I wanted to do.

It was late morning by the time we got to our hotel room and dropped off the bags in the storage area. After that, Annette and I wandered down the street and found a small cafe tucked under the corner wall of the Chateau Frontenac. The late breakfast was wonderful and inexpensive for the location, so we made a date to come back again tomorrow.

In the afternoon Annette and I explored the Quebec Citadel. The citadel is star shaped to be able to protect itself from any angle, and it is buried into the ground, so there is very little for the enemy to shoot at. Consequently obtaining pictures was a bit harder to do. There are some surface buildings of which I used my phone to capture pictures, as my camera battery had died, but they are not as good as I would have hoped for, so ... sorry, no pictures.

Turning our attention to the Grand Dame of the hotelier world, the Chateau Frontenac has built a wide boardwalk along the top of the bluff for their guests to "stroll" and be seen by each other, and by the paparazzi of the day.   

It also afforded a Grand view of our ship and really puts into perspective the size of the ship. The Adventure Of The Seas is the one in front, it is one of Royal Caribbean's mid-size ships. Samuel de Champlain's ships had nothing on modern ocean going vessels !

Our day trip for this port of call took us out of town to Montmorrency Falls and to The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre

Do you know the difference between a church and a basilica? Neither did I until it was explained. A Basilica is a church with certain privileges conferred by the Pope. In modern terms it is a Vatican approved place of pilgrimage. Hence the royal name of a Basilica.

To be honest, coming from the West Coast I have seen plenty of waterfalls, and after touring Europe several times, a church has been ticked off the must-see box many times, so no cavalcade of pictures of the basilica here.

Back in town we spent our last morning wandering around the Chateau Frontenac lobbies and the inner art store and the fancy gift store. Many beautiful articles of clothing could be purchased in the gift store, and many expensive pieces of modern art could be purchased in the art store.
I opted to be a big spender myself and paid $3.00 for a bottle of water. Hey, I was on Holidays!

By noontime we had caught a taxi down to the train station and were waiting for our 12.30 PM train to take us on our last leg of our journey.
The bustling metropolis of Montreal awaited us, complete with rides on the Metro and a visit to Montreal Olympic Park, built for the 1976 Summer Olympics.

As you may have expected, I posted only a few pictures on this page - the complete set can be found here on my Flickr web site.
After your read, drop me a line and comment on the travelog.  



Alan said...

That was interesting. I recognized many of the places you went to in Quebec City

Shivani said...

Ed, I loved these pictures, very beautiful city. Europe with North American Cars 😉 and space.

Kris said...

Amazing Adventures as always. :)

So need to see you out there truly enjoying so much of life :)