Old Quebec is the most beautiful town to visit in Canada by far. It is like walking 300 years back in history- wandering around cobblestone streets past artists and musicians, outdoor cafes selling wine and baguettes, and shopping in historic old buildings from the 1600s and 1700s.
We spent a fair bit of time just wandering around, sampling different treats as we went, and enjoying the ambiance. My oldest daughter and I took off in search of something gluten free (we are both celiac) and had an adventure going from store to store asking for something ‘sans gluten’ in a bad French accent. Finally we found a lovely little restaurant with a patio that offered a delicious gluten free maple-chicken salad.
I had a glass of wine and we sat on the patio and enjoyed watching the people go by. We meant to go back and try their gluten free cake but never had the chance as it started raining and we decided to head back up the steps to the area near the Chateau Frontenac.
Meanwhile, Sean and the kids had eaten some yummy sandwiches and were treated to maple syrup on a stick while listening to a guy playing the fiddle and spoons and singing French drinking songs!
On the way up the hill we stopped in at the beautiful Cathedral and quickly looked in – but we were pretty much done with pretty churches by then so it was a short visit. I also stopped in where the artists were selling their paintings, and I found a very nice one of Quebec City to put on my wall at home. After we got to the top of the hill again, everyone was ready for a rest and what luck- we came upon a circus act going on outside the Chateau. There was juggling fire and knives, diving through flaming hoops and walking on stilts and ladders! What fun!
The rest of the day was spent by watching a multimedia show about the historic battles that shaped Quebec City – Plains of Abraham was the most interesting for the kids. After, we walked up a long boardwalk and stairway (308 stairs) to see the very place where the famous battle was fought in 1759.
By this point, the kids were getting pretty tired, and were missing their friends as we had separated from the Wiens in the maze of the lower part of Vieux Quebec so we slowly walked (dragged the kids) back around the Citadel (could spend 3 days in Quebec city!!) and met up with our friends in search of something else to eat (found some great gluten free burgers!) and then headed back to the campground.
All the adults decided that we needed to come back without the kids one day and have time to enjoy the city a little more – sit out on a patio with wine and fondue and enjoy the night life. As it was, we enjoyed the nightlife of the KOA campground with its bouncy pillow and campstore. It was our last night with our friends, and none of us wanted to go to bed too early – though we did end up shuffling the kids off to bed so we could enjoy a little quiet time together.
Kevin asked our camping neighbors to join us at the fire. We met them earlier at the playground and discovered that we had so much in common! They were another catholic homeschooling family travelling with their 5 children on a Canada trip from Cape Breton across the other way to Ontario and back again. It’s funny how we can all be from the same country but live such different lives. He is a lobster fisherman with this wonderful Cape Breton accent, and we were all interested in hearing about lobster fishing and his adventures on the sea…. It sounded like another world to us prairie folk and more than a little dangerous. The other coincidence is that they are from Port Hood which is this little town in Cape Breton where my great-great-grandparents are from on my dad’s side. The only Catholics on that side of the family! And the priest who was travelling with them happens to be the pastor of the church that my great-great-grandma was baptized in! What a small world! We exchanged contact information with them and they insisted that we call them if we need anything when we are in Cape Breton. I hope they have a great trip and enjoy the shrines that we already passed through.
Our new friends travelling west, Dana and Kevin going south and us going east. Quebec city was a cross-roads for a meeting of like-minded families. Maybe we’ll meet up again one day and we can show them our big mountains and little churches. :)