Day 7: Quebec CityFriday, October 2nd, 2015
The timing of the sunrise and our arrival in Quebec coincided perfectly, and I got to see the Quebec skyline in a lovely red glow first thing this morning. I also got to see the Montmorency Falls, which is something I had heard of and knew we would likely miss, but I saw the enormous waterfall at a distance as we passed Ile d’Orleans just before arriving in Quebec City.
We got off of the ship, and soon found ourselves in the very Medieval-looking square of Place Royal. It was still pretty early, so we made a few mental notes of places to visit later, and continued towards Chateau Frontenac. My boss, who knows that stairs are often my enemy, warned me about the huge stairways leading up to Frontenac, and I’m grateful for his advice to take the finicular instead – great views of harbor as we went up!
We checked out Chateau Frontenac, a massive hotel that completely dominates Quebec’s landscape, and then we wandered down the boardwalk, with lots of great views of the river. Then we spent the next few hours in our usual routine of exploring a new city by way of its churches, cafes and jewelry stores.
First, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, then the Basilica of Notre Dame, and by that point, I was long overdue for my first crepe in Canada! Chocolate crepes make excellent lunches, and then we were on our way again. We wandered through the lovely streets, did a bit of shopping, found a lovely little art market, then turned a corner and ‘discovered’ what turned out to be one of my favorite churches of our whole trip: the Chalmers-Wesley branch of the United Church of Canada. When we stepped inside, I was struck by two things simultaneously: it was very beautiful and very very quiet. For a few precious minutes before other tourists showed up, we were alone in the church with one other guy, and it was utterly completely totally silent! It was quite a treat, and of course, so was the stained glass.
We worked our way back to the boardwalk that led back to Frontenac, back to the funicular, and back to Place Royal to check out a handful of really beautiful shops, and eventually back on to the ship to make the most of our last evening aboard the Maasdam. As I’m writing this, I’m in a café on the ship as we’re leaving Quebec, and we’re travelling along the St. Lawrence River towards Montreal … heading out in a few minutes to watch the sun set along the St. Lawrence.