Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 69: A Free Day in Quebec

By on Sat, Jul 20, 2013 at 10:23 PM

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First into the garage with the big fella for some key fixes, then we pile into the Starfish for old Quebec City. We drop the boys off at a hostel and we check into a boutique hotel, moderately priced considering the summer season is in flower and there's a huge music festival going on. There are beer gardens on several corners (a great Reggae band, just down from us) and some big names on stage at the Plains of Abraham, notably Sir Paul McCartney on Tuesday.

We're beginning to love these little 7-8 room boutique hotels. It's kind of a self serve, don't complain (there's no one around to hear it anyway) place with an orchid on the window sill in the vacant lobby, rich oil paintings on the wall, self serve and good coffee in the morning and a little fridge for all, where you can keep your wine, beer and pumpernickel and salmon mousse cold for cocktail hour. Simple.

The hotel fronts as a cafe, with wooden floors bustling with customers, a croissant and an espresso, a pint of Carlsberg and a quiche, a grocery store next door, a wine shop on the other side, a tiny boulangerie across the street and rows upon rows of tiny restaurants all along Cartier Ave. The check in person is the bartender and she asks us for a second while she boils the milky froth for a cappuccino. Soon we are off to walk the streets and almost immediately are caught in a Caribbean squall. We laugh it off, 10,000 tourists can't be wrong and continue snapping pics, people gawking and checking menus in windows along our way.

Tonight we are expecting a guest visitor, my nephew from Halifax, my sister Darcy's son, Hamish. He wants to come by train from Montreal to see us and reunite with Quinn and Keenan, his northern cousins. We make arrangements to all meet back at our hotel, where we have appies and drinks on the street front balcony and then make our way to the avenue below. The late hour curtails our search for an eatery and we choose Italian, not a block away. We make jokes over our order of sweetbreads with Gin squirming in her chair in horror. This is a zero cool place folks, all the good reports we have heard are true. A bit of Europe right here in Canada. A great pic of Gin here, eh?

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