I’m so excited! When I started on my quest, I was trying to reach 500 miles by the time I had my post-op assessment on November 4th. I succeeded at that. It took me 227 days to do it, but I did. Any miles after that was icing on the cake. It was then I decided to shoot for 1000 miles by the one-year anniversary of my surgery.
Could I reach 1000 miles by the first anniversary of my hip replacement surgery? I was sure going to try. I didn’t have as long to do it, but I already had 500 miles under my belt, so what was 500 more? I had 138 days to go, and if I walked 3.63 miles each day, I’d succeed.
Since then, my average daily miles per day was 4.60, so I was exceeding the minimum requirement, so that would get me there in plenty of time.
Drum roll and let the champagne corks pop! I did it! 1000 miles and with 30 days to spare!
Our last full day in Quebec City. What to do? Visit La Citadelle, of course. This fort is a working military base being home to the Royal 22nd Regiment known as the Van Doos so there were places we couldn’t go and we couldn’t take photos inside the buildings. The changing of the guard ceremony started at 10:00 so we had plenty of time to get there. Things worked out well for us as we had time to do the guided tour which ended back at the parade square in time for the ceremony to begin.
Do you see what I see towards the left of this picture?
Well, here’s a closer look. It’s the Price Building!
As promised our tour ended just in time for the ceremony to begin, although we didn’t have time to get to the far side of the parade grounds (where the flags are in this picture) which was the best vantage point to watch from… supposedly. I think we had a pretty good spot right where we were, except standing on the asphalt did get hard on the feet after a while.
We bought some coasters and a guidebook on La Citadelle so rather than cart them around with us all day since the hotel was so close, we took them back there.
I had spied from our room earlier in the morning that most of the temporary fencing on the Plains of Abraham for the festival had been removed. The sun was shining so after breakfast we would take one last walk on the boardwalk. It’s much easier from this direction because 99% of the steps on it are all going down. I can do down but climbing is another story altogether.
After watching the cruise ship approach and dock it was time for some liquid refreshment so we went to our other favourite pub in Quebec City – Pub Saint Alexandre pausing by La Maison de la littérature for a photo.
A pint of Guinness and a shot of 18-year old Glenlivet has great restorative properties. Or was it just sitting down for a while and resting the weary feet?
A plate of fish and chips was brought out from the kitchen and the barmaid told us theirs were the best. After being somewhat disillusioned with our meal the night before, we said we’d come back later to eat.
Refreshed, thirst quenched and tiredness temporarily banished, we set out again.
By this juncture in time, any excuse to have a wee sit down, we took advantage.
If you look on Trip Advisor at the visitors pictures from the ghost tour we did, a tunnel similar to the one below is included. There’s a lot of work going on at the Museum of Civilization so perhaps that’s why we didn’t get a chance to go through here but with there being commercial space on the other side of the street, I’m pretty sure that this is the right tunnel.
Another chance for a sit down. We rested on a bench and looked at the cruise ship and watch the people walking by and the other happenings on the river.
At this rate we wouldn’t get to La Fudgerie before it closed so we dragged ourselves to a standing position – trust me, it was hard and headed back to rue du Cul de Sac.
This little guy stands outside the shop next to our sweet-tooth fix. I think his growl is worse than his bite. What do you think? You can take pictures of yourself with him but the watchful eye of the staff are on you.
This bear family is adorable. Even my 5′ tall bear isn’t as large as the biggest one here. I would say he’s about the size of the one in front wearing the apron. I have plenty the size of the ‘baby’ snuggled under the arm of the big guy. You’re not allowed to touch them but you can photograph them.
But here we are. Chocolate, assorted bark, and most importantly, fudge! The shop smells heavenly. I don’t know how the staff can work in such an environment without being the size of… well, I won’t go there.
We encountered this busker on rue Notre-Dame. He was good. Spoons, fiddle, singing and great toe-tapping music.
The last thing we saw while in Vieux-Quebec was this oil tanker heading up river. We discovered once we got up to the promenade at the Chateau Frontenac that it was destined for the port at Levis.
After taking the Funiculaire up to the promenade and finding a place to sit yet again, we saw this ship heading down river.
And this one going up river. Guess we were in the wrong places at all the right times.
Supper! We went back to Pub Saint Alexandre and each had the fish and chips. Homemade tartar sauce, an enormous piece of fish plus salad and chips. I can’t imagine anyone getting a large order with two big honking pieces of fish like we got. Supper was washed down with the ‘brewed for them’ blonde ale. Our table was right in front of the fireplace but I’m willing to bet that in the winter our table and the one next to it aren’t there. I don’t remember from November because we were either sat in front of the big windows or in a booth.
I promise this is the last time but here’s the Price Building!
We made one more stop at the small grocery/SAQ agency store for a bottle of champagne on rue de Jardins but they didn’t have any… sniff… 🙁
No trip to Quebec City would be complete without a picture of the cannonball in the tree roots on rue Saint-Louis. It’s been here forever (well almost) and gradually comes up a bit more as the tree grows.
There isn’t much to say about the next day other than we checked out and drove home.
J’adore Québec City and I can’t wait until I get back there again.
After yesterday’s rain, we were thrilled to wake to blue skies and sunshine. It would be a great day for trekking around the city and even better for our ghost walk tonight.
Our first stop was on rue d’Auteuil in front of number 91 BIS.
The text on the plaque translates to:
Prime Minister of Quebec
In this house lived Prime Minister Mr Rene Levesque of Quebec from 1977 to 1985
When we were here in November the white frame house on the right was undergoing restoration. I do believe it’s all done now. At least the destructive part of the process. I say that because the dumpster is gone.
When we got down to the promenade by the Chateau Frontenac there were hardly any people out at all. The lighting was just right to capture the bridge to Île d’Orléans. Even with the picture at this smaller size (original dimensions were 5184×3456) you can see it.
On our first day here we saw people (mostly younger ones) ‘riding’ the cannons. So when in Quebec… do as the others do and have a ride. You’ve got to be silly once in a while.
I’m not sure if it was just my imagination but to say it’s summer, I didn’t think there were a lot of freighters going up or down river. Maybe we weren’t in the right place at the right time on this trip?
We made our way down into Vieux-Quebec where we stopped in at Geomania (unfortunately, they don’t have their own website that I could find) where I got some gorgeous “bling” – a Lapis-Lazuli pendant and an Ammolite one. Pictures to follow on another blog post.
Before the end of our trip, the Funiculaire in the background would become our best friend.
Passage de la Batterie leads to a courtyard in behind. It looked somewhat like a restaurant patio but there was a way back to the street from there if you turned right at the other end of the tunnel.
The streets down here are lined with shops and sidewalk patios with plenty of things to see.
Like this beaver outside Queues de Castor.
We stopped in at the Ghost Walk office to ensure we were booked on the tour for that night and to find out exactly where we were to meet. While there chatting with the young lady who was working, through the course of our conversation she suggested we take the shuttle bus out to Montmorency Falls. It sounded like a great idea to us so we headed back to “upper town” and the tourist information office.
But there was one place I had to go first. I love this place!Yesterday, I posted a photo of the rooftops taken from rue des Remparts. Well, here’s the real deal.
I believe the house in the photo below is the one with the rooftop terrace in yesterday’s photo. Not that it’s a huge deal. But can you see why I love this little, narrow street so much?
When we arrived at the tourist information office to purchase our tickets to the falls, we discovered the bus would be there in about ten minutes. I’d say our little ‘detour’ paid huge dividends.
We could have climbed up all 487 steps to the stop but having been there, done that in 1998 we opted for the round trip cable car ride. I mean we had to save some of legs for the ghost walk.
At the left of the cliff in the distance is La Citadelle. The first bump in the horizon to the right of it is the Chateau Frontenac and the next little nub (almost in the middle of the picture) is the Price Building. Sorry but I had to get that in there.
On our return to the city, we took our purchases back to the hotel and relaxed with a beer and a bit of telly before going to the Pub St-Patrick. We sat downstairs again but not in the fireplace room.
There were a few ‘new to us’ streets that I wanted to take a wander on, especially since our bus ride out to the falls, so we set out again.
We had to save our legs for the ghost tour so we walked to the meeting place and plopped our behinds in the lovely adirondack chairs to wait.
Ghost walk time!
We met our guide near where rue de la Petit Champlain and Boulevard Champlain meet.
Remember the red door and courtyard? That was one of our stops. We heard the story of Jean Rattier and his unfortunate wife Marie Rivière, the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, the chilling story of la Corriveau among others. The tour ended at The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity which is haunted by one or two ghosts, one being the mother of an illegitimate child she murdered and buried near the organ. Even the Queen has seen something ‘ghostly’ inside the church from the royal pew in the balcony which faces the organ.
By the time we got back to our hotel room, we were completely done in.
What do you do when you’re on vacation in Quebec City and it rains? Grab your umbrella and go out walking anyway. Possibly the rain makes it even more romantic, if that’s possible.
Since the Plains of Abraham and the boardwalk were pretty much closed because of the Fête nationale du Québec taking place later that evening, we decided over breakfast that we’d walk to the Porte-Saint-Louis and walk the top of the wall as far as we could. Besides, who wants to go walking through the wet grass?
It was only spitting rain when we left the hotel, but looking at the sky it would only be a matter of time before it came down harder.
The horse-drawn carriages have a parking area in Parc de l’Esplanades. This was the first to turn up – number 14. All of the carriages are numbered and the horse wears a tag on his bridle with the corresponding number. Oh, and look – there’s the Price Building in the background.
Porte Kent is at the head of rue Dauphine. Under normal circumstances, you could go through the gate and carry on but the doorway was boarded over so we had to go down to street level.
The Maison Dauphine is a shelter for street youth from the ages of 12 to 24. You can read more about the work they do here. It’s a beautiful building and yes, that’s another steep hill.
Porte Saint-Jean is the last of the remaining gates in the wall around the city. You can see that some of the stones have been turned green from the copper roof.
This is rue Saint-Jean outside the wall at Place D’Youville. In the winter there is a skating rink set up on the extreme left of this photo. This time it was marquis type tents set up for the comedy festival and other things happening in the city.
At street level in the red brick building on the left of the photo is the Pub Saint-Alexandre one of our favourite haunts but since we’ve not been there yet, I’ll save it for now. But look – there’s the Price Building.
We walked through Parc de l’Artillerie when we were here in November and thought it would be fun to do it in more favourable weather. And look at what’s peeking over the roof of the white building – you guessed it. It’s the Price Building.
This walkway was closed off in November but was open this time of year. Since we couldn’t walk through here then, we did on this occasion. It’s a shame that the buildings have been vandalized by tagging.
After exiting the park, we continued along rue des Remparts. The narrow streets leading off this one are filled with colourful houses. And yup, there’s the Price Building again.
Remember this house on the left of the photo. The one with the stone front and brick side.
Rue Sous-le-Cap is a lovely narrow street in Vieux-Quebec. We first experienced it in November when Philippe took us through there on our carriage ride. One of the houses in this photo even has a rooftop terrace!
This is about where rue des Remparts becomes rue Port-Dauphin. There are a number of cannons along here as you can see in this photo taken last November.
And the steps at the back for the soldiers to climb up to load them makes a perfect spot for a gal to have a wee rest, don’t you think?
Down below you can see rue Notre-Dame and the Parc de la Cetière. The were doing some construction between two of the houses. I have no idea what it will be but there’s a round-top opening on one side and where within the next few days, where the plywood is cut on the angle, there’s another piece there to make it triangular. Looks like a return trip to find out just what the purpose of all that was.
To the right of the picture you can see a stone wall with a red door in it that leads to a courtyard.
We walked over this bridge and took the remaining stairs up to Place D’Armes located in front of the Chateau Frontenac. If you look to the right of there is another flight of stairs that takes you down to street level on Côte de la Montagne.
It wasn’t much longer and the skies really opened up but it didn’t last long. Basically long enough to get everything soaking wet.
We circled around to rue du Trésor where we boarded this carriage for a ride around the city (at least the places we could go that weren’t blocked off because of festivals and the like). We chose this carriage because it looked more romantic than the others. White with the red interior and the heart-shaped window at the back.
While we were out, Andre took us by this house (remember it from an earlier picture?). He told us that it is supposedly the most haunted house in Quebec City. After hearing that, I had to go back and get a better photo of it. With the peeling paint and shutters hanging at crazy angles, not to mention the trees taking over in front of the two lower windows, it’s not hard to see how it got it’s reputation.
After our full day in the rain, we went back to the hotel and opened the second bottle of champagne we had brought with us.
When we were ready to go out for supper, the rain was coming down harder than it had all day so we chose a restaurant closer to our hotel.
After spending a week in Canada’s “city of lights”, Quebec City, in November 2014, we decided to go back this year as our destination 40th anniversary trip.
We loved the hotel we stayed in last November so booked in again at The Grande-Allée Hotel and Suites. Upon check-in, we discovered that our room was next to the one we stayed in last year. The only drawback to this room was the fact that access to the heating/air-conditioning system was in our foyer.
The restored brick wall adds a charming rustic look to the room and the electric fireplace makes for a romantic mood-setter. We even had an ice bucket and wine glasses on the mantle!
The room behind the mirrored French door to the left was our bathroom. The solid door was the access to the heating/air-conditioning system. Thankfully, everything worked as it should so no workman needed access through our hotel room.
Once we were settled, the beverages in the fridge (cleverly hidden in the wardrobe) except for one bottle of champagne which we popped the cork on and toasted our 40 years, we set out across the Plains of Abraham to the boardwalk that leads to the promenade below at the Chateau Frontenac.
To the naked eye, the lighting was perfect to see the bridge from the mainland to Île d’Orléans and make out the distances of the various mountains in the distance. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t do the scene justice.
Believe it or not, even from its prominent location, there are places in the city where you don’t see the Chateau Frontenac. Our hotel was on the same street (it changed names from Grande Allée to rue Saint-Louis inside the wall). So if we decided to walk this way, we were only a short walk away.
The charming architecture of the buildings in Vieux-Quebec with their brightly coloured roofs from the promenade. Getting to this part of the city is easy – it’s all downhill – getting back to “upper town” not quite so much.
Rue du Petit-Champlain is lined with all sorts of wonderful shops and restaurants. It’s also where you can go to access the Funiculaire to ride to the top of the hill!
Where rue Notre-Dame and rue de la Place meet, lies Place-Royale. The cobblestoned square is filled with interesting eateries and shops and the Église-Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.
Near the end of rue Notre Dame in Parc de la Cetière is the Quebec City mural. All four seasons are depicted in it as well as different periods in history with famous and not so famous people included.
It’s difficult to get an unobstructed view of the mural from the park with the number of people wanting to photograph it along with a tree in full leaf. This picture was taken from Côte de la Montagne a short way up the hill and beyond the tree.
Speaking of Côte de la Montagne, this is the hill you have to walk up. It’s steep and there are handrails next to some of the storefronts if you need to grab on and pull yourself along.
After all this walking, it was time for liquid refreshment and a meal so we stopped in at Pub St-Patrick. We headed to the fireplace room with its vaulted ceiling. The smell of the wood fires over the years lingered in the air. A little too warm for the fire to be lit on this trip but we experienced it last year.
The Price Building looks much like the Empire State Building in New York City. My husband and I have a bit of a standing joke about it. When we went on our horse and carriage ride last November, after giving us the history of it, our driver Philippe pointed and said “there’s the Price Building” every time it came into view. So after that (even though it got irritating at the time), one of us would look and point and say “there’s the Price Building”.
This is another tall building in Quebec City that isn’t visible from everywhere but when it is, if you think you’re lost just walk towards it.
Homeward bound… well at least to our hotel room. Once we reached the wall, we were only about five minutes at the most from our hotel room.
It’s an all uphill walk but at least it isn’t steep… just long.
Well, not really but we did take the Eurostar through the chunnel to London. Our train departed from Gare du Nord which is about a fifteen minute walk (on two good legs) from our hotel, but we decided not to leave anything to chance and took the metro there instead. The station is enormous, but very easy to find your way. We passed through UK customs before we got on the train which meant we’d be straight off and on our way once we stopped in London town. The guy that took our customs declaration and checked our passports thought we were nuts only going for one day but as we’d been to London before and exactly a week before the unmentionable thing happened in July 2005, he seemed pleased that we were willing to return.
When I sat back down from taking the pictures of the train using my old Nikon camera (battery low in my good DSLR), a young girl offered me the use of her Canon zoom lens if I’d like to use it. I told her the battery was low and she rooted through her bags to find her charger, cables and plugs. I could use it on the train and return it to her on the platform when we arrived in London.
We chatted with her until it was time to board and agreed to meet at the barrier in London where I could return her charger.
Unfortunately, the carriage we were in on the train didn’t have anywhere to plug in the charger. Well, in the filthy bathroom but who wanted to leave it unattended? I know I didn’t.
Going through the chunnel took about 20 minutes. It really wasn’t any different than some of the dark metro tunnels between stops – just longer. My ears popped like on a plane when it lands but they did that, too, when we went under really wide motorway flyovers.
When the train stopped in London, we waited for the young girl at the moving sidewalk to the lower level and eventually she arrived (she was in a carriage near the rear of the train and we were near the front). She seemed surprised that there was no place to charge my camera battery.
Our first stop was Madame Tussaud’s. But once again, the lineup was unbelievable. We overheard the guard at the door say it was at least a two-hour wait before the people at the head of the line would get to walk down the red carpet. The window where online bookings people could go had no one. I was going to book online in advance but we weren’t sure if we would go or not so decided against it. Guess we should have.
My good DSLR wouldn’t turn on so I ended up taking some of our London pictures with my trusty old Nikon.
We stopped in at the Green Man pub for a bite of lunch and a pint. Fish and chips. When our meals came, the piece of fish was huge! The plates were oval in shape and the fish stretched from one side of the plate to the other. And man was it good!
While we waited for our meal to arrive, I made my way downstairs to the loo. Before we left, I was making one more trek there and the girl who cleared our table asked if I’d like to use the handicapped one instead. It was on the main level of the pub and since stairs and I still aren’t the best of friends, I agreed.
We had time when we got back to the station before we had to check in, so went for a wander through the station and stopped at Searcy’s Champagne Bar on the upper level. It might not have been champagne blanc dans coupe lumineuse a la sommet de la Tour Eiffel, but it was just as good – maybe even better. We weren’t rushed or jostled by other people. We sat on a sofa with our back to the railway tracks and relaxed to the point where we had a second glass of champagne each!
When we finally boarded the Eurostar to come back home, we had a good giggle. Right at our seat was a charging point. This one had the UK outlet and the one across the aisle has the European one.
The first thing I did when we got back to the hotel was dig out the charger for my battery and get it on to charge.
This wasn’t one of our longer days, steps-wise but distance-wise it was the longest. 453 kms from Paris to London and 16,332 steps.
Sorry for the delay getting these posted. Internet woes, what can I say.
This was our most active day on the walking front. My leg was feeling much better. We started out morning with a cruise on the Seine.
Back in 1910, when the Seine flooded, the waters rose so high that only his head was visible above the water. Since then the people of Paris judge the height of the river by how much of the statue is submerged.
Once a royal palace, The Conciergerie became a notorious prison and Marie Antoinette was kept there until she was executed by guillotine in Place de la Concorde.
After our boat cruise, we walked along the Seine taking in some of the sights we’d seen from the water.
Almost every bridge or fence that has a place for a padlock has one on it these days. The names of lovers are written on them and the idea is that their love will last forever when the lock bearing their names is fastened to the object. The city of Paris comes along and cuts the locks off the bridges because when they get this filled, the wind can’t pass through and the bridge will begin to sway in the wind and become unstable.
On Avenue New York, a replica of the flame held by the Statue of Liberty stands above the entrance to a tunnel. Many people believe this is the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed and leave flowers (and padlocks on the chain barrier surrounding it) but it isn’t.
Since we didn’t have to be at the Eiffel Tower for our Behind the Scenes Tour (and jump the queue… ya right), we walked further along to Pont Bir Hakeim.
By now it was getting close to the time for our Eiffel Tower tour. We walked back and waited near the north pillar for our tour guide. While we waited, the wind came up and it began to rain. Not a nice place to be stood waiting to see if “maybe” (that was the word used by one of the earlier tour guides) our guide would turn up.
The wait to get tickets and get to the top level was going to be at least two hours, not to mention it would be that long to get back down afterwards. As much as I wanted champagne at the summit, I caved and we walked down the stairs from level 2 to level 1. Stairs and I still aren’t friends and going down is much harder than going up. Our guide said there were about 700 steps from the ground to the second level, so I figure we traversed about 350 give or take.
On one of our rest stops on the way down, I got this photograph of the Eiffel Tower elevator. Years ago, a man controlled the weight and speed of the elevators at the Eiffel Tower. He sat on a seat outside the carriage and turned the wheel one way or the other to make adjustments. Not my idea of a fun (or even safe) job. Now, a mannequin sits in his place so that people can see the technology from years gone by.
Whilst disappointed about no champagne en coupe lumineuse au sommet de la Tour Eiffel, we decided to find a place where we could buy a bottle of nice champers and we’d have it back at the hotel where it would be just the two of us and we wouldn’t be rushed.
A plus to the day was we were ‘downtown’ so got to see the Eiffel Tower lit up after dark. A tripod would have worked better but I tried to balance myself against the stone wall to keep the camera from moving too much.
Once an hour, on the hour, and lasting for five minutes the Eiffel Tower glitters. Lights randomly go off and on and it’s truly a sight to see. When I was in Paris in 2003, the main tower lights went out and it was just the glittering ones that were on. Either way, it looks amazing.
BTW, we walked a mere 27,467 steps today… and I feel fine.
My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King