Monday, 4 August 2008

Quebec City Getaway

We're back from our micro-mini vacation to Quebec City and while the weather was more of downer than Queen Elizabeth at an FLQ convention (Haha, Quebec separatist humour), we still had a good time hanging around this beautiful city, soaking up its history and enjoying the festive atmosphere of Québec's 400th anniversary.

The big draw for us was the Moulin aux images (The Image Mill) that Robert Lepage designed for the occasion of Quebec's big birthday bash. I can't really describe it except to say that it is a 40-minute show of music and HD images depicting Quebec's history projected on the silos at Quebec's old port. It's been playing every night at 10PM since June 20th but comes to an end on August 24th. We are fast running out of summer weekends so this was our last chance to go. In one word? A-MAZING. Even in the blowing wind and pouring rain, (yep, your basic "outdoor-show-with-a-baby-worst-case- scenario") it was stunning. A once-in-a-lifetime experience that we are happy to have been brave enough to stick around for.

Between gripping my umbrella, sheltering Liliane and rocking the stroller, I managed to take a couple of photos. Of course they don't begin to do justice to the enormity of the spectacle, but you get the idea:

I pumped up the fill light so you can see kind of what we were seeing. NOT PICTURED: gale-force winds and driving rain.

We were staying at a friend's apartment that is walking distance from the Old Port so we hightailed it back there once the show was over. We attempted to get our completely dry, warm and sleeping daughter into bed without waking her up but obviously THAT didn't work. After hours of crying (OK, 10 minutes), we finally brought her into bed with us. We haven't done that since before Christmas and now I remember why. She is the wiggliest sleeping baby EVER. Miraculously, Stéphane slept very well (usually he sleeps the least around here), Liliane of course slept like a log, but I kept having visions of crushing her in the night which oddly enough is not conducive to a restful good night's sleep. I snuck her back into her bed around 3 without any problems but she woke up at 7:30, just for fun.

We got our groggy selves out the door around 10 with the idea that once we found some coffee, we'd be up for strolling around the city for a few hours before heading home.

We found a café with excellent espresso, no problem:

And wow, did we ever feel better once the caffeine kicked in.

We took the olde-tyme Funicular to the upper part of the city:

Coming out of the station at the top, the first thing you see is this impressive statue of Samuel Champlain, founder of Quebec City:

Which is directly in front of the equally impressive Chateau Frontenac:

We have been to Quebec City a few times over the years, but there were a couple of new things in honour of the whole birthday party theme. The remnants of the original buildings were excavated and you could walk through and see what used to stand on this site. I was fascinated by the idea but the tour wasn't particularly stroller or cranky-baby friendly so we took some pictures from the top instead:

We strolled up the main drag to our #1 favourite thing to see when we're in Quebec. It's a cannon ball that has been lodged in a tree since 17-something. I forget which battle it was, but it has literally been embedded there all of these years. There isn't any plaque or anything, it's just sitting there.

Stéphane is taking video of it while passersby are wondering what the heck we are so excited about...

Random separatist graffiti:

And check out this little bus that runs on electricity!

We stopped for lunch at this quirky little fast-food chain that we don't have in Montréal. It's called Ashton and they are known for the quality of their poutine. They have all kinds of funky things on their menu (poutine with chicken and green peas or weiners) but we went with the classic poutine and all-dressed (meaning cabbage, mustard and green relish) hot dog. They had a deli-chicken and cheese sandwich that we ordered for Liliane which was perfect for her. This is also one of the first times she has been happy to sit in a restaurant high chair.

Although this picture is making my mouth water, I have to say that the poutine has gone a little downhill since the last time we had it. Or maybe our high-falutin' Montréal poutine standards and just too high :)

I know this picture is blurry, but Liliane was cracking up playing peek-a-boo (or Cou Cou! in French) and this is the best photo I got.

Back on the street, we were heading back towards the Old City when I noticed this seemingly innocuous energy drink vending machine.

Hmmm... notice anything special about the ingredients?

So that's what gives it that funky colour!! Ewwww.

Beauty shots of the Quebec Parliament and surrounding area just outside the St-Louis gate:

We trundled back down to the Old Port to get a shot of the silos at daytime and stumbled upon some cool stuff.

Here are the silos:

And this is a sculptural installation made to look like the water:
Hey, anything blue and sparkly works for me.

New favourite photo of Lili:

My attempts at taking an autoportrait with Liliane:

Stéphane came over and helped me out:

There were more things we could have done, but we were pooped by then and decided to pack up and hit the road. We got back to Montreal by 8PM, tired but happy.
Another week of clouds/rain/thunder/sun/humidity in the forecast, but oh well. Working on planning my last month of leave and preparing for big changes in September. Next big thing? Family vacay to Nova Scotia in two weeks!


auntie b said...

I'm so jealous again! Funicular! I loooove those! Looks like you guys had a great time at yet another Quebec hot spot. Stupid pouring rain here too on Saturday.

Jennifer said...

Awesome post! It actually made me cry for some reason :( It just looks like such a perfect cute little family vacation and makes me miss Carl :( But I'm glad you had fun!

mom said...

Great pics! You guys always find the coolest things everywhere you go - love the cannonball!

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