Saturday, 16 July 2011

Quebec Day 1

The day after St. Quentin, we made our way to Quebec City. I absolutely adore Quebec City. The French colonial architecture is stunning, the city is impeccably clean and the weather on this trip was perfect. In the morning we took a guided tour of the city: we visited Parliament, the Vieux Quebec, and many other historic sights. There were many tourists in Quebec because there was a giant music festival that week (Elton John performed on Saturday evening).

After our walking tour, we met up with some of the other students in the program for a historic tour of the Chateau Frontenac, which is now a 5-star hotel. The tour guides who work at the Chateau wear historic costumes and are wonderful actors and actresses. On our tour we learned about the world class restaurant, the bee keepers who keep hives on the garden terraces of the Chateau, the special breed of hens that can withstand the cold of the Quebec winter, the general history of the founding of Quebec City and the hotel, and much more. The 40 minute tour was jammed packed with amazing details!

In the early evening, my friend Alanna and I met up with our hosts, who were incredibly kind and generous. They invited us to dinner at their home to meet their friends. Alanna and I were happy to accept.

Before dinner, Alanna, Amanda, Trish and I attended mass in Vieux Quebec, and then Alanna and I returned to our hosts' home for supper. It was wonderful practice to speak French with francophones! After our delicious supper, our hosts departed for the Elton John concert, and Alanna and I made our way to the center of town to get in line for the free Cirque du Soleil show. We met up with a few friends there and rushed through the gates with the rest of the crowd to try and hunt out a good spot to see the spectacle! After some quick negotiating with the neighbors to my right and my left I was able to get a half decent view of the stage (although I did feel a bit guilty for blocking the view of the people behind me...I'm a bit tall!) While we waited for the show to start, a few performers meandered through the crowd and interacted with the audience members (turning baseball caps backwards, miming at various people)--we were all so excited to see the show!

There were several parts to the stage, and a catwalk that stretched out into the audience right next to where we were standing. During the show, some artists would perform at the end of the catwalk (providing us an excellent view!) At one point there was a performer who was whirling 10 different hula hoops on her body at one time--she was the image of grace and strength. The show was also special because it was an outdoor performance so the entire arena was lit by the full moon (in addition to the stage lighting).

After the Cirque du Soleil, we visited la rue grande allee. It seemed that all of Quebec was hanging out and socializing on la rue grande allee that night! The best part? I saw the biggest mirror ball I have ever encountered in my life! It must have been about 8 feet in was suspended about Chez Dagobear (a dance club). I couldn't help but think of my Yale friends who have a thing for disco balls.

Horse drinking out of a special fountain for draft animals:

Beautiful flags:

I love this building (the red and white colors are stunning):

Heading toward the Vieux Quebec:

View of Vieux Quebec:

A church in the center of the historic district:

Scores of sailboats on the river:

Chateau Frontenac:

Alanna at at our host's dinner:
Cirque du Soleil:
Giant Mirror Ball:

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