LWers cross off bucket list items in Quebec City
by Fred Fenton
Vaccine records and COVID19 test results in hand, we flew to Quebec City on Aug. 9, the first day Americans were allowed to cross the Canadian border. My wife, Linda, and I were on our way to fulfill a bucket list item to walk the cobbled streets of one of North America’s most enchanting cities.
Quebec did not disappoint. We stayed four nights at the iconic Le Chateau Frontenac, a worldclass, 600-room hotel that towers over the old city and resembles a castle. Our suite afforded breathtaking views of the mighty Saint Lawrence River, which connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. And we enjoyed room service for breakfast and dinners in the hotel’s two restaurants, where we ate too much and had wine with every course.
Our driver knew the history of his city and showed us all the sites.As a retired Episcopal priest, I wanted to see the the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Located near the Chateau, the Anglican cathedral opened in 1804, becoming the first of its kind built outside the British Isles.
The narrow streets of the Old City section of Quebec were filled with shops, restaurants and historic monuments. Nearby was a grassy meadow called the Plains of Abraham, where the Battle of Quebec was fought in 1759 and led to British control of Canada.
A sightseeing cruise on the Saint Lawrence River was great fun. We saw the mighty Montmorency Falls, which are higher than Niagara Falls.
Back on land, we enjoyed the uncrowded streets and shops. Visitors from the rest of the world were not allowed in until later in the month, so we Americans had the city to ourselves. We found our high school French inadequate and were relieved to discover many French-speaking Canadians also spoke English. Without exception, the Canadians were warm and welcoming, though a bit more formal and reserved than Americans—but that, to us, was a pleasant surprise.
Before returning, we had to repeat costly COVID tests. U.S. Customs surprised us by not asking to see the documentation. Was it respect for seniors, or a desire to move things along? Your guess is as good as ours.
Quebec exceeded expectations. We had a glorious time, but, as always, we were happy to drive up to the Leisure World gates and know we were home.