Sunday, 7 October 2007

Along the Rue St. Paul

Walking back along the street I couldn't help but notice these buildings. Hidden behind the pillars of the highway was this church built in the same style as the Château Frontenac and the buildings at the Gare du Palais like railway station and the Canada Service offices. It looked almost forgotten. And yet it is one more thread woven into the fabric of Québec. I love the consistancy of architecture of the city. Threads pop up here and there in unexpected places.

Further down the road twards the hotel are buildings from different periods. The sun reflecting off the roof of the spire on these buildings from the Georgian period caught my eye.

It's like travelling back and forth through time. In this part of the city the time that had been has been respected and reinterpreted in newer, modern structures without distracting from them. By the way the wired dome on this building is a beauty by night.

Having said all that, one block down and the view leads to this. A steaming power plant in the city reminds me of travelling down the hills of into the city of Prague. It also reminded me of Edmonston with all the steam billowing out of the chimneys. And then there was that other curious construction...

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Rue Saint Paul - Boulevard Charest Est

Place: Québec.
Time: around 07.00 hrs.
Destination: Rue Saint Paul - Boulevard Charest Est.
Reason: murals under the highway.

I had only seen these online but was I glad the place we rented the car from had an office on the boulevard. That's how I found out where they were. And just a few blocks from the hotel and bus/train station as well. Perfect!

For some reason I woke up that morning really early and decided to sneak out of the hotel and bring the camera with me. I guess I also needed time alone to say au revoir to Quebec. Funny how you can fall in love with places you've only heard stories of and find out the love is real!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Night time Quebec

Having found a hotel, eaten at a Belgian Restaurent of all places, we also found the train and bus station and my final pic of the day is all about water. Perfect ending to a day spent near the St. Laurent River and Montmorency Falls.

Having reached the top

Of course we had to cross the suspension bridge over the falls. But I hate heights. I really do. Even knowing hundreds of thousands of people had crossed the bridge before me, I still had to reach down deep inside me to pluck up the courage to walk across. Not the most enjoyable experience in my life let me tell you. Suspension bridges in Canada somehow all seem to have some sway in them and of course it was just my luck that this bridge was frequented by joggers. I don't like joggers!

Anyway before crossing I did take some time to see behind the falls. The Montmorency rivers looked so placid. Seeing them like that made it hard to imagine that that much water flowing over the edge could be that impressive. So unlike the peaceful mirror up top.

Deep breath! Despite my fears I couldn't not look over the side of the railing. In one word: Wow!

Taken from the observation deck on the other side of the bridge.

The final photo of La Chute Montmorency. Back on terra firma before we make our way back down to go find a place to spend the night and find out where the bus station is located. Tomorrow we travel to Montreal.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Earthen fort

On top of the cliff in the park at the falls you can see the remains of the earthen fort built by General Wolfe in 1759. Previous attempts to capture the city at the landings below Quebec city had failed and he was driven back and defeated at Montmorency Falls by General Montcalm. The culmination of the following three-month siege by the British, came on September 13, 1759 in a battle that lasted less than an hour (17 minutes according to wikipedia!) when General Wolfe and his men staged a succesful attack by climbing the cliffs below the Plains of Abraham. Both Generals died of wounds inflicted at the battle. Wolfe's death is depicted in this painting by Benjamin West.

View from Space

I came across this photo taken by one of the NASA satelites when I was looking for info on the Montmorency Falls. You can actually see the bridge across the fleuve St. Laurent and where the Montmorency river flows into it as well as the Île D'Orléans and Quebec city. More info on their World Wind programme and where to download it can be found: here (English only)

Up on the cliff

The view is spectacular from the top of the stairs. You can see the bridge across to the Île d'Orléans, a suburban farm island that is 8 kilometres wide and 32 km long, known for it's fertile microclimate that is wonderful for growing all kinds of produce especially fruit. The bridge to the island is the only way across and there's barely enough room for more than one car on it as you go across. There's a really wonderful spot on the tip of the island that has a great view of the harbour, the city and Château Frontenac. Sheer magic by night!

No better place than here to watch the sun set over the city (pic by Carmen).

Becoming a stairmaster

Like a giant snake the stairs wind their way up a sandstone cliff, each level offering a different view of the falls, Quebec, the surroundings. Oh, and more steps!

Chute de Montmorency

Another must see when you're in Quebec, la Chute de Montmorency. Absolutely stunning on a day like we had, basking in the late evening sun just before sunset. I've seen them displayed in technicolour at nighttime as well. I'd love to see them during the winterfestival when they are covered in meters of ice. At 83 meters they are the highest waterfalls in Quebec and about 30 meters higher than the Niagara Falls. The views from the cliff are tremendous. You can either climb your way to the top using the stairs or take a cable car up. We took the stairs.