The first day in Québec was difficult. I was tired and it was a little muggy. I got off the train knowing that my hostel was uphill, I had been warned beforehand by Elizabeth, and was not relishing the idea. I turned one corner and felt like giving up there and then. It was only about a 15 minute walk, but this hill was enough to break my spirit. Without all my belongings on my back it would have been an unpleasant walk. Finally powering up through I came to a flat street and felt immense relief, thinking my ordeal was over. No no.
This is the hill my hostel was on. Why would they do that to a person? I arrived, sweating and exhausted, and flopped down on my bed awhile. It being still fairly early, I managed to convince myself to get up and go out for a walk.
The citadelle overlooks the Saint Lawrence River, and it was a pretty spectacular view. I wandered on for awhile, enjoying the fact that it was cooling down, and even that it was getting a little dark. You know sometimes you're ready for autumn and all it entails? I reached the point where I took the photo of the cruise shop at the top of the post. I had decided there that I would turn around and head back as there were further stairs going down, and it was keenly aware that anywhere I climbed down would have to be climbed back up again. Seconds after I took the photo rain started spattering down, not heavy, but big drops. I turned and returned home, not being able to open my umbrella due to the wind and resigning myself to getting a bit damp. By the time I was back at the citadelle the rain had truly set in and I was drenched.
The days afterwards were nicer. I took myself round Old Québec, enjoying the Halloween decorations, even though the idea of the town hall decorating itself so massively was a little strange to me. I really liked the old town, it reminded me more of home, more winding streets and less of the predictable grid I'd met everywhere else.
I'd spotted a Christmas shop in Montréal but hadn't had a chance to go in, so as soon as I saw this I was there. I wanted to find an ornament for Christmas in Canada, Samantha and I's apartment and tour having been all booked and settled a little while ago. It's terrible, I'm so impatient for it to be December and for her to be here! I digress. This place was awesome. There were some lovely little things, and there was Christmas music playing (some French versions of English songs which is always amusing to listen to), but it was extremely expensive. It makes sense, it's not the season, it's not what people are buying. Still not going to pay $30 for an ornament I'm sure I'll find plenty of when festivities roll around for real. Glad I held out, as a day or two later I found a much cheaper little ornament that I quite enjoy. So there.
Here is my requisite photo of a tree turning.
The last and next two photos are from the Plains of Abraham, which was easily my favourite place. An enormous park with wonderful views over the river. I could (and did) spend hours here, especially in the unseasonable warmth.
I saw a woodpecker! I was ambling along listening to some podcasts (Adam&Joe at that particular time) and heard an odd noise. When it repeated it occurred to me that it might just be a woodpecker, and I was absolutely delighted when it was. I also saw a chipmunk though the photo is a bit rubbish. But hey chipmunk! Not as exciting as the raccoons in Montréal.
One day I felt the need to go out on the water. Do you ever get that? Where you're just like...I want to be in a boat, right now. So I found myself a little tour, with a guide dressed up as...Louis Jolliet I think? An explorer. The guide couldn't seem to decide if he was acting as Louis or just dressed up as him! every other sentence would jump from past to present from I to he.
These falls are taller that the Horseshoe Falls. Apparently.
View back to Quebec.
I spent my second to last day having a small wander up an unknown road before heading back to the Plains for an amble in a different direction and a max....relax. I sat by this hill for awhile, and recalled how shortly before I left for Canada I had rolled down a hill in Greenwich with Bex. Worst idea we had for awhile.
Now I'm sat on the train en route to Ottawa, where the hostel is a jail and apparently one of the most haunted places in Canada. Except it's not, because ghosts aren't real. But you know, spooky n that.