A Travellerspoint blog

Day 9

22 August - Quebec City

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After last night's rain the forecast was for a cool, partly overcast day around 18-19 degrees. After breakfast in the hotel, we headed out to explore the insides of the old walled city. The buildings are mostly really well preserved. It truly is a pocket of old Europe in North America. The oldest relics below the decking outside the Chateau Frontenac date back to the early 1600's. We travelled solo with Lance & Karol going their own way and met up at 12.30 for lunch.

After lunch we all went down the funicular to the lower part of the old city. There the cobblestone lanes are lined with shops and restaurants and we took our time exploring. I bought a light backpack to store our purchases in and carry them. The mild weather made the long day's trek pleasant. We sat for a while after ascending the funicular, then returned to the hotel. Lance & I went and bought some wine whilst the ladies relaxed.

We walked to an Asian restaurant for dinner that Darlene & I had passed earlier in the day. We had been advised it was BYO but that information turned out to be incorrect and our bottle of Malbec remained unopened. Wine at restaurants and bars here is marked up even more than at home. After paying exorbitant prices for wine on other evenings we decided to stick with water. Based on Darlene's step counter on her phone and the extra walking I did, I think I walked over 10km for the day.

Tomorrow will be an easier day. We are driving to Montmerency falls and Ile de Orleans.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 04:01 Comments (0)

Day 8

21 August - Montreal to Quebec City

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We woke to a windy but warm morning. A change and some rain are due tonight both here in Montreal and in Quebec City. We walked across to the station and ate breakfast at the same restaurant as yesterday. The lady there remembered us and what we ordered. Impressive.

After checking out we headed off in the car. I had planed a route to ge us out of town and heading in the right direction. Darlene drove and I navigated. Given we had around three hours of travel and five hours till check-in time we took the scenic route following the river for much of the journey.

The road surface wasn't as good and there were lots of trafic lights but we dove past some impressive houses built overlooking the water and through some quaint country towns. We stopped for lunch at Trois Rivieres. Being less of a tourist town there was not much English spoken here. The wi-fi password from Valentines, where I purchased lunch allowed me to download the google maps formy phone that I needed to navigate us to our hotel in Quebec City. The satnav is in its box in my case until we clear Quebec Province. Then I'll try it again.

After checking in we went for a short walk. I visite the tourist information centre and firmed up our plans for the stay here and located the nearest wine store :-). Next to the store there was a restaurant we liked the look of so we decided to return there later for dinner. When it came time to head out for dinner it was already raining lightly. When it came time to return to the hotel it was raining more. Oh well. The forecast is for the rain to clear overnght and a cooler mostly dry day tomorrow. We will use that cooler weather to cover as much of Old Quebec City on foot as we can.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 04:17 Comments (0)

Day 7

20 August - Montreal

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Our hotel is over the road from Montreal's central railway station. We wandered into the station this morning and found an agreeable restaurant for breakfast. On the way back into the hotel we asked the valet to fetch the car so there would be no excuses for delay this time.

We like the hotel. it is 4 star and is spacious and modern. The hotel occupies the top two floors of the building and has an open air heated pool that is used year round. There's a photo in the lift of the pool in winter with people swimming in it and snow all around.It is a good place to stay but food is expensive here, hence our ventures outside the hotel to eat.

Today we went to the Biodome. It was originally the velodrome built for the 1976 Olympic games. It is now a biosphere that houses a number of environments including tropics, arctic, temperate and marine. I took a bunch of photos but can't include them all here. It is a special place and well worth a visit. They also have a planetarium and a Botanical Garden/Insectarium here. We just did the Biosphere. No other takers for the Planetarium :-( . We spent a few hours there then headed out in no particular direction to find somewhere for lunch.

After lunch we drove around in the hope of finding a shopping mall. When we stopped to assess where we were we were no longer on the paper map we were using. Oops. Eventually it was Google Maps to the rescue. Even in airplane mode with no wi-fi it tells you where you are. With that I was able to work out which way we needed to head and 30 minutes later we were back at the hotel.

Tomorrow we head to Quebec City, about 3 hours drive from here.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 04:18 Comments (0)

Day 6

19 August - Montreal

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We woke to news the day was to be warm and sunny as forecast. We wandered over the road and ate breakfast at a local restaurant. After breakfast we called valet parking to have the car ready. We gave them the 15 minutes notice they ask for but when we got down there they had no record of our request. The call had diverted to reception and whilst reception had asked for the tag number they had not passed it on to the valet. So we waited another 15 minutes and then we were off. It is a short drive down to Old Montreal but too far to walk.

We parked underground in a car park under a bank near Basilique Notre Dame. Outside the bank, after surfacing we found a number of horses and buggys lined up to take tourists around old Montreal. So we hopped on one and got a commentary in the process. There are buildings dating back to some of the earliest settlements in North America in the 1600s. The oldest public clock in North America, a very old Hospital, and a few other notable things. The tour lasted 30 minutes.

We browsed some tourist stores, had good but inexpensive lunch at a Breakfast/Lunch diner called Tutti Frutti. Lunch included a delicious, home made Cream of Carrot soup. After lunch we walked further west into old Montreal, in the other direction to the the horse and buggy ride and we found a pedestrian mall with shops and restaurants on cobble-stoned Rue St Paul, the oldest street in Montreal. We walked the length of the mall and found a square lined with restaurants and filled with market stalls. We wandered around and down to the waterfront and along a bit where we bought some maple syrup at a stall and then made our way back to the car. Old Montreal is a beautiful place to explore.

We made our way by car up to Mount Royal overlooking Montreal. We found entry to the lookout at the second attempt. You can only enter from one direction and we were coming from the wrong way. I set off up a trail with a few hundred steps leading to a walking trail seeking a higher vantage point for more photos. It was beautiful up there but with the others waiting for me I cut it short and returned.

Back at the hotel I went for a refreshing swim. We headed out for dinner with the intention of eating in old Montreal but we were unable to find a parking spot. So we returned to an Asian buffet restaurant we passed earlier in the day and ate there. A busy but enjoyable day.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 04:38 Comments (0)

Day 5

18 August - Boston to Montreal

After Breakfast I caught the light rail one stop down the line and then walked a way to the rental car depot. After a short wait (I was early) I collected the car without incident and successfully navigated my way back to the hotel. Darlene, Lance & Karol were waiting on the kerb with all our bags. We quickly loaded up and headed off.

We struggled to get the sat nav device to show us our path to Montreal so with a paper map and google maps on my phone we negotiated the first half of the journey ok. We used a paper map we collected at our lunch stop to get us to the Canadian border. It took about 40 minutes to get to the front of the queue. The guy had a dry sense of humour and quizzed me about my former resident status that I rescinded 16 years ago. Eventually we were cleared to proceed and it was then we realised that the sat nav maps we downloaded did not have the Canadian Province of Quebec indexed. This is where we will spend our next 6 nights. That's going to be difficult. Will need some more paper maps. With the phones on airplane mode to avoid roaming charges we can only use our mobiles where we have wi-fi.

We followed street signs into the city and by chance saw a sign for the hotel. We did a quick U-turn and followed the building around the block until we found the entrance. The concierge and valet parking is at street level. The reception is on the top floor and the rooms are on the top floor and the floor below. The rest of the building is office space & a convention centre. We checked in ok and due to the lateness of the hour we ate in the restaurant. $115 Canadian dollars for two glasses of wine,a pasta dish and a steak. Won't be doing that again.

No pics today but will make up for that tomorrow.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 18:55 Comments (0)

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