Old Quebec with Local Cyclists

We haven't seen as many other long distance cyclists as we expected on this trip. But whenever we do, we pause and stop to chat if they are so inclined. Some just wave and continue cycling right on by. Others are as interested as we are in swapping stories. 960 miles ago, we met Robert and Diane cycling through New Brunswick. Today, they opened up their home to us and personally guided us through Old Quebec City!

Crossing the St. Lawrence River on a short ferry ride, the buildings of the old city quickly came into view, with the imposing Château Frontenac Hotel towering over it all. Soon we felt we were stepping right into a European city. The narrow streets were lined with colorful awnings and blooming flowers. Shop fronts filled with enticing displays beckoned to shoppers. Sidewalk cafés held unhurried patrons, sipping a coffee and watching the world parade by. Fashionable figures passed us on the street. It was a delightful scene.

Rich with our hosts Diane and Robert

Rich with our hosts Diane and Robert on the ferry

Rich pauses on a narrow street

Rich pauses on a narrow street

Restaurants and boutiques beckon

Restaurants and boutiques beckon

It soon became apparent how Old Quebec was built on a steep hill, as we mounted numerous flights of stairs to the upper reaches of the city. There we could see the ramparts and citadel as well as the old town walls. More streets filled with restaurants and boutiques angled across the hilltop. We also made the rounds of the imposing government buildings, peeked into churches and admired old convents and schools. We even strolled through the elegant first floor of the Château Frontenac. It was wonderful to have local friends to find the best sights for us and fill us in on the history behind them as well.

The plaza behind the Château Frontenac

The plaza behind the Château Frontenac overlooking the river

Old city walls of Quebec

Old city walls of Quebec

Government building adorned with statues and gardens

Government building adorned with statues and gardens

We had mid-day dinner in a wonderful small place on a side street, called Le Buffet des Antiquites. The long line waiting outside was a testament to its popularity and reasonable prices. Robert made sure we knew the dishes that were typical of Quebec, and we enjoyed sampling the local fare.

Happy cyclists turned tourists

Happy cyclists turned tourists

Throughout this trip, Quebec City has stood out as a major milestone for us. It was the gem at the end of the coastal portion of our cycling tour. After miles of pure scenery and only small towns and villages, we knew it would be a cultural delight. We'd never been to Quebec before, and we were excited to explore it. We just didn't know we would have the benefit of having our own personal tour guides.

We spent a delightful evening with Robert and Diane, sharing tales of our respective cycling tours and were treated to a wonderful meal. Who knew that a chance roadside meeting would lead to such warm hospitality? There is something very special about cycle touring. We just experienced it.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s