I was amazed at how effortlessly our guide narrated in French and English. I was really blown away when I heard her shooting the breeze in Spanish with some people who stopped by to see her after the tour.
Construction of the Citadel took place from 1820 through 1852. It is still an active military base. We listened to our guide as she led us around the premises. We had to be careful because the ground was icy. One person in the group took a spill.
We entered two buildings at the Citadel. Both told the story of the Canadian military through mannequins, dioramas, uniforms, photos, and other displays. The information ranged from the early battles between the French and British right up to Canada's involvement in modern-day conflicts such as the war in Afghanistan. We were given time to examine the displays and read the information. Our guide also gave us a short history lesson.
The tour ended in front of the same building at which we started. It had been an informative hour.
Our final stop on our sightseeing outing was the Capital Observatory (L'Observatoire de la Capitale). This 31-story skyscraper offers visitors an awesome overview of the city - visually and literally. It was $10 per person to ride the elevator to the 31st floor. Once at the top, Traci and I spent an hour and a half walking around admiring the view of the city in all directions through the large windows. I was sorry we did not start our vacation here because there was a short film called The Six Capitals that played continuously. The film gave an outstanding summary of Quebec's 400-year history, its neighborhoods, and its culture. This was the information I had hoped to get from the Quebec Experience attraction we tried to visit on our first day. Nonetheless, the film validated Traci and I had made good progress in seeing the city through guided tours and our own sightseeing.
view of Chateau Frontenac
view of the star-shaped Citadel
We had incredible meals at every restaurant we visited in Quebec City. We seemed to always spend $50 regardless of which meal we ate. Restaurants in Old Quebec tend to be a little more expensive depending on when you dine. One strategy we used, thanks to the concierge at our hotel, was to try to eat at restaurants within the old section of the city before dinner hours. We were able to get a slightly better value at those times.
The menus in Quebec often contain wild game such as pheasant, bison, wild pig, and caribou. We often had to ask for a descriptions of some dishes. For example, there was something called sweetbread that sounded like dessert but it is actually made of animal innards such as throat, heart, stomach, etc.. We did not try it. There were some local specialties such as poutine (french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy). I would have liked to have tried it but I never got around to it. Of course, being in a country whose flag contains a maple leaf, it was not uncommon that the food contained delicious sweet maple glaze.
Traci and I normally have a ritual pizza meal whenever we leave the U.S.. On our first night in Quebec City, we took our hotel concierge's advice and made the 10-minute walk to La Piazzetta. It turned out to be one of the best pizzas I've had in a long time. Traci was intrigued by the Alpine Rolls containing Swiss cheese, grilled Westphalian ham, red onions, chives, apples, white wine and Alfredo sauce. Therefore, she decided to order it and postpone her pizza until later in the vacation. She loved the Alpine Rolls. continue...