Wednesday, June 16, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Day 47: Quebec, QC
After catching up on some neglected planning and organizing this morning, we arrived in downtown Quebec around noon, just in time to enjoy a delicious lunch at Pub D'Orsay in upper town.  Walking along the hilly cobbled lanes of Vieux-Québec (Old Quebec) almost fooled us into thinking we were in France.  French architecture is dominant, signs are in French, and outdoor cafes abound.
This afternoon the city was filled with tourists, as we expected since we are now well into June and the summer vacation season. What we didn't anticipate is that the city was also overrun with groups of school children from 10-year-olds to teens.
In certain areas, like small pocket parks, the kids were covering almost every square inch.  Frequently we saw middle school age kids roaming around on their own in small groups with no chaperone in sight.  Hopefully they all made their way back to the buses and home when day was done.
Shops and restaurants and boutiques of every stripe contribute to the colorful atmosphere of the district, where a few streets have been closed to all but pedestrian traffic.  On most streets in Old Quebec, flowerboxes and hanging baskets were overflowing with colorful blossoms.

In our wandering, we inadvertently ended up exiting to the lower town.  By the time we realized we needed to move up the embankment to reach the area where we had parked our car, we were so far down that the only option was the Cap Blanc stairway.
Québec City's longest staircase, the Cap Blanc was built out of wood in 1868 for use by the workers of the Cap-Blanc district to walk to work in munitions factories.  The stairs have been rebuilt many times, because they are bolted onto a rock wall subject to rockslides. Today the stairway includes a number of landings to give users a chance to catch their breath, and at 400 steps, you need it.

Daily Stats
Miles driven:  15
Miles walked:  4.5
Schoolchildren:  14,256
Frazzled teachers:  317
Horse-drawn carriages:  76
Souvenir shops:  59
Quebec flags:  9,361