Contrary to what you may hear about the French, the majority of them are very nice people. I’ve heard stories about how they’re prejudice against anyone who speaks English but I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s just all hearsay. When I was in Quebec, the locals were more than happy to speak English. Of course, I didn’t ask them in English if they spoke English. That would be a little arrogant. You have to make an attempt to speak the local language if you want to get where you want to go.
The drive up to Quebec wasn’t too bad. It would have been a lot better if I had cruise control because we were on the road from 4:00 AM until 2:00 PM. We traveled a round trip of approximately 1,830 km, spent about 18hrs on the highways and used up $140 worth of gas. The downside to the trip was that we brought the rain and not in the way that Tyrese Gibson meant in Transformers. It rained when we left Hamilton and it followed us up to Quebec and then back down. Although it was forecast to rain, I didn’t let that get to me. I looked forward to driving along the open road, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the beautiful scenery (and I don’t just mean the pretty little lady sitting beside me).
It has always been a goal of mine to drive along the open roads of Canada. I’ve always wanted to drive out east to Newfoundland and west to British Columbia. This trip got me a little closer to the east coast of Canada. If time permitted, I would have kept driving until I reached the Atlanta. But for now, Quebec will do just fine.
We spent three days and two nights in Quebec City and a day and a night in Montreal. We didn’t plan on stopping by Ottawa but it was a nice little detour for the drive back home. There were plenty of things to do while in Quebec City. We booked a hotel that was supposedly close to the center of the city but in reality it was about twenty minutes away. It was a problem but it was nothing that we couldn’t work around. It just made finding a parking spot a bit of a pain. I was expecting that the cost of parking was going to be high but compared to parking in Toronto, it was cheap. It cost anywhere from $9-$12 for the whole day. In Toronto, you’re looking at about $20-$25 for a couple of hours.
It wasn’t hard to find a parking lot but it was hard to find a spot. I guess the cost of parking was low that people didn’t care where they parked. We were tempted to park on the street and just leave the car there. It might have cost a bit if we received a ticket but it probably wouldn’t have been that much.
Once we were able to find an all day parking, walking around in Old Quebec was a breeze. You didn’t have to go far since it was all clumped into one area. They did a good job at retaining the look and feel of the Old Quebec. I think they restored a few buildings and upgraded parts of it but they kept the old style look. Parts of the area had paved roads where the other parts still had stone pieces.
There were lots of restaurants that had seating available outside. This made it feel a little like Paris. I’ve never been to Paris so I can’t say for sure that it feels like Paris. I’m just going on what others have told me. We didn’t dine outside but we could have. It was still drizzling a little and dining outside wasn’t a good idea. The phone was a bit on the expensive side but it was expected. My coworker did warn me about the high price of dining and recommended that I pack my own food. I should have taken his advice but didn’t have time to pack.
The city was filled with tourist from all over the world. It seem like there were a lot of Asians visiting though. I guess the French are kinder to foreigners because they think we don’t speak English very well so they don’t force French on us. I made sure to ask if they spoke English in French so that they wouldn’t get mad or anything. I think they were really helpful once we attempted French. My French is a little out of date because I haven’t taken any classes since high school so it’s a little rusty.
I think people can get around just fine without knowing the language. Store owners were really polite and were very approachable. I got the chance to speak with a parking attendant over some random topic. I told him that I was from Hamilton and we got started talking about hockey. There are lots of things that can connect two strangers together and everyone can get along just fine. Before going on this trip, I was more nervous about having to use my French again but I think I did well enough to get by. I managed to ask for $20 worth of gas at a full serve gas station and the worker was nice enough to give me $5 more.
Quebec City is a very nice play to visit. It has a lot of history and a mix of old and new architecture. It’s a very artsy city and there are performances here and there. Cirque du Soleil had some live entertainment right on the street. I’ve never been to once but the show was very entertaining. The tours that they offer gives you an insight as to what life was like back in the day and it tells you a little more about the area. We went on a ghost tour and found it to be very informative. The next time I visit, I’ll probably look into committing with the local transportation services so I can save on gas. I don’t think you need a car to get around but if you prefer the conveniences of your own transportation, parking isn’t all that bad either.