Baguettes, crêpes, funicular, everything maple—these few words describe my second visit to Quebec City that enabled me to retrace some fond memories from a high school trip. Those include seeing huge banners everywhere stating “Oui” or “Non” as Quebec province pondered sovereignty from Canada. Another was looking up, up, up at the fascinating architecture of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. A take home treasure was a hand-drawn horse poster purchased in Old Quebec City.
On this recent trip, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac was covered in scaffolding; instead, I looked up, up, up for the ice machine sign on our hotel floor, after pantomiming my search for ice for two maids who only spoke French. The Parliament gardens were meticulously groomed and bursting with color; I particularly enjoyed the herb gardens. No one wanted to hear me speak the French I had practiced for months, and many asked me: “How’s my English?”
A “first” ride on the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec took me down to the Quartier Petit Champlain on Saturday. A bit disappointing to see half-hearted flurries swirling through the giant snow globe; did the machine feel a summer’s heat? Earlier that day, we had wished a winter trip as we discovered the toboggan slide (Les Glissades de la Terrasse) near the Promenade des Gouverneurs.
As I exited the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church, I noticed a man’s t-shirt that said “born and raised in Santa Cruz.” Not wanting to make a geography assumption, I looked closer, and “Northern California” was printed above this text. Me? Born in California, I visited my grandparents in Santa Cruz for many of my childhood years—a gentle faith reminder on a Sabbath day so far from home. Riding back up to my family, I spotted my “first” black—not gray, not brown, not red—squirrel scrambling through the treetops.
“The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
—Psalm 16:5, 6 KJV
Back in the States, I can’t stop thinking of ways to use maple syrup, maple sugar and maple crème in baking muffins and such, all the while mumbling French phrases back at Mr. Duolingo. I find myself buying a cheddar and caramel popcorn mix that closely resembles the maple cheddar mix we enjoyed in Old Quebec. I watch the sunlight and breeze play with the leaves on our oaks and pines, and I remember.
I took this at the end of my morning stroll from the Plains of Abraham, along the Promenade des Gouverneurs, and then following the Old Quebec City wall back towards Rue Saint-Jean.
I noticed “Le Foyer” in stone above this door, and thought it rather unique to “announce” an entrance to a building. Then I thought perhaps it could be a family surname. I did a quick internet search: common occupations in Canada for the Foyer family included shoemaker, tailor, and varnisher. The other clue: The red “HI Canada” flag which turns out to be a sign for Hostel International Canada; and this building is, in fact, Auberge Internationale de Québec on Rue Sainte-Ursule in Old Quebec City. This isn’t the main entrance; but I don’t know where this door leads. Could this be the hostel where we stayed in high school?
The green patina roof marked this library in the view from our hotel window.