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Wednesday, July 26, 2006, 9:17 PM
Driving driving driving
Although this post is dated July 26, this little blog documents our holiday trip June 30 - July 3, 2006. We just wanted to get out of town (country) for the big blowout 4th. It really was a long drive. 515.74 miles, to be exact. Mapquest said we could make the trip in 8 hours and 38 minutes. On the drive there, we were flush with happiness for our little getaway and since the holiday traffic wasn't as awful as we expected, we had a pretty good time.

We listened to music through the iPod, iTunes, and the Bose, plugged into the cigarette lighter and booming from the backseat. Laptop on my lap:

Long drive, and of course Marc drove the whole way:

I like looking at him.

Our journey began:

I like big skies, especially if they hold magnificently lit clouds, like these.

Holiday traffic wasn't really all that bad -- just normal stuff up to and just past Albany, but then it cleared right up.

Adirondacks straight ahead. Scenic splendor.

Adirondackian Bridge. I just made that up.

Last exit -- already the bilingual life begins:

And here we are at the border! O Canada.

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, 9:12 PM
atmospheric conditions

Architectural clouds. Rain and blue skies and these big muscular clouds. Really beautiful.
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, 9:00 PM
It's not QC without something about the Frontenac
When people heard we were going to Quebec City, they inevitably said, "Oh, are you staying at the Frontenac?" That's the Château Frontenac, of course, one of the grand hotels of Quebec City. It's big and historical and undoubtedly has great views from some of the rooms, but we were really happy with our own hotel.

But I'd be seriously amiss if I didn't post some pictures of the old broad, so here goes:

There. Château Frontenac.
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, 8:52 PM
View of us there
Marc on the boardwalk, Day 1 during a brief period between rain showers

Handsome Marc sitting with me at a sidewalk cafe. Something to his right caught his eye just as I snapped the picture. I love this one.

Since I'm the photographer AND very very unphotogenic, this is one of the trip shots of me, taken on the way to Canada.

What the hell am I doing? Saying something is real tiny? NO. Marc is using my camera, which is unfamiliar to him, so I was showing him how to adjust something.
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Tuesday, July 04, 2006, 6:39 PM
Nearly twee
Quebec City is Charming (with a capital C, obviously). Hanging baskets of beautiful flowers everywhere, cobblestoned streets, neatly painted buildings, sidewalk cafes, precious. So precious. Almost too precious, but not quite. It held that edge.

alley of artists selling their paintings

So Saturday was Canada Day, eh? Not too much patriotism really, beyond the little pocket flags we saw here and there. But there were a couple of mini-parades of people who didn't seem to be all that happy with Canada. First, the angry mob:

What you can't see is a really pissy fat woman who, as she walked past me, shot me the finger. The whole way, and with a nasty look on her face. I was trying to take a video, but when we got back to the room it turns out that I hadn't saved it. Too bad, you could see what I meant. We think they were shouting something about not celebrating Canada Day. And their flag was orange, white and green.

Then there was a gang of French kids -- or, at least, people wrapped up in French flags. They were so happy, stopping to sing and dance. We have no idea what they were saying, but they were really, really happy.

We ate dinner at this really charming restaurant near our hotel. The food was really good, the crowd was not too fancy, and we had a great table inside, but near the open front of the restaurant. Really sweet, we enjoyed ourselves.
And a Fodor's pick:

Portofino Bistro Italiano FODOR'S PICK
54 rue Couillard, Québec City, Québec, Canada
PHONE: 418/692-8888
Cuisine(s): Italian
Price range: C$8 to C$12, C$13 to C$20, C$21 to C$30,
By joining two 18th-century houses, owner James Monti has created an Italian restaurant with a bistro flavor. The room is distinctive: burnt-sienna walls, soccer flags hanging from the ceiling, a wood pizza oven set behind a semicircular bar, and deep-blue tablecloths and chairs. Don't miss the thin-crust pizza and its accompaniment of oils flavored with pepper and oregano. The pennini all'arrabbiata -- tubular pasta with a spicy tomato sauce -- is also good. Save room for the homemade tiramisu. From 3 PM to 7 PM the restaurant serves a beer and pizza meal for less than C$11.
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, 6:18 PM
L'Hôtel du Vieux Québec
This is our hotel, L'Hôtel du Vieux Québec -- really charming, and the location couldn't have been better. We simply walked out the front door onto a plentiful street.

There was always something going on, and in the afternoon the streets were crowded. Since Saturday was Canada Day, people had little Canadian flags sticking out of their pockets and pinned to their jackets. Cute.

So charming really does describe our hotel. It was great, we couldn't have been happier with it. When we checked in, the desk clerk kind of paused and said, "ok, it's a little tricky to get to your room. Go up these stairs..."

sorry it's blurry

"...then you go through the lounge..."

there was a little TV to the right

"...then around the corner and up another flight of stairs...."

"...then up another flight of stairs..."

this flight was the killer

"...et voila!"

Et voila, indeed. The room was pretty small, but big enough. And it came with a refrigerator and range (with oven), and a decent bathroom.

if you know us, you know this is so us

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, 6:03 PM
Sounds of Quebec City
Sunday night we were walking down Rue St. Jean, the street in front of our hotel, when I heard that old familiar sound, the sound I love -- click and enjoy:

That's right, there's nothing that says Quebec City like the sound of an accordion. We ate breakfast here Saturday morning, but there was no live music. Too bad.
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Sunday, July 02, 2006, 11:50 AM
Rain rain go away....

We knew we were facing bad weather when we were driving into Canada -- these are beautiful, orange skies full of rain and heavy looming but luminous clouds full of light. Really pretty, but ominous, too.

And sure enough, we had loads of rain. Our first day, Saturday (July 1, which turned out to be Canada Day) there were periods of heavy rain. This is a view from the boardwalk, overlooking the lower part of the old city.

But the rain did stop, every day. This was Saturday morning, our first venture down to the boardwalk. That's Frontenac behind Marc.

So every single day of our trip, it rained. And every single day of our trip, there were long periods without rain, which means we had the chance to do as much sight-seeing as we would do under any circumstances.
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, 8:40 AM
where we're staying
L'Hôtel du Vieux Québec, charming and right in the old part of the city. More later...

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006, 8:04 AM
a long weekend
We're taking a nice long weekend trip to Quebec City -- more later, just getting this set up.
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