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May 29th 2015

Yesterday I walked down Grand Allee en route to Avenue Cartier (named after one of the founders of the city, not the jeweler). It’s more a nightlife street but there were several beautiful historic homes. Avenue Cartier is a shopping district that, like many of the shops in the Old City, features locally owned businesses which sell Quebec-made or Canadian goods.

I wandered for an hour or two in the Plains of Abraham Park. I’m so glad I did a city walking tour on my first day so I understood the history behind the area. The park is on top of a cliff that the English managed to surmount. They camped out, backs to the river, and taunted the French into battle. A battle that started with onlookers cheering for what they thought would be the end of the English. After less than 20 minutes of fighting the English won and claimed Quebec City as part of the British empire. After exploring the park I’d recommend finding the staircase down to the boardwalk and walking back along Boulevard Champlain.

The Citadel is well worth the price of admission. Your ticket includes admission to a wonderful museum with many artifacts that help tell the story of French Canadian involvement in World War I and World War II, and every war since then. There is a wonderful photography exhibit that draws parallels between military service in World War I and Afghanistan. The walking tour of the grounds includes some of the best views of the city, the St. Lawrence River, and Levis. Also, there’s a goat named Batisse.

The Morrin Centre is a small but incredibly interesting place to visit. It was the first city jail, housed an Anglophone college for English-speaking Protestants from 1862-1902, and is home to the Morrin Library. The tour lasts about an hour and the tour guide did an incredible job providing insights into the history of the building, from visiting jail cells to college classrooms. Afterwards you’re welcome to visit the library and read to your heart’s content.

Many locals have commented on the fact that government is the main employer in Quebec City. Judging from what I’ve seen during my wanderings, road repairs and construction must rank at the top in terms of employment.

As when I visit New York City, I am reminded, yet again, that we have it so good in Madison. A pint is $8-$9.50 here and you can’t walk out of a cafe without dropping $20 for a typical lunch.

I’m not sure if this is because Canadians actually like musical theatre, or because the standard expectation is that American tourists will, but I’ve witnessed the following performances by street musicians: a woman on the terrace in front of Chateau Frontenac singing “All I Ask of You” to a karaoke track; a classical guitarist playing a fancy version of “Don’t Cry for me Argentina;” a pianist playing “I Dreamed a Dream,” and a harpist playing “I Have Dreamed.”

It’s raining. Again. I hate flip flops but am now bowing to the weather gods and wearing them in public.

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