Barb and Baden’s Excellent Quebec Adventure – Part 5

Putting the Winter Back Into Winter Carnival

There’s got to be a better word for freezing because as we’ve discovered today, there are so many nuances to it.

First, there’s the classic definition of just being really, really cold. But you have to factor in the other facets of freezing like the cold wind whipping through every crevice of your coat and then there the snow hitting your face so hard that it actually hurts. These and many other winter weather conditions were part of what we experienced today in Quebec City. I didn’t tell this to Barb but there was a part of me that thought (before we left Vancouver) that we had actually overdone it on the winter clothes packing. Barb and I had gone out about two weeks ago and bought some extra things in the warm weather clothes department like thicker gloves and socks. The socks that I bought are so thick that they make my foot about 1/2″ longer than normal while wearing them.

Today when we looked out the window after waking up, we saw what can only be described as blinding snow outside. My first thought was to stay inside the hotel room all day today but when you’re in a new town on vacation, you can’t let just a little weather stop you. After all, we had all of this great new warm weather clothes in our suitcases to put on.

By the time that we left the hotel room, we ended up putting on 4 layers on top and three layers on bottom. Every layer was put to the test within 5 minutes of stepping foot into the street.

The first thing that we noticed is that while there were tens of thousands of people on the street on Saturday and Sunday night, there were now about 100 people to be seen. We walked over to the Place Desjardins where we visited on Saturday and the place seemed to be abandoned. Since Barb and I were outfitted in our nylon snow pants, we went down the hill a few times in a rubber inner tube which were normally reserved for the kids but since there weren’t any kids to be found …

All I can say is that these kids know a thing or two about having fun in the winter. I did my best to slide down the hill behind Barb in her inner tube while holding a video camera the whole time.

We stopped for lunch at a place called Restaurant Le Cavour (44 Rue Saint-Louis) to warm up and I had a delicious cream of leek soup that really hit the spot. Finding a restaurant that was opened seemed to be more trouble than we thought. Many restaurants and shops had signs in the window stating that they were closed for the season and would open again around March. We can only assume that many restaurant and store owners closed down for the winter and probably went somewhere warm.

Memories in Oil Colours

When Barb and I went to France in 2002, we came across an art gallery that had a painting that we both loved but for a variety of reasons we didn’t buy it. To this day we have regretted that decision so subsequently on each new vacation that we go on we have kept an eye out for any interesting art work that catches our eye and are prepared to make a decision on it on the spot. This actually sounds a lot easier than it is as Barb and I more often than not don’t agree on art so it’s a rare surprise when we find something that we both like. On our 2nd trip to France we did just that and the first original painting that we own hangs in our living room that we bought in Provence in 2004.

While we were browsing through the shops of Quebec City, we happened to come across many art galleries and in one of them we found a piece of art that we both equally loved so we ended up making our 2nd art purchase yesterday. Unlike the painting that we bought in France, this one is not suitable to be brought home under our arm wrapped in protective bubble wrap so we have to have this one shipped home to us.

For dinner on Monday night, we were looking for something that would be expressive of a typical Québécois meal and we were able to find just the thing: Tortière.

The tortière is essentially a meat pie made with various combinations of ground pork, beef and veal and topped with a pastry crust. It is said that there are as many recipes for tortière as there are cooks in Quebec. The tortière that we ate on Monday was at a restaurant called Le Petit Coin Latin (translation: The Small Latin Quarter): 8 1/2, Rue Sainte-Ursule, Quebec City. The tortière that they served was not made with and of the above meats but with bison and was delicious. Given that it was both a Monday night and in pretty much blizzard conditions, it was understandable why we were the only ones in the restaurant that night. That notwithstanding, the quaint surroundings of Le Petit Coin Latin were basic but inviting nonetheless.

Approaching the 2nd Half of Our Quebec Adventure

As today is Wednesday, it is the last day of our stay in Quebec City before we leave tomorrow morning for the 2nd half of our Excellent Quebec Adventure. Today we did some shopping and took a few more pictures of the snow sculptures that are in progress at Place Desjardins. It’s unfortunate that we won’t be here to see the final completion of these sculptures as they probably won’t be finished for several more days.

Tomorrow morning we will pickup our rental car after breakfast and then head over to the other side of the St. Lawrence river before heading east to our next destination.

Stay tuned.

Baden

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