Monday, August 11, 2014

Travelogue – among tourists

Monday, August 11

I'll start with a view from near the front of my hotel. Alas, the view from my room is of other buildings.

My guidebook suggested a walking tour of Old Quebec. It included many of the sites I wanted to see anyway.

Close to my hotel is Dufferin Terrace, a broad boardwalk at the edge of the upper city. Part of it is built over ruins of early fortifications. Part of it extends out over the cliff.

From one end of the terrace I took the Governor's Promenade which rises 300 plus steps (though not all at once) and again seems to hang out over the cliff. Here is the view along the way. The Promenade goes all the way past the Citadel (which I'll save for later).

The tour continued back in the park in front of my hotel. It wound through the old city. I stopped for lunch, then saw Quebec's Basilica of Notre Dame (Montreal's is prettier and bigger).

The tour continued along the city walls, then down into the Lower City. Lots of tourist shops there. I took the funicular back up to Upper City.

The Old City appears to be almost completely turned over to making the tourist happy. If you have a beautiful setting the tourists show up. But nearly all the stores are geared to what tourists want to buy – rarely anything I want. I also noticed lots of currency exchanges, but no ATMs. So I followed the main road out of the Old City and at the end of a block with a series of hotels (each with a restaurant on the sidewalk) I found a bank branch with an ATM. Later, back in the Old City I did see a currency exchange that included an ATM.

Back to the Old City I walked along the top of the western city walls. That included walking past some of the old barracks. There were signs that explained the issues in building defensible city walls. At times I think this city spends too much effort on its military past.

It took a while to find a restaurant that didn't have exorbitant prices ($25 and more for a meal seems to be accepted). I found a place and had a pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries and a salad for $20 (which includes high national and province taxes). When paying by credit card they bring a hand-held device to the table, punch in the total, swipe my card, then let me enter the amount of tip. All very easy. Why aren't those things used in America?

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