Day 16 |
Sep 18, 2011

Quebec City, Canada

By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist

Co-ordinates: 46˚49’03” N, 71˚11’56” W
Weather: Sunshine!!

Through the night the Silver Explorer pushed on towards Quebec City with its engines full steam ahead in an attempt to make up on the time lost in Havre St. Pierre. Pulling alongside the pier at 0900 meant that the attempt had been successful, with us arriving one full hour ahead of our scheduled time!

Taking full advantage of the extra hour, all onboard made their way into the city, which was only 5 minutes walk away. They would not have to return to the ship until lunch or when their tour was to begin.

After a wonderful morning wandering the city, I boarded a coach with twenty of our guests as well as Stefan Kredal, one of our onboard geologists and self-proclaimed Germany humorist, for the “City and Falls” tour. Accompanying us would be our bus driver Pierre and tour guide Réal.

Quebec City truly stands alone within Canada for its history and culture, and this afternoon Réal would give us insight into its past and present.

Beginning with its past, we drove through ‘Old Quebec’ visiting the lower town and its seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings along with the oldest standing catholic church in North America. To see these buildings preserved and in use today is what makes Quebec City stand out in North America.

Moving to the upper city, we wandered through Château Frontenac admiring its beauty. Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 19th century as an ideal stop for travelers by train, its architectural styles are drawn from those of the Middle Ages. It may be considered the heart of the upper city.

With a few photographic stops at Quebec’s parliament and a stunning lookout over the St. Lawrence River, we made our way through the Plains of Abraham. A picturesque 250-acre park in the heart of the city and the site of the historic battle of 1759 that saw the French surrender Quebec to the British.

Moving away from “Old” Quebec, we left the heart of the city and within minutes, to our surprise, we were standing at the top of the 272-foot Montmorency Falls. Taking the time to climb the well-built paths and staircases, we snapped away as the water cascaded over the limestone cliffs, eventually meeting the waters of the St. Lawrence River.

Like the 1.5 million pilgrims that make their way towards it each year, we arrived at the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupré, one of the most important catholic sites in North America. Being Sunday afternoon, Réal was unable to guide us through, but we were able to enjoy the impressive architecture before boarding the bus for our return to the Silver Explorer.

Arriving just on 1800 we all had enough time to dress in our best and be out on deck for our sail away from Quebec City before joining Captain Alexander Golubev in The Theatre for his Farewell Cocktail Party. Introducing the crew and calling them on stage, Captain Golubev thanked everyone for joining us on this ‘Vikings & Fall Colours’ voyage and wished all a safe trip home, after our last excursion in Montreal of course!

With that it was time to say ‘Bon Appetit’!