The mix of many cultures become a fusion of language that is unique and restaurants and bistros attempt to capitalize on this.
As we press on to Quebec City, I have left my heart in Montreal. I feel I met a long-lost relative that others had disparaged and yet the whole time they were the cool uncle that gets you into venues at the nod of a head and everyone reveres. I am ashamed that I had let others' opinion shape mine of this city.
Quebec City was more like the aunt. The historian of the family with the old walled city holding charm of yesteryear with the re-branding of 2016. It is the cradle of French civiliation in North America and continues to remind the rest of Canada of its heritage.
Shops luring tourists sit in the midst of the oldest home in the city. The plaque says 1659 and it now a restaurant. Some streets are narrow and the outside walls house the Frontenac Hotel and canons. The courtyard provides a spectacular view of the city and enemy targets.
We poke around in shops, but the sites for us are the old alleys and cobblestone walks,. Though cars are permitted, there are signs indicating two wheels with motors are not. In typical Norman fashion he pretends to ignore these, but eventually relents at the thought of having the bike towed. We walk the streets where "o Canada" was penned (or so says a brass sign on an old brick front).
We read of days of trade, sickness and politics. We venture outside the walls to a grocer that is the oldest in North America, Epicier JA Moisan (1871) and we both are enamored with the wooden display shelves and old world feel. We pay homage at a graveyard that housed many thousand though has only 313 markers in place. I never saw someone reach much past 50. It is worth my time to consider these builders of my freedom.
Our lodging is in a 3-story walk-up in a working class neighbourhood and we walk to trendy gentrified areas with ubiquitous cafes, bistros and bong stores. We wander, taking in the sites and sounds and churches. I am not surprised to find a soccer field with its own chapel in the corner. I would have been the week before, but Quebec and Catholics in particular show their stuff here.
Quebec is marvelous and has uncovered prejudice and judgement that were not my own to carry. I am indebted at having lightened that load.