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Reports

Sunday, 20 April 2003
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (day 2)

When I woke up this morning, I noticed my hostess Lucie Bruneau was still asleep. I had a shower and when I appeared dressed and fresh for Easter Sunday in the living room I discovered Lucie was mixing a healthy mix of banana, eggs, milk and orange jus for our breakfast.
"I made some brownies, but they didn't really rise, they are cookies now," Lucie said and she showed me the results. I had to laugh and had the brookies and the drink for breakfast.

Before we would head out to do some more sightseeing in Quebec City, I had to do some preparations to get myself around the coming week. I will be entering the province of New Brunswick next week and I'll swiftly hop onto Prince Edward Island (no worries for me, there is a bridge) and to Nova Scotia.

Lucie was really anxious to show me the entire city today. So we decided to drive along the Battlefields Park and have a look onto the city from the high towered Panorama Restaurant just outside the enclosed centre.

The National Battlefields Park is a sizeable chunk of land stretching along the cliffs above the St Lawrence River. This park covers the historic Plains of Abraham, which were named after Abraham Martin, the first pilot of the river in 1620.

These plains became the site on which Canada's history was rewritten. In June 1759 a large British force led by General Wolfe sailed up the river to besiege the General Montcalm in Quebec City. For three months the British army attacked the city with canon fire.

To keep today's history book short, Montcalm made the mistake of withdrawing his army from one part of the city to the other, and one morning he woke up with the British army at his front lawn. Darn!

However both generals died in the battle, after a few days the French colony gave up. "They just got tired of fighting," is a common saying.

Lucie took me up into the very expensive looking Le Concorde Hotel in the city. We almost had to fight ourselves through the families who gathered around in the reception area, all dressed up, to get to the elevator. One particular elevator took us up to 514 feet in the air, where on top of the building was this rotating restaurant with a gorgeous view over the city. Unfortunately it is being used as a restaurant, so again we had to get ourselves through the lines of waiting-for-a-table people, avoid waiters with handsfull of plates and see a bit of the scenery as we had a quick walk around. It sure was Easter Sunday today!

Five minutes later we were back in the car. But from up there I had a quick good view on the historic city and Lucie pointed La Citadelle (the garnisson) out for me.

La Citadelle is the most important fortification built in Canada under British rules. It was designed according to a defence system developed by a French military engineer.
Established in 1950, the Royal 22nd Regiment Museum preserves their historical documents, a collection of guns and small arms, as well as collections of insignias, medals and uniforms in the fort buildings.

We tried to get in La Citadelle; after driving around in the maze of walls, but it ended up we could only get in with a guided tour. The soldier standing at the entrance allowed me however to take a few photographs through the gate, but there wasn't much to see than a few flagpoles.

But there was so much else to see, Lucie told me and we drove back into the enclosed city centre of Quebec City, where I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the city's Quartier Latin. On a big square Lucie treated me on a maple leaf honey lollipop, which I had to make myself as the hot honey was spread out on snow and I was given a wooden stick to roll the hardening honey on. It was very sweet!!! Meanwhile the sun was shining and the city was very much alive on this Easter Sunday.

For tonight's dinner, Lucie was invited to a dinner at a good friend of her, Mary LeRoy, and the LeRoy family. And as I was Lucie's guest again, the LeRoy family welcomed me over too. "Don't worry," Lucie said to me, "they are anglophones, you will understand them. I met up with Mary, who was married with my borther-in-law, at the court. We divorced the same day from our husbands! Since then we are best friends."

At their house in the suburb called St-Fry, I met up with the LeRoy family with father Don, his wife Marie, and the grown-up kids Jason with his girlfriend Nadine and Antoine with his francophone girlfriend Marie-Eve and their neighbour Jean-Guy.

Lucie had told them shortly about my way of travelling and the following formal dinner was all about the fascinated family questioning me about my travels and the country I have been to and the people I visited. It was okay for me, they were the first today and I always cut the cake a bit anyway.

The next day (yes, tomorrow) I even received an email from Jason, saying: "I kinda felt bad that we were asking ya so many questions, and u never really got a chance to get to know us."

At dessert (cake and chocolate eggs!!!) it wasn't so much about me anymore; it was more regarding all kinds of happenings in the world. The family apparently found it refreshing to meet somebody who wasn't consumed by any propaganda machine, because since a long time I did not have to defending my point of view in a discussion about politics. We actually agreed on a lot and I even enjoyed the conspiracy theories we brought up on the table. But I won't bore you with that.

Just after dinner Lucie felt ill and she guessed she is having a cold. We left the place early, too early for me to fire some questions back at the family, though. In the car Lucie explained to me that she never likes to hang around too long. "You know, some people can just sit down and drink the whole night long."

We were back at the house around 9pm, where Lucie went online to find information on How To Stop Smoking as I was playing a game with her to see how often she could not light a cigarette. Lucie is quite a chain-smoker. "I found a good website," she said, while lighting a cigarette.

Oh well….

Good night Quebec City,
Ramon.