Ah, I guess some things are similar to home. The sun came out and the cold came. It’s much more dramatic here but it’s the same pattern. Those darn clouds may keep out our friendly sun but they blanket the earth and hold in warmth in the winter. Yesterday was quite clear and cold. And I discovered my limits for cold. I’m game for wandering and taking photos in cold weather as I’ve proven in places like Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy… But a cold day in those places is generally right around freezing, not 30 or 40 degrees below freezing (Fahrenheit guys, sorry, it’s all that makes sense to me as of yet). Whatever scale you use to measure it, cold is cold, and the last two days have been so.
Today there were light clouds and sun in the morning, and it was just a little warmer. I wanted to take advantage of the sun, but it went away almost as soon as I came out. On the plus side, it is warming up. I was still sad to have only gotten a few blue sky photos during the day, but such is life. You roll with the punches. Mayhaps I will explore the snowy lands again some day.
Speaking of snowy lands, I decided this was as good a day as any to make a quick trip down to the Basse-Ville, the lower town. I had one shop I was interested in going in and it appears my habit of missing it open is a permanent thing. It’s closed today and tomorrow, my last two days in Quebec. I did end up finding a few other shops that had some arty souvenirs and maybe some gifts – we will see. I was mostly noncommittal about what was for me and what was for others. Anyway, back to the snow, they have been busy beavers down there the past couple of days, there was barely a drop in the streets. Where piles of it as tall as me had stood, there was now scraped clean paving stones. They were even sweeping the roofs clean to prevent chutes de glace. As much as I understand their need to keep the paths clear for people, there was a very sad side of me when I saw it. No photos from lower town today. I’m sure it looks fabulous in other seasons (I’ve seen some fab Fall photos and paintings) but in dull winter, it’s the white snow and the warm lights that makes it beautiful for me. So, shopping and out it was for me. I doubt I’ll make it back down there again.
Back up to Haute-Ville for a bit more wandering and late lunch. A friend had totally recommended the crepes at Casse Crepe Breton multiple times, so I had to give them a whirl, but not before the pavement gave me a whirl. I begin to feel incredibly accident prone. It seems to be a rare city I don’t take a spill, bonus points for anywhere cold and icy. It was the ice that finally did me in. In a way, it felt good to finally get it done with and walk away from it. It happened so quickly I think a video of it would probably be freaking hilarious. I was just reaching a corner on the sidewalk and my left foot hit ice. I didn’t have time to think or even realize what was happening. It was ice and then I was looking at the world sideways. I don’t even remember hitting the ground. I guess all those layers that make me feel like Ralphie’s Little Brother in A Christmas Story are good for more than warmth! At that moment, I was more mortified than anything. There were already people heading toward me. I was off the ground before they got there! Nice of them, but I just wanted to move on so I could laugh about it later. Their reaction, though, is why I think a video would be funny. A few hours later, still not hurting anywhere and I could find nothing in my bag that was astray – kudos to my camera insert, everything was snugly in its place.
Anyway, I was a couple of blocks from lunch and was now a little ruffled and had gotten cold enough that the moment I walked into that warm restaurant, I could see nothing. My glasses were instant fog. Sigh… I stood there and waited. I’m not sure whether I’m glad it took so long for anyone to notice me to seat me or not. I hope that doesn’t make it sound like the service was bad. It was well after lunch but they were still busy with only a couple of tables open. I needed those moments to compose myself and defrost enough to see anyway. I’m so not a food critic. Everyone who knows me is well aware that I’m a picky eater (what most of them don’t know is how FAR I’ve come and how much I’ve added to my repertoire along the way). Anyway, take that caveat for what it is. That said, the recommendation was first rate. I had crepes for both meal and dessert. The meal was okay, warm and filling. Even though I had cheese and pepperoni, it reminded me quite warmly of a Cornish Pastie. However, it was the dessert that thrilled me. I had my crepe stuffed with strawberries and it came with a side of whipped cream with what I think was a little dash of cocoa on the top. Anyway, I savored that dessert. I didn’t want it to end, and if I had any room left, I would have tried another with a different filling. If you take my friend’s recommendation as well when you’re here, one thing to realize is that a crepe is not small. They asked if I wanted a side salad, but I’m glad I passed on it because the main dish alone would have been enough without dessert. With dessert, it was really too much, but I soldiered on because I wanted to finish that yummy dessert, darn it!
Anyway back to the hostel and a more mundane evening. There’s a less fun side of travel and for me high on that list is laundry. It’s definitely not exciting; well come to think of it, I’d rather laundry not be exciting actually!
I had literally put this off about as long as I could. I had a few clean things left, but one item that was in zero supply was clean dry socks. That’s the rare positive about the past two days, no stepping in deep slush. It’s ice, all ice (as my fall bears out). So, my sock needs might have gone down, but the beginning of the week was harsh. I also had multiple pairs of crusty pants from the salt they use to clear the streets. If I was here longer, I’d look into those elastic pant guard things I see so many people wearing to protect their pants. It’s that or tall, tall boots.
Not my problem for now, no plans to set up shop here as nice as it is, but I would love to see Quebec in the autumn. Winter would require a far longer residence to photograph so that I didn’t feel pushed to go out in the cold when I’m not really feeling it! Anyway, laundry sorted and I settled in for the evening in my comfy warm-ups. No way am I dirtying up nice clean clothes outside tonight.
I have my latest in a chain of room-mates. I had thought maybe just maybe after the others left I might luck up and end up in the room alone tonight. It’s happened before when choosing smaller (ergo slightly more expensive) dorms, but it was not to be. And I can’t really complain. The first room-mate I only saw to speak to the morning he left (the day after I arrived). The next two were VERY quiet. I mean, I know I’m quiet and introverted but until the very end, I don’t think we’d exchanged more than hellos in passing. One was from France, and I’m still not sure where the other was from. I had thought for awhile language barrier but I don’t think so anymore, I think they were just that quiet. I believe the one tonight, who is from Mexico, will be here until after I leave, but he’s much more talkative at least. So, as I said, no complaints about the hostel or my room-mates thus far and knock wood!
Not sure what I’m putting on tomorrow’s agenda. I’m not especially feeling any more of the museums. No offense to Quebec, just not in the mood. I’d consider going to see the rest of the art museum and I’d kind of like to see those snowy fields (Fields of Abraham) adjacent to it again if it were warm enough to actually photograph it rather than hurry through it. So, much will probably rely on the weather.