Friday, June 27, 2008

Climbing Steps in Quebec

Right now I'm hearing horses clip-clop by on Rue St. Anne in old Quebec City. We're at the Hotel Champlain and just got back from dinner at Marie Clairisse, a restaurant half-way down the stairs on one of QC's many ups and downs. We sat outside on a crowded little terrace and had sturgeon/mackerel appetizers, a bit of red wine, and entrees ranging from salmon steaks to lamb to bouillabaise. The breeze kicked up and blew all our cloth napkins into our faces. We all slammed our hands down and made sure the flask of merlot didn't tip over.

This is the summer of QC's 400th anniversary and the cobblestone streets are full of visitors, both French Canadian and English-speaking Canadian and Americans. It's very merry and picturesque.

We spent the day driving around Ile d'Orleans, the "Garden Island" in the St Lawrence Seaway. It's a high, fertile oval with an abundance of small towns, old churches and rocky beaches. At a little art gallery I bought two meticulous drawings by Nicole Ouellet, a Quebecoise. The drawings, of sunflowers and of a barn at the top of a hill in winter, touched me. We picnicked in a little gazebo, eating fresh pain, fraises et fromage, and later stopped at a chocolaterie.

On the return trip, we stopped at the Parc de la Chute -- Montmorency, where Audrey and I panted and moaned our way up 487 steps to get a great view of the 272-foot high waterfall, 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls. My thighs and knees, I readily admit, are aching. The air is crisp, fresh and breezy.

Now we're relaxing and Ralph and Ted are tellling stories about their mother Hazel, who, we all agree, must have been a hot number. They have a streak of French-Canadian in their blood, which makes them very good husbands.

There must be a poem in all this somewhere, but for the moment I'm not thinking about literary concerns. We're just eating, drinking, walking and sleeping. We keep stopping to take each other's pictures: I'm pretty sure we'll all look sun-kissed and grinning, but I don't have the cord to post any the shots yet. It's a good life. Bon soir.

1 comment:

greg rappleye said...

Flint, Los Angeles, Q. City...

I can't keep up with you!