Train journey to Quebec City is peaceful snaking alongside the St Lawrence river. Train station in Quebec City is outside the walls of the old city and at the bottom of a steep hill. We are staying in the YHA hostel within the walls of the old city. Therefore we have a steep uphill back pack laden climb ahead of us.
Hostel is quite good although our budget only gets us a dorm bed in a room of 6. Anyway we don’t intend spending much time in our room so we are off to explore the city. The night time viewing is impressive with all the old stone buildings floodlight giving them a heavenly glow. The Chateau Frontenac the standout at the top of the city with view down to the river and valley below.
Quebec City Walking Tour
The morning brings my walking tour of Quebec. Having researched the Lonely Planet whilst listening to an old man snore during the night. Tour begins with a walk around the top of the wall of the old city. Take a few detours and take in the signs explaining the fortifications. The odd cannon or turret attracting the eye of the many tourists who shared our wall walk. The QEII ship is in town making all the more tourists.
Lunch was to be in an underground pub. The pub had been moved above ground so it was just any other pub now. Quebec City is quite nice but kept in a ‘Ye Olde’ state for the tourist dollar which is fair enough. It is nice to see it preserved. The city outside the walls attracts little attention though. We decide then to get out of town for a few days attracted by a bike hire stall and word of a nearby river island named Isle de Orleans. So we decide to take a ride out there the next day.
We finish the day up on the boardwalk promenade out front of the Chateau Frontenac. We pick up a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers and commandeer a vacant gazebo. A great view down the valley and sit (rather sip) back and watch the sun go down. One of the nicest evenings of our whole eastern Canada trip so far just discussing everything and nothing. The breeze just a perfect temperature and the wine drunk from plastic cups may as well have been drunk from the finest crystal as it was irrelevant to the ambience of the situation.
Tour Isle de Orleans
After a few days in touristy Quebec City we decided to get out of dodge. Our transport a couple of pedal pushers. Bikes to the layperson. Our first stop Montmercery falls about 10km out from the city along a relatively flat cycle route. Falls OK but not a patch on Niagara of course.
Onwards we come to a bridge to Isle de Orleans an island on the St Lawrence river. The bridge is of the suspension variety and is quite steep up to the middle. There is only a thin footpath with an alarming gap between the edge of the footpath and the St Lawrence river far below.
On the other side we stop at the tourist info to suss out accommodation options. The place with a vacancy that sounds suitable is another 20km away. A long ride, and a couple of sore bums later we arrive in St. Pierre at a BnB on the bank of the river. It was the sort of place that reminded us of staying at our grandparents house with grandparent like hosts welcoming us in.
We go gourmet for dinner and get a charcoal chicken and a few of Quebec’s finest lagers to wash it down. Of note this evening is a passing of the QEII cruise ship which was stopped in the Quebec City harbour during our stay. QEII drew quite the crowd of locals waving it farewell.
In the morning have our breakfast to accompany our bed before we hop back on the bikes and head to St Petronville on the southern tip of the island. A few hills to climb but not too bad. Take a turn off the main road about halfway back to the bridge as a light rain begins to fall. Quite unprepared for rain we decide to wait it out in a bus shelter.
The rain continues and looks pretty set in so we decide to brave the elements and just as we do it decides to get heavier, and heavier, an heavier! We arrive at another BnB absolutely soaked. Our host takes pity on us and dumps all our clothes in the dryer. Given we only had day packs for our cycling tour and all our stuff was wet, there was not much left to um wear! So we sat around in towels sipping cups of tea to keep warm.
Once the clothes were dry we were all toasty again and head out into the small town to enjoy a decent pasta meal topped off with a visit to the local chocolatier for dessert!