Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Quebec City and my developing phobia of snow,

A rare sighting of the Canadian flag in Quebec
Right, so as far as I'm concerned, Quebec City is not Canada. It's France. A very distant and cold part of France, but none the less France. If I was to wake up here one cold morning in a bathtub filled with ice and a missing kidney, stumble out onto the street and in a mad panic evaluate my surroundings, I'd immediately think I was in some small French city. Apart from the tacky souvenir stores selling bad t-shirts and hockey memorabilia, there's absolutely nothing Canadian about this place. Not surprisingly, I really like it. The people really aren't as nasty and anti anglophone as we're lead to believe. They've all been very...well...French, which isn't bad because I had no issues with them when I was in France. You can definitely catch the vibe that they wish they were part of France or a simply a Francophone country. The Quebecois flag is found proudly floating in the icy wind 10x more than the Canadian flag. Everything is very pro-Quebec. For me, I don't have a problem with it, but I can see how the Canadians would resent it quite a bit and I'm guessing this is where the whole "well sod off and form you're own bloody country" attitude stems from.

Just in case you didn't notice, it's on a hill
As a city Quebec is considerably smaller than Montreal or Toronto. It is strikingly European and is a far cry from the planned and gridded staple Canadian cities. It has winding roads, ancient streets and buildings perched on hills. It reminds of the small towns you see from the helicopter when the tour de France is on. Not that I expect you uncultured people to watch Le tour! Anyhow, lots of Chateaus on hills with pointy roofs. Apparently it's the only city left in North America with a fort surrounding it. The French were mighty paranoid of the English before their eventual defeat, because the place is completely garrisoned by cannons. Anything which was brave enough to sail down the St Laurence river (Quebec is based on the banks of it) would have encountered quite the arsenal. Walking around the old part of the city is particularly amazing. There's sites to rival that of any European city and I guess it's refreshing to see in amongst the sky scraper obsessed cities of the modern age. Quebec does have a number of modern tall buildings, but they have cleverly built those quite a distance from the old ones, which is nice to see.

The weather has been extremely cold. I'm really starting to resent not having bought boots at the beginning of my Canada trip. I can't walk outside without salt loaded snow staining "me strides" (one for you there Mike) and my socks getting soaked. The salt destroys everything. I really liked the pair of shoes I bought in Toronto too and the snow has pretty much eaten them. They now resemble painted tissue boxes. Apparently this Thursday it's going to be 16'C in New York which would feel like I'd stepped into the tropics. I don't think I've felt a positive Temperature in over 3 months so maybe it's best if I ease myself back into warmth rather than transition directly into this crazy warmth. I might get sick!
I immediately abused the bus driver for ruining my photo

I'm back off to Montreal tomorrow and then heading off to a country house, a very big house, in the country for a birthday.