AKontheGO publisher Erin Kirkland is spending the week in the Canadian province of Quebec, exploring some of the smaller communities and outdoor-themed attractions often overlooked by visitors seeking the big city. Thanks to Tourisme Quebec for overseeing these seven days far from Alaska.
If first impressions are everything, then I require nothing more from Quebec. I have been in the province for about 48 hours and am wrapped in a European-style atmosphere of warmth, hospitality, and the unfettered joy of a holiday.
There’s no easy route to Quebec from Anchorage, Alaska, whether one utilizes go-to airline Alaska Air, or flies another carrier like Air Canada (I did, from Anchorage–Vancouver–Toronto–Quebec City). But then, Alaskans are used to hither and yon travel, so, like we do, I hitched up my backpack, packed the snacks and neck pillow, and left Anchorage on a Saturday afternoon.
Landing in Quebec City early Sunday morning, I took a quick nap at nearby Hotel Must, then called Uber and headed to the heart of the city, Old Quebec. Here, those with Paris on their mind or heart can revel in the architecture, food, and delightful aura only this place can provide.
I sat in an alley cafe called Chez Jules, sipping Rose’ and listening to a duo of well-dressed elderly men, friends obviously, sharing photos on their iPhones and laughing as they conversed in French. Nearby, a street vendor twisted balloons into funny shapes for a gaggle of excited kids, smiling and patting their bobbing heads. I had planned on a short meal and walk-around of the downtown core before returning to my hotel, but the lazy sunlight, music, and people-watching pulled me in, and I stayed until dinnertime.
Today was an early one; I needed to be in the small town of Tadoussac by lunchtime so I could visit the renowned Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre, check in to the historic Hotel Tadoussac, and stroll the communities well-maintained and beautiful trails.
GPS on the dash, map on the front seat, I set out along scenic Route 138 between Quebec City and Tadoussac, a three-hour journey made a bit longer for number of stops I made to take photos and admire the vast presence of the Saint Lawrence River.
Tonight I’m in my room, windows wide open to see the moonlight upon the harbor and listen to soft voices of people relaxing upon the expanse of lawn the hotel keeps pristine just for this purpose. I hear French, English, and Spanish, kids laughing, glasses clinking, and I wonder, just a bit, if this scene would play out similarly in the United States.
No one is worried about a thing.
More to come.