Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 23 - Fun day wandering in Quebec City

We got dropped off to the lower town and the people doing the boat cruise headed off with Christina and the rest of us just wandered. I TRIED to find an ATM and was having absolutely no luck because Quebec is a mastercard town. Word of warning to those using the ANZ travel cards get your money out earlier. 
Looking towards Lower Town with some beautiful sunflare 
Was going to join the Welsh crew for lunch but they were still deciding what they were doing so David said since there is only one of you and there are 5 of us you should maybe see what you can find that you will enjoy as it could take a WHILE.  So I wandered trying in vain to find something to eat and couldn’t A) find something I liked or B) find service.
Champlin La Ville De Ovebec (Quebec)
I ran into Vicki, Kim and Marie wandering around lower Town and hoping to get into the Des Victories church but services were still taking place. I mentioned that I was still trying to find an ATM so I could eat something because I skipped breakfast again and was getting a headache again from not eating. Vicki kindly gave me her pastry which she grabbed at breakfast. That was so kind of her and took the edge of the headache and luckily I had the drugs on me today.
Upper Town 
I climbed the 300 odd stairs to the upper town – wow that was a lot of stairs and steep too. Almost killed me in my starvation state but finally made it to the top and saw the château. It was beautiful with the sun flare coming off it but so busy. So I found the information centre and tried to ask in my stilted French for a ATM. They had one there but it was only a MasterCard one. Another guy (ok very cute guy) had the same problem and mumbled something about this being so annoying. I then went to ask her again and she pointed me to the bureau of exchange and this is where it got ugly.   
Right outside that offending ATM 
I know I scream tourist but I was hoping today less sans backpack but seriously there is not need to so completely and utterly rude. As I Patiently waited in line behind the very cute man from the information centre for a free ATM because I have to say it was packed in there. There was an ATM spare which wasn’t working and this woman pushed passed me to get there, only to discover it was not working. So this woman decided to push me out of the way again in order to get to the other atm.  The cute man grabbed my arm so I didn’t fall on my arse. I said thank you in both French and English in which he replied English is fine. Obviously alerted the rude woman who was going off in French about the broken ATM that I didn't speak French fluently.  She then proceeded to push me out of the way and stand in front of me for the ATM I was lined up for. I said excusez moi and gestured that I was there and she rudely looked me up and down and turned around.  Muttered something in French which I am sure it was rude because the very nice cute man turned around and started going off at her in French and then pulled me in front of him. 
Street Performers 
He told me she was being a bitch and ended up being pulled out by her husband because she getting really abusive and a rather rude gesture aimed at me as she left. I let my cute lifesaver go in front of me as a gesture of saying thank you.  He said are you sure and I said … I believe in Karma and he laughed and said so do I in which he said her karma is seriously stuffed. 
Château De Frontenac with some rocking sunflare 
He went his way with a wink and a smile and me wishing I had said can you be my guide around Quebec?? but I will always have that smile…  so cheeky.  But to that lady…  Karma is a bitch … You know these tourist centres have such a short time to impress us and you totally ruined it. I will forgive bad service in restaurants and stores but seriously you are in a tourist area on a Sunday!!!!  Totally ruined my impression of French people who live in Quebec…  There will be 3 things I always remember about Quebec
  1. the wolf whistles as I got on the bus
  2. Steve trying to chat me up and smiling at me
  3. That rude woman in the ATM and the bad service
City Hall with the Fall Colours 
I know some of my friends on FB are from this area so I apologise for thinking that but this why it is important to be nice to everyone you meet. Treat them how you wanted to be treated… I do believe it is in the bible but also it is common decency.  I got warned about the rude people in French Canada before I left and didn’t believe it because no matter what nationality people treat people like they want to be treated to some degree. This woman in that one exchange proved all those warnings true.
Cartier Statue at the River lookout 
So I headed back feeling deflated to the lower town because it seemed to have a better variety of eateries and saw a place I really liked on the stairs. So headed back to the stairs and the girl twice looked me up and down every time I went exusez moi and gestured for a table. 
Cartier Statue at the River lookout 
So I went to the one next door and no one was around so headed back down and found the hot chocolate shop that Christina told me about. Trust her to know the location of that.  I had to just pick myself up one to take the edge off.
Des Victories Church square 
I tried that other eatery again and this time there was someone there and finally I got to sit down and eat.  Ordered a very steak sandwich with veggies and some chips that some sort of spice so totally ruined my chips blah!  But finally felt better it is amazing what some drugs and some filling food will do.  
Des Victories Church
I enjoyed the nice view over lower town with the fall decorations adorning the rails.  Some of you will be pleased to know that I got so bored waiting for my food to arrive that I did that profile shot with the pink scarf and personally I think I look so tired but everyone else liked it. hahaha As well as reviewing my lonely planet book to make sure I get everything.
This one is for you Jan, Maree and Carol 
Headed back down to the lower town and enjoyed the atmosphere with the street performers and sunshine. It was a good way to spend an afternoon ALMOST made me forget the rude ATM lady until I got taken out by another rude French family. No manners nothing! 
Fall Colours from the Lookout 
What do you guys have against tourists?  We bring money into the economy and spread the word about places to see.  Given how proud the French have always been of their culture I was really surprised.  It was as bad as New York but I just brushed it off and continued on. 
The Château De Frontenac with Sunflare and Fall Colours 
Headed back up the stairs again and enjoyed the view from the mid way point and the look out and I decided to walk to the upper town from there instead of going up the stairs again. It was such a pretty walk with the statues and the beautiful old building. 
City Hall
Ran into Kim, Vicki and Marie and they had just tackled the basilica Notre Dame so I went in for a look. The only thing I noticed was my battery running low on the camera duh! Forgot to recharge it last night.  I was going to have to conserve so I ended up with a mix of photos from the point and shoot and the big camera also my sony phone but I really don’t like the quality of those photos. 
Château De Frontenac from the walkway stairs 
Wandered in the upper town area in the various shops and then found myself in the square in the downtown area and noticed a lot of people walking along the wall but I couldn’t find where to get up there. 
City Hall 

So I relaxed in the square with a bottle of water and smile as I enjoyed the sunshine with a spot of people watching. Mind you it was starting to come over cloudy …  the weather is such a spoil sport.
I love the colours in this from the Christmas Shop 
Wandered back along the streets and noticed a whole heap of carriages so I took my tired weary feet up there and there was this beautiful fountain in front of this massive old building with cars racing around it. 
Maritime inspired Statues  
It was then I saw a dad and daughter climb down from the wall..  ahhh so that is how you get up there…  so found a spot that everyone seemed to go up and climbed up on the wall. I hope this view is worth it.  Sure enough, I just sat on the grass for a while and enjoyed the mountains and fall colours. It was so pretty.  I later found you aren’t technically supposed to climb St Johns gate because it was closed for repair. 
The Back of the Château 
Walked back through the city centre and found some cute laneways to wander down and discovered a store dedicated to solely and wholly to Hello Kitty. Helen would have loved it. 
St Laurence River overlooking the mural in Lower Old town 
Headed back to the Château to wait for the bus to arrive and also to find a toilet. It was old world charm inside and so pretty with an amazing view of the river. Found a toilet but I had to gain illegal entry and thank fully a guest had a card J
St Johns Gate 
Then it was time to meet the bus but I wasn’t fast enough to get on before everyone got off so I could change so I ran on the bus to Steve telling me I had to get off and couldn’t stay on to get changed because he wasn’t allowed to stay. 
About the Basilica 
I said I will be so quick won’t even know I was there sure enough stripped off the t-shirt and grabbed my shirt but left the pants because I knew I wouldn’t get the chance to change into them.  Ran off again and smiled at Steve and said thanks as I ran down the stairs and heard him yell something like cheeky!!!!  Gotta love the flirt – oh how I have missed you…  

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