French Canadian Contrasts

In Quebec, the best pizza I’ve had for a long time, anywhere. But after such a long wait to be served I almost left without ordering. Just as well I didn’t.
In Montreal, the tiniest bathroom, without the ingenuity of those on boats and trains.
In Ottawa, the biggest rip-off of my life: $1 for the freshest bagel. With cream cheese, please. $2.99. I was so stunned I foolishly handed over the money. When I said, “That’s very expensive cream cheese” the woman simply said “Yes.” Beware the Continental Bagel Co. at ByWard Market!!
Again in Ottawa: the church with the most over-the-top decoration ‘anywhere’! Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.
In Quebec, the real and the not so real buildings. Tromp l’oeil at its best.

Ottawa’s ByWard Market: bigger and better than Eastern Market in Washington DC. Smaller and different to Victoria Market in Melbourne but in its own way, rather good. I was so tempted to buy a hand painted silk camisole top and jacket – sadly, sanity prevailed.

Old Quebec City, has the feeling of a walled European city, though it’s not completely walled and most of the walls belong to the Citadel (still a working Army base). Plus the cliffs that were so important for defence in past centuries. In this French-speaking city it was only me for the English language Citadel tour and what a difference it made, conversing rather than being told a string of facts as happens when you’re one of a crowd. At this time of year tour guides are students on summer vacation, which adds to the interest. I’ve struck a budding philosopher, environmental scientist and biomedical engineer, all very pleasant young people.

Tour la nuit and Formula 1 – Friday night many city-centre streets were closed so people could cycle through town. There were the serious cyclists, then there were the rest, all ages, shapes, and sizes, all sorts of clothes and fancy dress, and all sorts of personal and bike decorations, visual and aural. The longest ‘tandem’ I saw had dad, two little daughters, and a baby in a buggy. What fun! The young marshalls at corners and barriers were shouting encouragement to everyone. They would have been more than a little hoarse in the morning!!

For me, the morning meant leaving Montreal to the background buzz of F1 cars practising for the weekends race.

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