Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Rest Day in Quebec!

Once in a while things work out well without actually having to plan for it. Our rest day is an example of one fo those fortuitous circumstances.
Plains of Abraham
Having arrived at the house of Claude Gratton, an old friend of my father, late the evening before we took advantage of comfortable sleeping arrangements and slept in till 8am, a real treat after having been on our bikes before that time for most of the previous week. Now, let me explain something about Claude - he's crazy. Don't get me wrong, he's an accomodating host, a riot around the dinner table, and excellent company, but he's an army veteran who won't let us speak English much - which really causes a problem since Jordan is the only one who can string a decent sentence together in French without having to resort to English and risk the Claude reprimand. However, we've managed to learn to peek over our shoulders to see if Claude is listening before conveying our thoughts in English, and in a mere two days have picked up a few more passable french words and phrases to communicate.
On to the rest of the day..
After I made the boys breakfast we set about taking care of the "rest stop necessities". That really just means laundry and filling our stomachs with food at our leisure as we planned the rest of our day. We weren't moving quickly but we did manage to accompany our host on a beire/pain/lait trip to the corner store.

We then planned our day trip back into Quebec City, took our panniers of our bikes and started biking.

It's interesting to note how scales of distance can change through experience. Today, on our rest day we biked around 40kms; month ago this would have been a good day of biking for us, now it's considered an easy day off. Oh how things have changed.
Old Quebec

Back to the day and the fortuitous circumstances that made it special.
Turns out today (Sunday) is St. John le Baptiste day. A huge celebration focusing on Quebec culture, and birthday of the province. When we planned our day off here we didn't realize the stat holiday was going on. It was just another Sunday. But upon arrival the night before we realized something huge was going on. There was talk of parties, revelers, concerts in the part, potential riots and all sorts of other fun stuff. There was also A LOT of people and tourists enjoying the beautiful city on a gorgeous day. We biked down to Quebec City from Claude's house in St. Emile, about 16kms and then started biking UP to the old city. And up. Dodging traffic and pedestrians on the old, narrow, streets of the city. It really did feel and look like a town Europe. We made our way to the Plains of Abraham and snapped some beautiful pictures (coming later) rode around the park, imagined the battles and looked over the Fleuve Saint-Laurent.

Chateau Frontenac
Went around Le Chateau Frontenac before stopping in a nice (expensive) restaurant beside the Frontenac to eat Poutine and watch the England v Italy. The price tag was high, we were wearing our awkward biking clothes, but the experience was worth it. It's delightfully cheesy (literally and figuatively), but we did it. We ate 10$ plates of poutine in Old Quebec City. Day complete.

20kms back to Claude's house, two delicious pizzas waiting, some cold drinks, some funny stories, Happy Gilmore, and early to bed to prepare for our first potential 200km day and 4:30am wake up.
Rest day over, back to biking.

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