Four days ago we entered Canada. No big hoopla, but we needed not just our passports, I remember the days when we didn’t even need those, but also proof that we were vaccinated and held proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Good for you Canada. I wouldn’t trust us either. We entered just north of Detroit and after a long day of driving, departure time from Madison, 4:00 AM, we arrived at Niagara Falls, Ontario. Yes, the Falls were spectacular. And Eh, the Canadians are as friendly as everyone says, They actually let you in gracefully when you need to change lanes, of course maybe they have heard so many stories about American drivers that it is just safer to let us cut in. Second day of travel took us to Toronto and the CN Tower. Much to be said about dinner at 1800 feet above the city, or as the Canadian’s measure it, 533 meters. They don’t realize that when you measure it in feet, it’s a lot taller. At least it sounds like it to us “size is everything” Americans. Needless to say it was a very moving experience, maybe in part to the fact that the restaurant was rotating.
That brings us to Quebec and Quebec City. I was fully aware that the province’s official language is French, but who knew they are actually French? First stop at a gas station, or should I say station-essence, left me believing I WAS in France. Now I may be exaggerating just a bit, I do understand geography, but it is surprising. It is also culturally stimulating. It is, in fact, the next best thing to being there.
Not that Quebec isn’t naturally beautiful sitting gracefully on the St Lawrence Seaway, but it’s when you pass through the gates of the Old City that Quebec’s charm, they pronounce it K’ebek, and her Old World beauty strikes you. You are transported in time and space to the culture of France. The architecture of the buildings, the beautiful artwork, and the sumptuous restaurants awaken your senses. Close your eyes and you are not just in Canada, you are in France.
I choose to travel for many reasons. Sometimes for business, other times for pleasure, often just to satisfy my restlessness, but I also travel to experience a different culture. We can all too often assume that everyone everywhere is just like us. Until you travel, you will never appreciate how different we can be. This trip has shown me an aspect of Canada I had never experienced. It showed me France.
Bon jour fellow travelers and merci for taking the time to read my blog.
PS: Big shout out to Larry Landsness for the incredible job of research and planning that went into this trip and it’s making it a success.