|My first calèche ride, Québec City 1972|
Grandma took me on a bus tour of Québec the summer I was seventeen and she was seventy-seven. My mother had taken the same route with her when she was a teenager. Grandma wanted me to ride a calèche in Québec City and see the birds on Percé Rock, far east of the big cities. Everyone on the bus called her Grandma by the end of the two week trip. There was only one other passenger my age who was travelling with her parents but we all had a great time.
I took our daughters to Québec in 1998 when they were teenagers and told them Grandma’s stories. I re-read her copies of The Golden Dog by William Kirby and Maria Chapdelaine by Louis Hémon. We went to Halifax and Prince Edward Island instead of Percé but stayed a few days at Ste. Anne de Beaupré as a base for our exploration of the Québec City area. And we toured the city by calèche.
|Québec City 1998|
Last month my husband and I visited Montreal and Québec City for a few days. Both cities are rich in the history and culture of Europe and the New World. We walked the upper and lower sections of Old Québec City and took the ferry to Lévis on the other side of the St. Lawrence River. We had some extra time on the last day and decided to take a tour of the upper city by calèche for Grandma. The limestone buildings and the Plains of Abraham were warmed by the low sun of a September afternoon and our driver chatted amicably with his lilting French accent. So much has changed and so much has not changed in the past forty-four years since I was seventeen.
The slide show has a short video clip in the middle of our horse-drawn tour through the old walled city. One thing that has changed dramatically over the years is the quality of cameras. I have 12 faded colour snapshots of the two week trip we took in 1972.