After a day of wandering aimlessly through the streets of Old Quebec, we decided that the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour of the city would be an easier way to see the highlights and identify places to return to for longer visits. The commentary was canned and did not do a great job of identifying the main sights, but it was still a great way to get a look around the city.
The trip begins on the Terrasse Dufferin, as we load into a double decker bus equipped with multi-lingual headphones. Somehow the driver eases the huge bus through the narrow streets and aggressive traffic. We pass by old cobblestoned town squares in the Old City. The road winds and turns, then passes between ancient buildings to head down to the road that runs alongside the river. After the touristy cluster of shops and restaurants, there are a string of very old, quaint homes. A little further along the river, there is construction going on to replace industrial with scenic. Quebec is investing a lot in restoration these days.
The bus circles back along the river, headed for the more modern parts of the city. One of the first stops looks very promising so we hop off. This is the Marche du Vieux. In other words, a farmers market. The market is loaded with fresh vegetables, fish, cheeses, fruits, ice cream, and pastries, all fresh and locally produced.
The new city is a mix of modern skyscrapers and classic old, stolid offices with gleaming metal mansard roofs. One of our stops is at the tallest building in town. The top floor has a 360 degree view of the city, as well as displays detailing Quebec’s history. From here, we can see the old and the new, the river and the city, the walls and fort.
Back on the bus for more of the new city. There are neighborhoods close in to the city that are lined with stately old apartments made of stone. At street level there are restaurants of many styles and ethnics, and, this being summer, the sidewalks are lined with tables and chairs for dining al fresco.
We admire the many parks and open green spaces we pass through. There is not enough time to inspect everything so there are a few spots we check off for later visits; the Musees de la Civilisation, the Citadelle, the Plains of Abraham, the Parliament Building.
Too soon, we are back on the Terrasse. Back down the hillside via winding streets and old, worn stairs. Onto the ferry and across the river. Back down the boardwalk to our rental. There is too much to do and see in Quebec to take it all in in a few days. Maybe some day we will pass this way again.
Next up: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island