It has been another exciting weekend in Québec City filled with excursions, entertainment, and educational experiences.
On Friday, my French Conversation class visited a local café called Café Au Temps Perdu, located a short walk from our dorms at University Laval. We all ordered a small item or drink from the menu, practicing our French whenever conversing with each other or the waiter. I ordered Le Mousse Au Chocolat and an iced chai latte. My other classmates at the table ordered things such as crème brûlée, cappuccinos, lemonade, and pomme frites.
We chatted about the food and the day all in French, asking questions whenever it was needed. As the meal was coming to an end, our class instructor, Kyle presented mini Québecois dictionaries and phrase books for us. In our French Conversation class, we learn how the French in Québec has many small differences from Parisian French. Many common words have different meanings here that a native French speaker would not understand. The phrasebooks will help us practice words specific to Québec, that we will hear on the street and in shops and be able to use.
Friday evening, we embarked on what I now consider my favorite excursion on the trip so far. After taking a short bus ride to our usual stop at the entrance to Old Québec, we walked through the streets. The air was very cool and the light was perfect because it was just before sunset. We continued walking until we got to the coast of the St. Lawrence River. The massive river extends from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic. We bought tickets and waited for a ferry ride that would take us to the other side of the river. When the ferryboat returned to the port on our side, we all filed onto the huge boat. Our group found a perfect spot on the top deck of the boat. We had a beautiful view of the river, and Le Château Frontenac juts out onto the bluffs, creating a magical sight. The ferry ride was short, only about twenty-five minutes, but during it, we took lots of photos and admired the view. Another reason the ferry ride was so beautiful was that the sun began to set while we were on the water. It was beautiful to see the sky over the river and the view of the Château.
After the ride on the ferry, we had crossed the St. Lawrence River and arrived on the other side of it. On the opposite side of the river, there was an extensive park with fountains, music, and food. Our group went straight to the Chocolats Favoris food truck. Chocolats Favoris has become our group’s favorite tradition. One of the first evenings of our program, we visited the Chocolats Favoris location on Champlain Street. They sell soft serve cones of ice cream dipped in chocolate coating and then covered in toppings. It tastes amazing and has a quite impressive presentation. After eating our ice cream cones, my friends and I decided to be spontaneous and ran through the fountains that extended across the lawn.
We were soaking wet but it was so much fun and I know it will be one of my favorite memories from my trip. Then, we attempted to dry off and rode the ferry back. The entire city was lit up and it was a beautiful view. We exited the ferry and rode the funicular up the hill back to the bus.
Saturday was a very cold and rainy day, but a trip to Montmorency Falls was planned and we decided to go despite the weather. The falls were absolutely stunning. The waterfall is located in between a river and cliff. We walked across a suspension-like bridge over the waterfall. As someone mildly afraid of heights, I was proud that I made it across and got to see the falls from above. On the other side, we walked down well over 1,000 stairs to the base of the waterfall. You could actually feel the misty spray of the waterfall splash on your face! We took lots of photos of the waterfall.
All of us had on plastic ponchos that the leaders had bought for us at the start of the trip. The rain ponchos had Fleurdelisés on it, which are a symbol of Québec and is symbolic of the region. The waterfall was so beautiful and impressive and was completely worth it even though the weather was not in our favor.
Sunday’s excursion was a trip to Wendake Village, a reconstruction of Huron Village, belonging to one of the tribes native to Québec. At Wendake Village, visitors can go on tours to learn about the history of the native people of Québec. Our tour started with a welcome dance. We then were taken around into various living spaces and huts. It was fascinating to learn about some of the traditions. There was a small space where people would go to make important decisions. The hut would have hot stones placed inside it to create steam, and herbs and essences to create clarity and prophecy so that the person inside it could come to a decision.
We also learned that the Iroquois tribe that lived there had three different medicinal healers. Our tour guide also described the exact way a dream catcher would work. It would essentially be prescribed by a healer to someone who had a mental problem or was being scared in their sleep. They would hang it by their bed, and every night, the web of the dream catcher would capture the sleeper’s bad dreams and they would get stored in a small bead in the center. The good dreams would fall down into the beads on the tassel, and when the individual woke up, if they wanted a lucky and positive day, they would shake the tassels to have the good dreams transfer to them.