Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vacation and Quebec City

I finally took a summer vacation! Usually it's so nice around here in the summer, and I don't like to take time off unless I'm going somewhere, but I'm up to 4 weeks off per year now and I carried one over from last year, so I figured, why not? 'Cause no one else was gonna be around anyway.
So, I took last week off.
Friday, I got out early, played in the dirt, working on my flower boxes. Randy had his big sales meeting party so he wasn't around, but Karen came out. Yay! We grilled and gabbed and played Yahtzee on the deck. Always love that. Randy got home at 3:00AM (bless him, took a cab!) and had a blast at the party. He rode home in a bright orange suit with weird goggles 'cause it was a theme party (The Future). Sure wish I could have seen the look on the cabbie's face.
In the morning, Karen and I drove up to Hampton Beach for a day of fun in the sun. It was just about as perfect as we'd hoped. In the afternoon we poked around a couple shops, had a couple apps and a couple beers and came home for more time on the deck.
Sunday, Karen and I went into Boston to the annual Boston Chowderfest, a big competition for the honor of serving the best chowder in Boston. I've lived here 13 yrs and have never done it. It was fun, we tried 10 chowders and cast our votes, which didn't win (Christopher's of Maynard did). Poked around Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market area, ate some ice cream, then she headed back to Albany. Always love it when she comes to visit!
Monday and Tuesday I hung around the house, caught up on boring stuff >yawn< but I also got to read and sit in the sun and that always makes me happy! Randy and I skipped out on the 4th celebration in Boston (it rained).

On Thursday we drove to Quebec City, checked into the hotel, and realized that Q.C.'s big Summer Festival was about to take place outside the door of the hotel. But first, we had to check out the city from the 22nd floor's revolving restaurant, which offered great views of the St Laurence River and the Old Town. Had a couple bevvies, marched out the door, heard the music, and decided, $30 CDN is NOT bad for 4 venues offering 4 bands each night so we purchased buttons, walked through the fence down the street from our hotel and checked out this cool band we'd never heard of called Frequency, from LA.

Summer Festival

I checked out the listings and saw one of my faves, Derek Trucks Band was going to play at 9:30. (Derek Trucks is the son of one of the Allman Brothers Band members). So, we hoofed to the next site, grabbed some dinner and listened to a band, and 1/2 hour later were rockin' out to one of the best young guitarists out there.

Now, a couple things you gotta love about this festival.
1) Yeah you can stand outside the fences and hear the bands, but the sound and show is much better 5 rows from the stage
2) There were staff selling Molsons from coolers, milling through the crowd so you didn't have to go wait in the beer line!
Anyway, great shows. Followed up with a couple cool places in the Old Town, then back to the hotel.

Friday we got up and walked to the Old Town, a nice short walk away. We checked out the Chateau Frontenac, which is QC's landmark, then walked around the different streets, checked out the churches and squares.

Then, we walked down the side of the cliff to the arts district and Lower Town. We saw where QC was established. After this we went to the Museum of Civilization and saw all sorts of weird stuff about Dragons, Tintin, and the biggest display of books under glass you'd ever want to see. The cool part of the museum was this History of Quebec stuff but boy, there's nothing like a good set of historical books with explanations in French to get your blood flowin'.

A little show at Place Royale.

Some dinner that night at the Voodoo Grille:

They even had some live music for us. And the food & wine were AWESOME.

Saturday we went to this cool museum that showed us the history of the French and the English in Quebec, very cool display and only about 35 minutes long. Much more riveting than dragons and books.

Then we took a boat tour of the St. Lawrence and learned all about the grain depot and the paper factory, both fascinating locales on the water. Seriously though, some of the views ARE very nice, although I think you gotta be careful on boat tours, you never know what you're gonna learn about that you really don't give a rat's ass about.

Best view from the boat tour. I recommend the ferry to Levis over this tour. Save yourself about an hour of stuff you don't wanna hear about.

Saturday night, checked out more music (MAN it was packed on Saturday, but the guys with the coolers were still walking around!) and had some dinner in the Old Town.

Sunday we drove out to Montmorency Falls. Taller than Niagara, but not as wide. Very pretty though.

Hopped back in the car at 10:40am, figuring 3 hours to the border, 3.5 - 4 hours from there to get home. First 3 hours were easy sneezy. Approach the border and realize, we're gonna be here a LOOOONNNNNG time. Stuck there for 2 hours, Holy Moly. Our only entertainment was 3 Vermont State Troopers pulling over matching cars over and over. So we finally cross the border, get some gas, warn the northbound travellers to slow down or get pulled over, then not 10 minutes later, all joyful at 80 MPH with no traffic, I GET PULLED OVER. Crap!
We'll, he runs my license and Randy's registration, scribbles out a warning and hands it over. WHEW. But, lesson learned. DO NOT warn others about cops pulling over cars. It WILL bite you in the ass.
So, we're thinking we're home free. Maybe we'll be home by 6:30 or so. But NO, cops everywhere and LAKE REGION traffic outta New Hampshire conspire against us and we don't get to our humble abode until 8:00pm. Holy moly, over 9 hours on the ride home.

But, we had a great time on our trip, and I loved my vacation.


HAR said...

This was an awesome post. One of my favorite lines:
"DO NOT warn others about cops pulling over cars. It WILL bite you in the ass."

Glad that you had such an awesome vacation.

Kimberly said...

Glad you had such a great time!