Day 1 – Quebec City

We had a leisurely start, getting away around 11:00 AM under clear blue skies. Perfect convertible weather.

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The drive to Quebec City was uneventful, which is actually a very good thing. Because of the Labour Day weekend, hotels were fully booked, and we ended up staying in a western suburb. It was near the river, so we decided to walk into town through a series of parks. It was a lovely, if somewhat long (10 km – 6 mile) walk.

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We approached the city on the same route that General Wolfe used when he captured the city from the French in 1759, so we had a little history lesson – and a bracing walk up a steep cliff. It was early evening so we walked around the city for a bit before dinner.

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In the park we spotted an interesting piece of driftwood art.

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Then it was dinner at the Three Brewers. It is a chain, with branches in Ottawa, but this one had a local seasonal special – a very unusual Milkshake IPA. It just might be the best beer I have ever tasted.

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Then we walked around the old city and noticed that the Chateau Frontenac was decked out in rainbow colours.

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We finished the evening by crashing a (free) concert featuring bands by native artists.

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All in all an excellent start to our road trip.  Next stop is Moncton.

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Cottage Country

In early July we visited a friend’s cottage on a local lake. Many of these lakes are surrounded by forest now, but a hundred years ago they were surrounded by farms. In most cases the land was marginal, at best, and the farms have long since been abandoned. By now the forest has reclaimed the fields, leaving the abandoned equipment among trees.

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Birch trees are fairly common, with their distinctive peeling bark.

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And of course there is the water. Near sunset it is often calm and the water has a glassy look disturbed only by the occasional passing boat.

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The full moon was rising as the sun was setting.

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As darkness descended, the moon through the trees was stunning.

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Of course, the mosquitoes were also biting, so it was a short trip outside. But I still love the picture.

 

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Sunset

Sunset on the water. What more can I say?

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Sun, Water, and Sky

In preparation for my not-quite-annual father/sun road-trip (try saying that quickly five times in a row!) I want to finish posting some of the pictures I’ve taken this summer. We didn’t travel much this year, but then we rarely do over the summer. I enjoy the patio too much to go away when the weather is nice – even moderately nice. Lots of time for that when we have three feet of snow outside. But we did visit a couple of friends with lake-front property. The loons from the last post came from one of those visits. These pictures come from the same visit.

I love the way the sunlight plays on the water. Trees provide a nice contrast.

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And if you look up…

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Finally, this picture was taken near sunset.

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We are heading east to the maritimes for the road trip, so with any luck I should have many more pictures of water in the next two weeks.

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Loons

Oh my – has it really been that long since my last post? I must do something about that.

I haven’t been doing much in the way of travel lately, but I have been fortunate enough to visit friends who live on a lake. I didn’t take my camera with me when we went sailing, but later, while we were enjoying dinner and a glass of wine on the deck, we spotted a few loons swimming. Of course, I couldn’t resist taking pictures.

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The loons were enjoying dinner as well – in their case it was sashimi.

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I happened to capture that image completely by accident – I only realized I’d caught him in mid-swallow when I downloaded the pictures later. Still, I thought it made for an interesting image. Down the hatch…

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As the sun began to set, the play of light on the water was beautiful. But more about that next time. Hopefully my next post won’t be nearly as long as it has been since my last post.

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Out Like a Lion

Remember Groundhog Day? I said it confused me because in my experience “six more weeks of winter” and “an early spring” were pretty much the same thing. Well, here we are seven weeks later and counting, and yesterday we were greeted to this…

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By the time everything was said and done, we probably had close to six inches of fresh snow, on top of several feet that hadn’t melted yet. Nothing was cancelled. Traffic was slow but manageable. It was business as usual, except for a collective “enough already”. It’s about time for spring.

But I try to focus on the positive. It really was pretty – or it would have been if it had been mid December rather than the end of March. The street scene was like something right out of Narnia.

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The large snow flakes and the light created a surreal effect – now that I think about it, probably the perfect effect for these times.

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This morning we woke to this…

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Definitely a winter wonderland – other than the fact it’s March 25th.

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I am sooo ready for spring.

 

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Toronto By Train

It has been quite a while since my last business trip of any kind, but more on that later. Today I’m going to write about my train trip to Toronto.

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There was a time when I routinely took business trips on the train. I’ve taken a few Amtrak trips in the last few years, but it’s been a good 25 years since the last time I traveled on Via Rail for business. So I was pleased when this trip came up. Actually I was quite annoyed about having to take the trip (again, more about that later) but I liked the idea of taking the train again. The fact that Jan was joining me was an extra bonus.

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We stayed downtown, just a few blocks from Nathan Phillips Square, in front of City Hall, which features skating this time of year.

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The architecture offers an intriguing mix of old and new, with a (not very green) touch of nature.

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It offers some interesting effects.

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If it had been warmer, or if I’d brought my Ottawa clothes (and I hadn’t been busy working) I would have loved to get out more. But at least I was treated to an interesting effect on the train ride home. It was a cold day, with snow squalls, and it appears it had snowed a bit just before we came through on the train. The slipstream whipped up the snow, and created a very interesting winter scene. Of course, the fact that I was in a warm railway car sipping a glass of wine really helped to make it interesting.

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Monday it’s back to the old travel routine…

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