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Day 24

Today is a travel day, but we didn’t leave Quebec City until almost 6:30 p.m. That gave us plenty of time to do the things we wanted to do and hadn’t done the day before. For me, that was sleep in -- the previous day had worn me out.

I was behind on my journals. Partly because I’d wanted to get away from a computer for a day, and also because I get easily distracted. (Trains, interesting cities, and shiny metal objects will do that.) After breakfast and helping Ivan with his email, I sat down for a few hours of solid typing and image manipulation.

Finishing up, I checked out of my room and put my bags in a holding room. Analisa, Lisa, and I (meeting by chance in the lobby) then headed out for lunch. Analisa and Lisa decided to retry Café Suisse, the restaurant from the previous evening. Not in the mood for a fondue, I wanted something else. As odd as it might sound, I wanted French onion soup. The taxi driver who took the three of us to Vieux Quebec suggested I try the Café de la Paix.

I had passed the place the day before and had paid it no mind. A small, darkish place, I took my seat and resolved to order my lunch in French. (I was determined to prove that my French was still passable. The staff seemed more than willing to humour me.) Soupe l’onion gratinee et salade cesar. The soup was outstanding. The salad now holds the number two slot of my favourite Caesar salads, following my family’s. I was in heaven.

At least until I got the bill. The cost didn’t throw me, but I had no idea how to ask to break a $20 bill into two tens. I broke into English. The waiter didn’t seem to mind at all, returning to French once I’d asked. I tipped heavily.

I wandered a little aimlessly, thinking I’d head up Rue Saint-Jean. Along the way, I found Marc and Rob. Across the street, Gerry appeared. The four of us walked into several of our comrades, also enjoying the ambiance of this city. We talked well into the afternoon, until we realized that we needed to return to the hotel and retrieve our bags. Some took a taxi, but most of us walked. By then, we knew the city well enough not to get lost, and the walk wasn’t really that far.

As the train pulled out into the darkening Quebec City sky, rain was falling. Daryl was miffed because he couldn’t get a decent shot through the water-streaked windows. Rose and Colleen discussed the shocking news that Ron MacLean had not been resigned for Hockey Night in Canada.

Following dinner, we broke into sections to watch movies. Some in the Banff Park watched "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," some were supposed to gather in the Skyline to watch "Lord of the Rings" (but never did), and a couple of us took up shop in the dome of the Skyline to watch the director’s cut of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

We were heading into New Brunswick, and our second-to-last province on this trip.


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