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Old Quebec, QC Canada

It's funny that after so many months of adventures, I feel accomplished and proud of myself for driving through a city in a semi-calm state.

By the time I leave Montréal, it is rush hour. All my senses are on high alert, and without knowing French, I feel handicapped. But I did it!

My plan is to get to my Airbnb early, park my car, and take the bus to start my exploration of Old Quebec. However,  heavy traffic and the time I spent figuring myself out in a supermarket put me behind schedule. In all honesty, it is only my schedule. I have four nights to spare, and that should be plenty.

Now, I do what I truly need to do: I wash my car before the smashed bugs become a permanent part of its exterior color. Yes! My "vanpartment" is back to being clean. It is important for me to keep a clean home, which is part of my make-up.

I checked into my Airbnb in Trait-Carré Charlesbourg (a 40-minute bus ride to Old Quebec). From the moment I step into Marie Claude's house, I am transported back in time. The original house dates back to 1860. Some additions were made through the years, but Marie Claude beautifully keeps the feel and charm of the "old" throughout. I love it!

I stayed in several Airbnbs last year, most of which were a quick hello and goodbye, except when I stayed with Rachel in Tennessee. Now as I am spending time with Marie Claude and her family, I automatically feel at home. Marie Claude and I share many ideologies about life.

My limited budget pushes me out of the center of Old Quebec, but I prefer the idea of taking a bus ride through Quebec City anyway, which will give me a window into the neighborhoods of Quebec City's everyday life. I love how diverse life is here.

Old Quebec has been on my list for the last twenty-five years. Now, I am finally here.

I feel transported back in time as I enter the gate to Old Quebec. My first stop is Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral. I open the heavy door and enter another stunning cathedral. The primary color here is gold! From my experience with gold leafing, it is hard not to admire the work that went into these walls and wood-carved elements.

It is a hot day, and the sun is as powerful as the presence of the past in the streets of Old Quebec. I decided to stroll the streets to get my bearings. I see the hop-on hop-off open-top double-decker bus as I get to the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac hotel. Perfect! I will sit comfortably while the breeze cools me down and learn my way around. I put the headphones on, sit back, and enjoy the ride. I don't hop off. I want to see it all without interruptions. For an extra five dollars, my ticket becomes a two-day ride if I want to retake it tomorrow.

I already have the places I want to see in mind. Taking the bus will help me organize myself quickly, and I am sure to learn new things about Canada and Quebec.

Remember, I am not a shopper. However, one of my favorite parts of Old Quebec is Place Royale.

From Google: Place-Royale is one of the most eloquent witnesses to Québec's French origins. This lively public square was the city's commercial hub until the mid-19th century. Hundreds of thousands of people visit it each year to experience the faithfully recreated atmosphere of New France.

I get, and just for a minute, a brief moment of no crowds in one of the alleys. Yes, I can now let my imagination take over and hear the horses' carriages as they pass the cobblestone street and get a more authentic feel for the beautiful history around me.

While driving in Quebec yesterday, I noticed the presence of blue shutters on some of the houses. I knew it was no coincidence that this beautiful blue color was being used. Yes, that is the blue that comes from the flag of Quebec.

On my second day, I walked to the Parliament Building. I was hoping there would be a tour, but it is not offered every day. The self-guide is mainly in French, which is a bit disappointing as it doesn't give me the chance to learn more about the culture of Quebec.

Not far from the Parliament Building is The Citadelle of Québec. I take the guided tour there and enjoy learning about this historic fortress.

From Google: The Citadelle of Québec is a historic fortress located atop Cap Diamant, overlooking the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City. Constructed between 1820 and 1850, it is the largest British-built fortress in North America. The Citadelle serves as an active military installation, home to the Royal 22^e Régiment.

I simply walked around for two days, letting my feet take me around. I often found myself in a quiet street to enjoy the feel of the past and the interacting tales that walked the streets before me.

I am far from feeling like a guest in Marie Claude's house. Sitting down to dinner with her family feels so natural. We spend quality time getting to know each other's stories. Thank you, Marie Claude, for being you.

I have one more day to spend in this area before heading to Prince Edward Island—two days were enough to enjoy Old Quebec.

From my research about the area, I came across Sanctuaire Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. I am very much looking forward to checking it out tomorrow.

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