Trans-Canada Highway 20 between Quebec City and Montreal, three hours of sweeping plains dressed nature’s autumnal quilt, signs for moose and deer (but no sign of them), fog and pouring rain, a soup stop at Tim Horton’s, granite monoliths dotted in neon. A great day to be on the road.



Quebec City is a lovely place for wandering, narrow and meandering streets aglow in stately autumn robes, shop after shop, whimsical decorations around quiet corners, pleasant surprises, every last one. As is our usual and marvelous good luck, the skies were clear and bright, and though the wind laced its icy fingers around the city, the rain only came when we tucked in for the evening. We walked ourselves silly, along ramparts and the river, up and down steep city staircases, and in leafy parks. We did not suffer, however, fortified with great food (crepes, raclette, confit of duck!), many a stop for a stunning view, locally made moccasins, steaming coffees, cocoas topped with towers of whipped cream, a pile of gifts, and most decadent of all, hot ciders spiked with brandy.

I most definitely think we’ll be back, but in winter next time, when everything is aglitter with snow.



Time to leave now, get out of this room, go somewhere, anywhere; sharpen this feeling of happiness and freedom, stretch your limbs, fill your eyes, be awake, wider awake, vividly awake in every sense and every pore.

Stephan Zweig



Quebec City! We arrived at sunset, after a long day of travel. The skies were crystal in their clarity and the air bracing, but I was sweating, nervous over the fact that we got stuck in traffic and our phones don’t work in Canada. Surprise! Oof. Many thanks to the kindness of strangers, we made a call at a local restaurant to connect, just five minutes late, with our weekend landlord. The world is good, and so were our lodgings.

It was a short walk to cobbled streets and every manner of wonder, a sculpture or two or a dozen, and a fabulous public market. These are our breakfast provisions for the duration of our stay in Quebec City, black pepper smoked mackerel, tart crisp apples, a wild mushroom quiche, and ground cherries. Do you know them? They taste like an apple kissed a cherry, with the the look and texture of an orange tomato under that lovely husk. Delicious! Not wanting to leave any local stone unturned, we also bought nougat, more hard cider than we ought, and maple butter, velvety sweet goodness.

It is a marvelous place, a time capsule from the late 1600’s opened anew each day. When I began studying French in seventh grade, my text book had a photo of the Chateau Frontenac on the cover, and young me had many a fantasy about what it would be like when I saw it in person for the first time. Friends, none of them was as joyous as rounding that corner and having my thirteen year old self gasping from my fourty-four year old lungs before squealing at the hubster, “There it is!” Of course I got teary at the silly sentimentality of it all. Dreams come true.

A delectable lunch at Cochon Dingue, poutine for the hubster, and a seafood gratin in the cutest cast iron pan for me. Don’t my arms look long?

Shazama-bama diggity-pop! I love my life!



Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it.

I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.

Sylvia Plath


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