On both sides of the walled Old City, Quebec is a very pleasant, attractive, and clean city; and, we always felt safe walking through the streets wherever we went. It is quite hilly, though, and I am now paying for hiking up and down those steep inclines! If you have arthritis in your hips and you visit Quebec City, don’t say I didn’t warn you!


The incline is so steep leading down to the Old Port, we walked down; however, after a full day of walking, we chose to take the inclinator back up. It was well worth the visit, though, as you can see below.











Back up top, the Fairmont Hotel and the Old City looked beautiful in the sunlight.








We thoroughly enjoyed our 2-1/2 days in Quebec City and were sorry to have to leave Canada. U.S. Masters Summer Nationals was next on my swimming competition plate, though, and it was time to continue on to College Park, Maryland.

How ironic that of all the people we spoke with in French Canada, the only one who couldn’t speak English was the taxi driver who took us to the airport! Seeing our luggage upon arrival, though, he pulled only two words out of his extremely limited English vocabulary: “Airport or train station?” And, off we went.

Somehow, in his French and my English, we were able to communicate perfectly fine. I had forgotten to photograph my Canadian currency (something I do in every country I visit), so I pulled out a $20 and photographed it on my leg. I conveyed to our driver that their $20 note was prettier than our $20 bill. He went on to comment on the value of their currency compared to ours and how it has fluctuated over the years. I didn’t understand a word he said, but we were sure we understood exactly what he said. Funny how sign language and facial expressions can be a wonderful substitute for understandable words.


By the time we arrived at the airport, our discussion of economics had developed quite animated; however, it was time to say “au revoir.”

We both look forward to the day we return to Quebec City and are welcomed by our next French-speaking taxi driver with a hearty, “Bonjour!”


There was one place I felt completely at home among an entire group of French speaking locals: the pool. Lap swimming etiquette is the same throughout the world, and it took no time at all to size up the situation when I arrived for a morning training session. Lanes were designated by speed, and although I can’t read French, I knew what the red, yellow, and green signs meant: no-go, slow-go, and go-go! I hopped into the lane with the green sign (for fast swimmers) and fit right in with three swimmers who knew what they were doing (circle swimming counter-clockwise). We all went about our business and were right in sync, never getting in each others’ way.


Two of us ended our session at the same time, and we got into a conversation. He spoke to me in French, and I replied, “Parlaz-vous anglais?” In perfect English, he repeated his question, “Are you new here? I’ve never seen you before.”

After explaining that I was American and had competed at the Masters World Championships, he welcomed me to Quebec and said, “I may be partial, but I think Quebec is the most beautiful city in North America. You are really going to enjoy it!” I don’t think I will ever forget that conversation, because it was the end of that day I came to the same conclusion.

San Diego, the city I called home for 24 years is wonderful in so many ways, and San Francisco is magical. Portland and Seattle are two beautiful cities, and I absolutely loved Chicago. Savannah is incredibly charming and picturesque, and although New York is HUGE, it also has a place on my favorite cities list.

In Canada, Vancouver topped the list for me and Bruce—until we stepped under the arch of the walled Old City of Quebec. It was love at first sight.

During our two full days in Quebec, Bruce and I enjoyed our quickly-established routine of swimming in the morning and sightseeing in the afternoon. While he lounged in the apartment, I made the five-minute walk to the community pool for the morning lap swimming session. (U.S. Master Swimming Summer Nationals was coming up in just a few days, so it was important to keep a feel for the water after Worlds concluded.)

This facility was excellent. Not only was it free (thanks to the taxpayers), it was clean as a whistle and well-maintained. The locker rooms were large and well-equipped, and the 25-meter pool was kept at a perfect temperature.

After my swim, I was curious to see who was pictured on the wall next to the posted information. As it turned out, it was the local Masters team, and I recognized several of the swimmers from World Championships!

Following my morning swim sessions, we ventured into the Old City and Old Port to explore.

The iconic centerpiece of the Old City is the Fairmont Hotel. Below are some photos I shot of the hotel and a parade we enjoyed the previous afternoon. It was a bit gloomy; however, we were fortunate to have perfect weather the remainder of our trip.









Our first meal in Quebec was at Casse-Crepe Breton, a highly rated and reasonably priced recommended on my go-to travel site, . We enjoyed our crepes there so much, we returned for more on our last day.


Ditto for our pitas at La Galette Libonnaise, a tiny takeaway tucked in between posh restaurants on swank Grand-Allee est. We each tried a different pita during our two visits, so we tasted four in all. It was difficult to choose a favorite, because they were all so delicious!


In my next post, I will share more about our Quebec experience. Until then, au revoir!


Riding the train from Montreal to Quebec City was a very relaxing and enjoyable way to begin our remaining three days in Canada. Rather than book a hotel room in Quebec, we again opted to rent an apartment, this time at .

Melanie and Angus were there to greet us upon arrival, an easy task for them since their home was located just above our rental. Immediately, we knew we had made the right choice, because they were as warm and gracious as could be, and their apartment was as cozy and comfortable as we could hope for. What a perfect way to begin our visit in Quebec, the city that topped my bucket list for several years!

Quickly, we checked out the amenities, hung up our clothes, and off we went to explore the city. A short walk up the stairs and there we were at Rue Saint-Jean, the street that would take us to the Old City, just a ten-minute walk away.

Along the way were many inviting restaurants, shops, markets, and even a chocolatier with a chocolate museum!

My heart skipped a beat and my eyes lit up, though, when we arrived at the walls surrounding the Old City. I couldn’t wait to explore what awaited us on the other side.

Quebec City, the capital of Quebec perched on the hills above the Saint Lawrence River, is one of the oldest settlements in North America. French explorer Jacques Cartier built a fort at the site in 1535. That was a long time ago!

To us Americans, any structure that is more than 100 years old is old. In Quebec, homes at the Old Port dated back to the early 1600’s and appeared no worse for the wear. They just don’t build ‘em like they used to! (Too bad the Atlanta Braves don’t subscribe to that point of view, because they are abandoning Turner Field for a new stadium. Turner field was built for the Olympics in 1996 and still looks perfectly fine!)

Being in Quebec felt like being back in France. In addition to the beautiful European architecture of the Old City, about 95% of the city’s inhabitants are native French speakers.

Many Americans would find that intimidating or uncomfortable, but I am like a magnet when it comes to foreign cultures. Drop me in the middle of anywhere foreign and I love the challenge of communicating with the locals and making myself at home.

I don’t speak French, but it didn’t take much effort to learn a few simple phrases that proved to be all that was needed to enjoy our stay in Quebec. Check this out on Trip Advisor; it’s all you will need if you visit Quebec:

“Bonjour! Parlez-vous anglais?” Asked with a smile, the locals unfailingly responded in perfect English. We never once experienced the unfriendliness that Americans often speak about when it comes to the French or French Canadians. Avoid playing the “ugly American” role, and Quebec City is thoroughly enjoyable.

The following are a few of the photos I shot in Quebec City. Visit to see more, and check back for my next post for more about Quebec City.