What a difference a day makes

Celebrity “X” on a sunny day in Quebec City

From my Celebrity Constellation Canada and New England cruise.

Early morning clouds gave way to a clear blue sky by 10am.  Some of the snow seemed to melt almost immediately but small patches of ice remained.  There was still frost on the pumpkins and ice on the sidewalks but as passengers disembarked for another day in Quebec City, they were smiling and excited to explore the city.

The Seaside Café wasn’t too crowded for the late breakfast, 10am – 11:30am, my usual arrival time.  The poached egg station sesems to close at 10am because it is the second day that I have missed it.  Even at peak breakfast and lunch times, no one is seen standing with their tray of food in search of an available table.  The dining staff keeps moving everyone along and a table isn’t cluttered with empty plates and cups for more than a minute.  Clean, spray, wipe and it’s ready for the next diner.

What seemed like an eternity yesterday to simply reach the end of the dock, today was a pleasant, though chilly, stroll. Across the street and looming two hundred feet overhead was the Hotel Chateau Frontenac.

Historic Chateau Frontenac looms over the harbor

A strenuous climb via a tiered staircase or the one hundred-thirty year old funicular leads to the top of the hill and the hotel’s entrance.  I opted for the staircase going up and would attempt the funicular for the descent. A tourist destination unto itself, the Chateau has a historical, infamous and ghostly past.  Hotel tours are booked and depart from the lobby for parts unknown every half hour.

Twenty minutes exploring the gothic lobby bustling with gawkers and guests was enough for me.  I’d seen the old Banff Springs Lodge, another former Canadian Pacific hotel property and they seemed very similar to me.  Time to explore the city.

Horse-drawn sleighs clip-clopped through the Upper Level cobblestone streets.  Candy stores were everywhere.

Homemade bakeries and chocolate shops are everywhere
Walkers were slip-sliding past storefronts and off of curbs as the sun hadn’t yet melted much of the ice from the previous storm.  Every few minutes a mini-avalanche of snow would cascade off the pitched roofs and occasionally land on a head of a startled passerby.  I walked towards the entrance to the funicular, staying well under the awnings and overhangs of the buildings to avoid any unexpected surprises from overhead.
View from glass funicular towards landing

As the sun sets earlier in this part of North America, we depart from our ports of call just prior to sunset so we can enjoy a scenic sailaway.

I was fortunate to have received an invitation from Captain Manetas for a special gathering for those who dined with the Captain on the first formal night.

Eight of us met at the forward staircase at 4:30pm and escorted to the bridge where ten cushioned folding chairs had been set up facing the floor to ceiling windows.

View from the Bridge on Sailaway from Quebec City

While being served coffee, tea or hot chocolate, we had a spectacular view of shore of the St. Lawrence River, which at high tide would rise eighteen feet.  The tidal effect is noticeable by the dark, muddy bank which fronts the sprawling homes along the riverfront.

Keeping with my salt-free dinners, tonight would be lamb chops.  While everyone else who ordered the same dish would have their lamp chops served with an herb crust, I didn’t know what to expect from mine.  I’m convinced that this is the way to go.  From now on I will pre-order my dinners salt-free.  The food is prepared to order, in very small quantities. No sitting on the food line under hot lamps, specially ordered items are served as though you were in a small, neighborhood restaurant.

Salt-free lamb chops specially prepared to order

I will add this evening’s entertainment comments as soon as I am back on board the ship.  We’re leaving in 15 minutes..so I had better hurry.

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