My last few days in Quebec City have been chock full of quintessentially Quebecois activities, and were a perfect way to end the ideal first leg of my European Voyage (yes, I realize the first two weeks were still in North America, but trust me, Quebec counts as a European city, I promise).
I had a free day on Wednesday, and I decided to take an afternoon for myself. As much as I love company (and I really do love everyone on my program), I’m one of those people that recharges by spending time with myself, not by being around other people. I wish I could alight into a crowded party room and get pumped full of energy, but it doesn’t work that way for me.
So I had the loveliest lunch, sans company, at a small Afghan restaurant near my homestay. I had a velvety eggplant dish called Badenjan and a lamb and spinach stew called Qorma Sabzi over rice, with a fresh little carrot and apple salad. It was fantastic; the spices were warm and slightly hot, the eggplant silky, the lamb tender. I took a nice, long, two hour lunch, and then I set off for the Quebec Museum of Beaux-Arts, conveniently located just down the road.
I was pleasantly surprised to find several Impression and Post-Impression exhibits (some of my favorite movements); one was on loan from MOMA, and I got to wile away a few hours dreamily staring at Picasso, Manet, and Matisse. I love being in museums alone, especially during off hours. You can just wander, and stare, and wonder if you’ll ever produce something quite as beautiful.
Then yesterday, as our afternoon activity, one of our Quebec guides took us ice skating at the Place de’Youville. It was bitterly cold, and I looked like a chilly Eskimo (giant coat, two scarves, hat, and two pairs of glove, thank you very much), but it was actually really fun – numbing, but fun. I was a devoted roller-blader as a child, so ice skating wasn’t too far of a stretch.
But now for the main event; our goodbye dinner. Our last night in Quebec, the program took us out for a truly fantastic dinner. There were four courses, and dessert, and Coffee or Tea. I had the Salmon Tartare (my first time – I LOVED it!), a lightly dressed beet salad, the Filet Mignon with roasted vegetables, and a nice cup of green tea. We arrived at 6:30 and didn’t leave until after 10:00. It was long, and full of laughter, and I spoke in French AT LEAST half the time. It was the perfect send off.
But now, for France.