Archives by Tag 'Museum'

6 Nights in Quebec City with Mama D

By DD - Last updated: Friday, June 16, 2017

Mama D had been wanting to visit Quebec City for a long time and we had a great 6 nights staying in a private apartment in Old Quebec. I flew there with a transfer in Montreal and took a short cab ride to our apartment. After dropping my bags I walked to the train station to welcome Mama D and help her with her suitcase. She really enjoyed her business class trip while I got out of both of my flights a little nauseous even with Dramamine; It was very windy and both planes were small. I paid a little extra for the extra leg room and only had my carry-on suitcase with a handbag and a purse. I like to bring my big scarf that I use as a blanket or a pillow. I sometimes tend to bring too much clothes and things I don’t use but not checking a suitcase forced me to bring only essentials. A pair of Jeans, 2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts, a zippered sweater and a light rain jacket were all I needed. We dressed in layers as the mornings were chilly and afternoon sometimes very warm. Our packable backpacks were very handy to carry our extra layers, lunches, brochures and maps.

Our accommodation was perfect for the two of us. We rented a private apartment in old Quebec, on Saint-Paul Street, just across from the train station. We had everything we needed: each our own bedroom, an L shaped couch to lounge on, a fully equipped kitchen, a big dining table and a nice soaker tub to relax in after walking all day. As usual I cooked all our meals and we packed a lunch everyday. We had our usual favorites of cod stew and no tomato bolognes pasta and it was so comforting! For our first and last nights, we made an exception and got some Hungry Man frozen TV Dinners! It was so convenient.








We used Les Tours du Vieux Québec for many activities. The first morning, we took the Hop On Hop Off Double Decker bus getting off at the last stop; it was a great 2.5 hour ride to get our bearings. Then we had lunch at the Citadelle, toured the museum about the 22nd regiment, then went on a guided tour of the Governor General’s House.








On our second day, we went on a Country side tour. Our first stop was at Chutes Montmorency where we only had 45 minutes to take the cable car, visit the museum, buy a souvenir and walk to the bridge: almost impossible but we made it! After the Waterfall we crossed the bridge to Île d’Orléans with its beautiful historical houses and outstanding views. We stopped at the Chocolaterie de l’Île for an ice cream and continued our way to the south side of the island where the micro climate is perfect for strawberry fields. After the Island, we stopped at the Musée du cuivre where I bought a souvenir art piece with a moose for our basement. Something that made it especially interesting for me was that the founder of the place, Albert Gilles, who passed away not too long after Walt Disney, actually made some pieces for him and his brother. The piece I bought was not made by him but made using his techniques as his daughters took over the business. On our way to the Basilique Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, we stopped by Chez Marie, a French Bakery, and because locals don’t even shop there they don’t bake a lot of goods. Having worked for many years in an artisan bakery I was disappointed by their variety and by what was left as I was the last one in line. My cinnamon bun was good but tasted just like any other commercial bun. The pièce de résistance was the larger than life Basilique Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré with all the crutches of the “miraculously healed” patrons left on the front pillars. It made me wonder how many people are told by doctors that they will never walk but are so determined to walk that they eventually walk; the mind is a very powerful tool. My favorite part was to see the front doors covered in copper art done by Albert Gilles himself! At the rear right of the building was a tiny building with the inscription: Bénédictions (Blessings). Inside was an old tired looking priest, sitting and waiting for people to come with their money to get his blessings. I’d personally rather bet my money on Zoltar’s fortune granting… what, it worked in the movie!








On our third day, we visited the Musée de l’Amérique francophone. We then made our way to the Musée Place Royale by the Ramparts with the view of the St Lawrence through blooming mountain ashes and lovely fragrant lilacs. My favorite part was the diorama of the original Samuel de Champlain’s settlement of the Place Royale. All the original buildings burned down but were reconstructed, not unlike Louisbourg. We took a Museum break walking down to the port where we took the Louis Jolliet for an hour and a half boat cruise. Back at the Musée Port Royal, we dressed up for some photos we took of ourselves surrounded by a Tennessee French immersion group of teenagers and their group leader thought I was working there! She said if they needed help they could come see me, that’s what I was there for! She later came to apologize and I thought it was pretty funny. It was something to see them all dressed up, it really felt like we were back in time.








On our fourth day we took a bus to the Aquarium du Québec. We didn’t know what to expect and were surprised to see most of the exhibits to be outdoors but even the cold and little bit of rain didn’t ruin the day. We just took our time in the indoor exhibits with many breaks and lunch next to a filming production crew that we found later were filming 100% Animal, the Télé-Québec show about animals for teens. We must admit it is one of our favorite French shows. Dami was so excited when I sent him pictures of Silvi with the polar bear! It seems like there is a shooting everywhere we go recently! We do tend to travel during shoulder seasons as we try to avoid crowds and production crews probably do the same.








We spent our last day at the Musée de la civilisation and we could have used 2 days as it is a big place with many exhibits. In Le Temps des Québécois, they had an 1800 rocking chair exactly like the one we took from our Victorian rented house as a departing gift; if ours is a replica, it’s a very good one. They had all kinds of display. There was an interactive exhibit on cats and dogs, one on the brain, and another one on nano technologies. We walked back to our apartment taking the long way, along the marina.








Mama D and I just started planning a new trip and made all our reservations and bought our tickets! We’re so excited about the next trip, it is going to be awesome! Can’t wait and of course, as usual I will post it here… Have a great summer!

July 2016 Nova Scotia Tour (11 nights) Part 2

By DD - Last updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2016

uniacke-estate-lakeAfter postponing writing this second part many times it’s about time we post it. We’re so thankful for taking notes! A pictures paints a thousand words but still, there are some details we wouldn’t have remembered without notes. This article is about the second part of an 11 night trip to Nova Scotia we made this past summer. We toured the Nova Scotia Museums, among other attractions, using a Parks Pass, skipping those we had already visited before.

We started our trip in Moncton, driving counter clockwise. In part one (Day 1-5) we drove through Truro, Wolfville, Annapolis, Yarmouth, Liverpool, Lunenburg and Bridgewater.

Day 6

Our day started in Halifax at the Best Western Chocolate Lake Hotel. We weren’t very happy with our kitchenette suite, one of the last rooms not refurbished yet but it had everything we needed, including a delicious complimentary breakfast looking out the lake. Despite being cold and rainy, we had a great day and did all we had planned.

Our first stop was at the Museum of Natural History. This was DD’s second visit and her favorite parts were the wildlife dioramas and the indoors bees nest connected to the outside world by translucent tubing. We did a quick tour of the Halifax Public Gardens right across the street while we still had some money in the parking meter. After a quick visit of the Maritime Museum we drove 35 minutes to what would become one DD’s favorite houses in Canada: Uniacke Estate Museum. Before our tour, we had lunch in the car admiring the grounds behind the rain drenched windshield. Later, as we were touring the house, DD had this feeling of dejà vu, this sense of having been there before and told the lady working there about the movie Somewhere in Time which she had never heard of. In the movie, Richard Collier (Christopher Reeves) travels back in time at the Grand Hotel to be with the love of his life, Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour). Then, walking to another room, DD got a flash back all the way to the Big Island of Hawaii at the Jacaranda Inn, the old Ranch Hotel that we had almost all to ourselves back in 2007. We walked around the property and along the lake and it was with great sadness that we left the Estate as if we had to go back to 2016…









Day 7

After another plentiful breakfast buffet we started the day at the Halifax Citadel where we used our Canada Parks Pass. Although it was still grey, cold and windy, thankfully it didn’t rain. It was Dami’s first visit to the fort and DD’s second; DD had visited with Mama D before. We went on a French guided tour then explored some more on our own and had a comforting cookie and a soothing hot beverage at the coffee bar before heading out to Shubenacadie Wildlife Park (home to the famous groudhog Shubenacadie Sam), a 45 minute drive from Halifax. On the way there, we realized we had left our binoculars in the room; We gave the park a call and they reserved two pairs of binoculars for us at The Greenwing Legacy Interpretive Centre! We were able to use them on the trail around the pond and in the park as well so we were able to get a better view of the animals that were further away. Even though we only did two activities we still did a lot of walking: DD’s phone registered 13000 steps and 8.5 km: almost a Tater Tour day; A little later on our trip, in Sydney, we spoke to a woman with an organized tour group called the Taters. They are a group of people that travel across America and hike ten kilometers a day. We’ve seen them at a few places we stayed at.  We’d love to participate in one of their tours!









Day 8

After leaving Halifax, driving towards Cape Breton Island, our first stop was at the Fisherman’s House. The lady there highly recommended we stop at Memory Lane Village which we were glad we did. The highlight of our visit was playing and cuddling with Laurel the tabby kitten who had lost his brother we presumed was named Hardie. We also met a widow at the church who told us she was wed to her deceased husband in that same church a long time ago; it was a special moment.









Our next stop was the Sherbrooke Village we had been wanting to visit for so long! But before doing so, we checked-in to our hotel Liscombe Lodge which was on our way to the Village. We started our Sherbrooke Village tour with a very disappointing lunch at the Tea Room. We were expecting a meal like the ones we had at Louisbourg, Le Pays de la Sagouine, King’s Landing or at the New Brunswick and the Nova Scotia Acadian Villages but The Tea Room was more like any ordinary diner with nothing special and a very limited menu. We should have listened and have eaten at Memory Lane. The best part of our visit at Sherbrooke Village though was that the streets were almost empty as it was the end of the day and we had our picture taken at the photo shop using the original 1860’s wet plate collodian ambrotype process. It was so neat as we dressed up and stood still for the photographer. We would like to go back next year for another picture which was a lot more exciting than our Passport pictures! We drove twenty minutes back to our cabin at Liscombe Lodge.









Day 9

Liscombe Lodge has a beautiful setting but the bed as in other cabins we rented in Nova Scotia, was not comfortable. We’d love to go back but unfortunately our cellphones were not working in the area so we will not be able to go back as we need to stay connected at all times for our work. After a morning walk, we set off for the longest drive on the trip (five hours total) to Canso, another place we had been wanting to visit for a long time; Every time we drove to Cape Breton Island and saw the signs to Canso. For some reason, everywhere we went was quiet but whenever we mentioned it we were told it was either super busy earlier in the day or the day before which was fine by us. On the road, not far from Canso, we stopped at a lookout where there was a plaque and information about “The Chronicles of Prince Henry Sinclair’s Voyage to the New World in 1398”: Who knew? At Canso, we took a boat ride to Grassy Island that we had all to ourselves for an hour and we could have stayed longer if we had wanted to but we still had a long way to go to Sydney. The island is a berry picker’s and a birder’s paradise. We didn’t find any berries as they had all been picked along the trail but we did hear a lot of different bird songs we hadn’t heard before. On our way to Sydney, we stopped in Guysborough for lunch at the Days Gone By restaurant and bakery. It was a very busy place and food was better than at the Sherbrooke Village in our opinion. DD had a seafood chowder and Dami a bowl of chili with a spinach salad. We shared a bowl of bread pudding. We arrived at The Hampton Inn Sydney early in the evening, did some laundry and had the last of our prepared meals.









Day 10

A day at the Fortress of Louisbourg! One of our favorite places in Canada. Before taking the bus from the Welcome Center to The Fortress, we hiked the short trail next to the parking lot. We like that trail with its view of the Fortress. On the bus to the Fortress, we were disappointed there was no introductory recording –  that on our previous visits reminded us of the ones on the Disney buses to the parks – but we were still happy to be there once again. Since we moved to the Maritimes, we’ve been to Louisbourg at least once a year and some years twice so that would make it at least our 6th visit. We were told at Canso Islands to mention we were from Canso when at the gate of the Fortress and if the guard knew his history we’d be put in jail but no luck, we walked straight in! As always it was very windy but it was sunny and for once all the buildings were open. In one of the houses, just as I mentioned we hadn’t seen any cats yet (we’re always on the lookout for cats), I turn my head and there I see it, a drawing of a family with children playing with a cat in a cradle! We saw the sheep and goats and had a delicious turkey meal with a vegetable and rice soup and bread pudding for dessert. We left Louisbourg with some freshly baked buns to take with us from the bakery.









Day 11

After two nice days of blue sky, rain came back with a vengeance so we decided to go shopping and we got three dwarf African frogs to bring home; they don’t sell them in New Brunswick anymore. It was so much fun to have them in the hotel room with us! We had a little precious Cargo the next day on the ride back home. They made it fine and adapted very well to their new tank with our other frogs, tetras, plants and snails. After shopping we came back for lunch to our room and then went for a walk at the Petersfield Provincial Park trail. It was a lovely trail with beautiful views of the water. And that is the end of our July 2016 trip to Nova Scotia. We can’t wait to go back next year! It was an awesome trip.






Back in the spring, Mama D and DD were in Alberta and British Columbia and while at the Calgary Tower were lucky enough to be there while they were filming the last season of The Amazing Race Canada. We waited anxiously for the season to start and enjoyed watching the show, especially the Western Canada part and the Maritimes! We have been to almost all the places they visited in Canada and it made us so proud to be Canadian and have such an awesome Country! We were so happy for the winners: Steph and Kristen; they are on our pictures of day! DD posted the picture she took as they were the first to come out of the elevator at the top of the Tower. Mama D and DD have a trip coming in December. Can you guess where they are going to?