Summer holiday in the Province of Quebec - 2 -

Written by Seyfettin Yilmaz on . Posted in Seyfettin Yılmaz

*** Continued ***

At first the sea was calm, everyone was smiling, the group was composed of people from various countries, France, Belgium, Germany, and Iran. Thirty minutes into the excursion the wind velocity increased, the water surface got choppier, it progressively got colder and the waves were crashing against the boat with more force. The water sprayed on us more and more to the point that I put on the jacket that Abi had given me thinking…thank you Abi you were right. By the time the tour ended and reached final destination my jacket’s hood was soaking wet but I was still warm.

As the tour progressed, I was very excited with the prospect of seeing whales. I asked the friendly Captain many questions. By the end of the tour we had seen a total five whales jumping out and back in. It was indeed a very impressive site to see them so close to us.

After a delightful lunch we went on foot on a boardwalk leading to the nearby Tadoussac River. We sat to enjoy the spectacular view, and joined several people that were already there expecting to see whales. Luckily we were able to see a few more.
I had also promised myself that I would go swim in the St-Lawrence River, we headed over to the beach area and I got ready to go. Abi was already waist high in the water. As my foot hit the water I thought my heart would stop…the water was so cold, I did not want to go in anymore. Abi tried to convince me but to no avail. He finally pushed me in the water, I thought I would freeze to death…, and then I turned around and saw the two young children sitting in the water having a great time. Seeing them, I regained my courage and went back in the water to swim…mind over matter one might say.

My last stop was in Old Québec (Vieux-Québec) is a historic neighborhood of Quebec City. Comprising the Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville), the area is a Unesco World heritage Site.

Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. Among cities in Canada and the U.S.A., few were created earlier than Quebec City. Also, Quebec's Old Town (Vieux-Québec) is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist.

Of course my trip in Quebec City would not be complete without a stop at the “Chocolats favoris” restaurant located in Lévis (south shore). The place is famous for its ice cream dipped in soft Belgium chocolate. It is not unusual to see people long line-ups on the sidewalk, even late in the evening, waiting to taste their chocolate dipped ice-cream.

Reflecting on my holiday I realized a few things:

  • That I had seen or met Muslims in almost all locations.
  • My opinion about French Canadians had drastically changed after this trip. I had previously encountered mainly French Canadians from the Gatineau area. The ones I met along my journey were very friendly and helpful, even though there was at times a language barrier. They tried to speak to me in English whenever they could and we somehow were able to communicate. The French Canadians are, to my opinion, more similar to the Turks.
  • If I was going to start over again, I would have selected a University in Quebec City or Montreal area to do my university studies. After my Bachelor Degree I intend to continue my Master’s Degree in Montreal and to learn French.

Seyfettin Yilmaz

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Summer holiday in the Province of Quebec - 1 -

Written by Seyfettin Yilmaz on . Posted in Seyfettin Yılmaz

After a long school year and a busy summer, I had the opportunity to get away for a few days and traveled to the Province of Quebec (La belle province) to discover some new places.

So I set off on a beautiful August day and headed to the city of Montreal.

Seyfettin 1My first stop was at the Saint Joseph Oratory located in Montreal’s Mount RoyaI area (built 1924-1955). It is l is a Roman Catholic minor renaissance style basilica and a national shrine on the Westmount Summit. It is Canada's largest church. The founder was Brother André Bessette, one of the most popular Québécois of the 20th century. Even before he was canonized (Saint) in 2010, his reputation for holiness crossed frontiers and influenced generations of people. The religious brother welcomed thousands of distressed people or those who were looking for a ray of hope. He listened to them and recommended that they pray to Saint Joseph in whom he had full confidence. Any number of miraculous healings took place there and hearts turned toward God.

The remains of Bessette lie in the church he helped build. His body lies in a tomb built below the Oratory's Main Chapel, except for his heart, which is preserved in a reliquary in the same Oratory. Today, Saint Brother André continues to be an inspiration and a friend for women and men of any religious practice who visit this location.

Seyfettin 2My second stop was in the downtown and the historic Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal). The historic one –walled district is still bustling with life. I loved the architecture and the atmosphere and I plan to return there for a lengthier visit. My third stop of inerest was the “Parc des Chutes de la Chaudière” located on the south shore near Quebec City. In addition to the magnificent waterfall it has pick-nick area, walking and biking trails and a suspended pedestrian bridge (113 meters long and 23 meters from the ground).

You can easily bring a pick-nick and relax on the shores by the falls with you friends and family and admire the view. Fishing is also permitted with a license of course. The parking and access are free.

I had my first swimming experience in a small lake in the south of Quebec near the Vermont Border, more precisely in a small lake north the “Parc National de Frontenac”. The weather was perfect for driving and sightseeing. It was very nice to relaxingly drive in the rolling hills covered with trees and see many farms along the way, beautiful indeed.  The swim was very relaxing and a nice way to end the afternoon. While there I had the opportunity to speak with the local people there. Although there was a language barrier we were able to communicate, friendly folks.

Seyfettin 4The day after my journey continued on the north shore of the St-Lawrence River heading to the Tadoussac area renowned for its whale watching. A few minutes passed Quebec City we started up the Appalachians Mountain range, the scenery was at times remarkable. I finally arrived at destination in late afternoon.

I overnighted in a motel by the St-Lawrence River where I reserved my whale watching ticket. I chose to take the “Thrill seeking tour” on a zodiac boat. At about 08:30 I made my way the wharf were I was to board the boat, the weather was exceptional, warm, no wind, quiet sea. I purchased my ticket and was given a rain/wind suit (pants and jacket).

My “Abi” gave me as well a heavy long sleeves jacket with hood and told me to take it along and said: “It can get cold on the water”. I was already wearing a sweater and long pants, I thought it was more than sufficient, in any case I took it…, I had little choice. The boat finally arrived and our group of thirty five set off for the 2.5 hours tour.

 - to be continued - 

Seyfettin Yilmaz

Authors take responsibility for their articles published on our site.

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