Sunday, April 17, 2011

O - Old Cities

I love my hometown. It has its problems, as any city does, but I love it.

Why? Well, when you think about it... I live in a 400-year-old fortress perched on a cliff. What's not to love?

Quebec City from the sky

Granted, I don't live within the fortifications proper, but I am a big walker, and the hour it takes from my home to the Old City doesn't bother me. Especially when I have a friend to talk to, which is most of the time. I walk there and run my fingers along the ancient walls, marvelling as the brittle stone sometimes falls under them.*

The Old Quebec is full of snaking streets, old fortifications, stairs, canons and plaques with names of noteworthy folks that inhabited the houses. You can almost feel history tapping on your shoulder and smiling.

This post is an hommage of sorts, crammed with pictures. I hope you enjoy them!

Entering the Old Quebec -- La porte Saint-Louis
This is one of the two main entrances into the Old Quebec. You can walk atop the wall, too. The view is great.

The old canons in winter
 There's nothing I love more than a fresh snow (except, say, the last one we got. On Saturday evening. I mean, really, past mid-April?). It makes everything look prettier. For example...

Le Petit Champlain, downtown Old Quebec
Last but not least... anyone remember that scene from Catch Me If You Can, where DiCaprio gets caught, at the end, in a quaint French village? It was filmed at a well-known plaza, here in Quebec. I was so surprised when I saw the movie!

That's the scene. Filmed at Place Royale, not far from the last picture
 So that was it! I could post a lot more, of course, but at some point I have to exercise some control! I love places with a rich history. My hometown is one, and I'm glad about that.

What about you, guys? Any quirks about your hometown you particularly love? 

*Writing this gave rise to yet another underlaying plot idea. My imagination is now running wild with the possibilities. Head? Meet Desk.


  1. I love old cities! I live in a very new, smallish regional city: Townsville, Queensland. It's really only about 150 years old, but it has its quirks: an old quarantine station, a graveyard where they buried people who died of the plague -- in about 1912, I think! Very late for the plague! And we have a lot of WWII history here. At the beginning of the war the population of Townsville was about 30000, I think. By the end of the war, US and Australian soldiers outnumbered the civilian population 3 to 1. Urban legend has it that the US soldiers used to give out an unofficial medal, the Flinders Street Star, for any US serviceman who could walk down Flinders St without getting beaten up by Australian soldiers. Interesting times! So, while we don't have anything beautifully old, we do have a very checkered history, and we're right between the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, which are both beautiful!

  2. Quirks about my city? Let me count the ways. But possibly the biggest quirk is that it looks just like yours, Claudie (grin).

    Cheers --- Larry

  3. The only thing about my area that's really old are the mining towns up in the mountains. Most of those are dilapidated and falling down, but it's fun to go check them out sometimes. But my favorite old cities in this part of the US are Santa Fe and Taos. The old adobe buildings are beautiful.

  4. There is one section of my city that I absolutely love and that's Dundee. It is tiny and very old, though since it is near the university, most of the old houses in the neighborhood have been converted into smaller apartments. This was where my husband and I lived together for the first time while we were dating. Our apartment was in a converted mansion once owned by a railroad tycoon. Much of the mansion was long gone, but the main section of the main house remained and our apartment consisted of the lady's bedroom, her closet (which was our bedroom. It was huge and had 3 other closets in it, one of which was converted into a bathroom), a 3 season deck with windows all around and french doors leading into the apartment, and the kitchen had been a lady's sitting room cut in half. The othe rhalf was the kitchen for the next apartment over. There were only 2 apartments on our floor, and our kitchen had one wall that was round. The windows were tall enough for me to step through and once we weather proofed the windows in the sunroom we converted it into our bedroom. It was awesome.

    The basement still had original wooden cages that housed the master's dogs (now converted into storage units) and the old massive conrete wash bins that were bolted so deeply into the floor that they'll never be removed.

    Aside from that section of the city, I'm pretty unimpressed with my city's historical sections because we don't really treat our history as something to preserve. We tend to knock them down and build a CVS in its place. It's kind of sad.

  5. Sommer, that's awesome! I'd live in that any time.

    Larry: I laughed, really hard. Your city is like mine? We must live in parralel universes!

    LG: Couldn't help but think of the mining area in Zorro. I'm a bit weird like that. XD

    Jen: The walking-down-the-street anecdote is hilarious (well, it mustn't have been for them, but y'know...) I love it.

  6. I loved the pictures of your town! What a beautiful place to live. It seems like surroundings like that could really feed one's creativity.

    I don't know that my town has any little quirks, but it's close to the mountains, and I love driving up through them. When I was in Florida, my favorite thing was a place called Treaty Oak. The tree was so massive that all the limbs ran down along the ground and the whole thing had to be anchored by steel cables.

  7. As I spent 12 years in Europe, I love old cities. The Christmas scene reminded me very much of the Christmas Market in Vienna. I can still smell the aroma of roasting chestnuts.

  8. Kendal: I HAD to google it. That oak is amazing. Serious love there.

    LV: Christmas in Vienna must have been great. I remember vividly my three days in Edingher. Loved it. Old cities are awesome.