For 6 days, I spent the last week of my summer in the small but quaint Quebec City. Unlike many other tourist cities such as New York or Montreal, Quebec and its people have distinct characteristics, such as charisma, a trait uncommon to other bustling towns infiltrated with hordes of sightseers. Therefore, here are some of my first impressions during the first 48 hours of my trip
1. They love their desserts, especially ice cream.
Around every corner, especially on Rue de Saint Jean, ice cream stores line the cobblestones. From flavors such as Sorbet Gelato to Soda Fraise, these cafes are perfect for a mid-day snack after walking around in the sweltering sun. Yum!
2. Quebecois are exceptionally friendly.
The saying holds true! While greeting you with "Bonjour!" and a smile on their face, waiters and store owners are happy to help you have the most pleasant experience. No matter how many questions you ask as you try to struggle through the all-French menu, they'll be just as patient.
3. French is such an elegant language.
The Quebecois are famous for their French dialect, and for sure, their soft dialects and manner can lull you to sleep in no time. Perhaps the French is what makes everyone seem so friendly…..
4. The waiters are quite shy.
Maybe they're intimidated by the heavy French accents that mask their English, but honestly though, I was more frightened by my lack of French skills in the first place!
5. Quebec City is basically a mini European village.
The architecture is amazing. Finaminale! That's all there is to say.
6. Their pasta is better than that of the Italians.
In addition to their ice cream shops, pasta is a popularity around Quebec. Rue de Sainte Anne is where all the goodness is, and once you step foot into that pasta parlor, there's no turning back. Trust me, the squeeze is worth it.
7. Clean air is a gift to all.
Well, with the ridiculously expensive gasoline prices, about $5 per gallon, Canada is well on its way to restoring the environment by encouraging biking and using mass transportation. I thank you, Quebec, for your efforts.
8. They love the welfare of their people.
Within Quebec city, homeless people are a rarity, unlike many other metropolises. The public housing is a title for those who need it, and the free health care is a right for all. In addition, cleanliness is prevalent on all streets, and you wouldn't find a single stray pile of stinking trash in a dark alleyway.
9. Maple syrup is only a tourist delicacy.
While Canadians are renowned maple syrup lovers, the tourists are the one consuming most of the maple leaf-shaped candies and ice cream flavoring. The souvenir shops are stocked full of beautiful bronze jars of sweetness, but the regular stores gather shelves of dusty maple bottles.
10. Flies are the only monsters here.
While the town has a high standard of living, flies are the only signs of unsanitary practices. Especially in the cold ice cream shops, black insects buzz to and fro, landing on your backpacks and water bottles, yet the Quebecois never seem to be bothered. Perhaps they're insect friendly too?
11. Where are all the elders?
From the Petit Champlain to the Parliament building, elders are a rare sight. Mostly retired, blond men and women around 60 or older peruse the cobblestone streets. Not to mention, many of them are overly tan and starting to grow a slight pot belly from the wonderful food.
12. Everything is overpriced
True, canadian dollars are worth less than US dollars, so things are bound to be more expensive, but $33 for a bowl of Primavera Veal and Spaghetti? That's quite a stretch.
10. There's no need to go grocery shopping when you can eat out every day!
During my whole trip, I only saw one grocery store for Quebec residents, and even that was nothing compared to the Hmarts or Krogers back in the US.
14. They love their plaid
Plaid shirts and patterns seem to be the go to as everything seems to be from the latest Abercrombie and Fitch fall collection. By late winter, you'll probably see lumberjacks shoveling away mounds of snow.
15. Quebec city is surprisingly multicultural.
According to all the history books, the French have stuck their noses up in pride. While I was nervous about traveling to a mostly-French speaking town, the Quebecois have be so accommodating, and even the tourists there range from Korean, Chinese, Indian, Russian, Swedish, etc. The list never ends!
16. Quebecois are not great photographers.
On the many occasions I was stopped on the street or in a restaurant as the Canadians offered to take a picture, most of them turned out a weirdly cropped and blurry, but hey, at least they were nice enough to help!
17. Canada is a greatly colorful country.
From the window sills that from mustard yellow to teal blue, the various flags, plants, and signs that line the streets make even the oldest areas aesthetic.