clear, blue skies, windy, bitter cold - temps minus 25
Went out for breakfast this morning - stepped outside (wearing long underwear!) and the sidewalk had disappeared. the homes are built right to the narrow sidewalks, and overnight there was enough snow and wind that the sidewalks have become unpassable. We had to walk in the streets.
On rue St Jean - one block up there are bistro's, cafes, bookstores, clothing stores. Fabulous. But again, we had to walk on the road not because the sidewalks had disappeared under snow but because snow was being shoveled off the metal roofs - onto the sidewalks. We looked up and tied to ropes were men, hacking away at the ice and snow...and every now and then we heard a great, muffled thud as it came down.
God this city is splendid.
We chose not a great place for breakfast - but we wandered a bit after and found a wonderful bakery that also serves breakfasts, so we thought we'd go there in future for a simple cafe and croissant.
Now we're home - I'm still pretty tired, and it's so cold, that we've decided to light the fireplace, have a shower, get into PJ's and curl up on the sofa reading all day. Tomorrow we hope to find the big outdoor skating rink, a bigger grocery store - but mostly we want to walk over to the Plains of Abraham - or Champs-de-Bataille (battlefield) - where the English defeated the French in 1759. It has never been forgiven or forgotten. A strange, haunting place. The English scaled the cliffs from the St Lawrence river (a tactic the French never expected) and they fought a terrible, bloody battle...both generals dying in the process.
It has remained more or less unchanged ever since...though many years ago permission was granted for the lovely Musee des Beaux Arts du Quebec to the built there.
I can see Gamache and his Shepherd, Henri (who will be with him on this visit) walking the quiet, snowy paths through the battleground.