Friday, May 29, 2009

Trip to Canada: Day 3 - Quebec City

Quebec City's parallels with Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, are endless. Both cities are located fairly northward: while Reykjavik is the world's most northern capital, Quebec City is one of Canada's most northern provincial capitals. The populations of both cities are nearly identical: only 170,000. Likewise, their size is similar, too: despite the small population, both are fairly spread out, with hilly parts interspersed with flat ones. The only big difference aside from language is the fact that Quebec City is enclosed by a wall. In fact, it is the only walled city in North America north of Mexico City.

It does, in all aspects, provide for a laid-back and relaxing atmosphere.

To walk its hilly streets and see street entertainers in full swing is one of its big moments. To sit in an outdoor cafe provides for a similar experience, as does visiting the narrowest streets in North America.

The smell of Europe in the air is even more undeniable than in Montreal, which, in just a few areas, still has a whiff of the U.S.A. in the air. The funicular cable car and Upper and Lower Cities provide a stark contrast to the city, but a contrast that tends to make it even more memorable and affable--and also one that makes it appear even larger.

Indeed, at times it is hard to fathom that Quebec's population is less than one-fifth of a million people.

That, of course, doesn't mean it is any less interesting than Montreal or Toronto. It is, though, a completely different story, which is perhaps another reason why this city felt so refreshing after discovering it.

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