Quebec City revisited…
We were so glad we went back to Quebec City! We’d liked the apartment we stayed in last time, but although we stayed in the same building, we had more choice of actual place. And this one turned out to be magical! In spite of only being there less than 24 hours, we also managed to discover a number of hidden gems that we’d missed last time around.
After crossing the St Lawrence River and following it again, this time on the opposite side, we drove directly to the parking station that we knew was near our accommodation. As it was too early to check in, we took a stroll along the waterfront, and stopped to watch the people at the riverside poolbar.
Fortunately we didn’t need much for the night, so could leave most of our suitcases in the car. All except a mountain of washing as we knew this would be our last chance to do laundry before leaving Canada the following week. A couple of loads of later, during which time we’d been watching an emergency event unfolding and blocking the road outside our building, we ventured out for the evening. Dinner was at Chez Victor, the best burger joint in the city with dessert of cannoli at an Italian style bar in Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec) – some old haunts. Then we just enjoyed walking around the picturesque streets of the old town and the port area which by now were feeling like home.
The following morning we were up early, and after another load of laundry was done, we enjoyed another walk up to the old town. Amongst other things, we discovered a dancing fountain, a few sculptures and were fascinated by a large clock. This monumental clock, the only one of its kind, is a gift from Switzerland and the Canton of Jura for Québec City’s 400th anniversary. The clock, which is impressively large yet more accurate than a quartz watch, is a true masterpiece of the clockmaker’s art. Although its components are 300 to 400 times larger than those of a watch, the mechanism’s finish meets the most stringent requirements of the craft.
It took more than 6 years of work and expertise from some hundred specialists in 28 trades to design and manufacture the clock. Its parts are crafted from premium materials such as titanium, ruby and sapphire. The day weight, the clock’s main motor, takes 24 hours to descend and starts rising again at 12:59 a.m. The endless chain — the visible part of the remontoire (from the French remonter, meaning ‘to wind’) — is a sophisticated mechanism that helps ensure the pendulum swings correctly. The pendulum, weighs nearly 20 kg and its rod is made of Invar, a highly resistant alloy. Lastly, an ingenious electromagnetic system helps ensure the perpetual calendar’s operation by accounting for leap years. Just amazing – we spent ages watching it.
After being absorbed observing the clock, we meandered up to the upmost part of the town and enjoyed the views of the St Lawrence River from there. Eventually we had to go back to the apartment, pack and head to the car to continue our journey to Montreal.