Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quebec November 2008

So the latest adventure I've had is going to Quebec City. I wasn't originally going to be on this trip; Two other folks couldn't go with Jp and so I was invited. Sometimes being the backup plan pays off. There will be an event at the end of July 09 in Old Quebec on the Plains of Abraham, and the weekend of November 8th was the planning weekend for that event.

There were all sorts of meetings planned; with the Quebec city folks, the Parks Canada people, The National Battlefield Commision, the Quebec Historical folks, and of course, reenactors from Canada and a few from the States. We also had to look over the Battlefield and then check out the intended spot for the British camp. The field layout and measurements were the primary reason I was there; Jp wanted some assistance wiith the process. As Quartermaster, He was responsible for laying out a historically based camp for the reenactors to set up, and this was our chance to check out the field it was going to be on.

We crossed the border and could tell it right away. The french word for "construction" was one of the first things we learned, followed by the universal "Detour" sign. Lucky for us I'd brought the GPS, so the detour didn't mess us up all that much. By the time we got to our hotel (you didn't think I was camping in November, did you?) it was drizzling rain which seemed fitting - it had rained at almost every event this past season. I'd been warned, Quebec is uphill - both ways and quite cool. As we did a little walking through Old Quebec along the Promenade du Governeurs it turned windy. Somehow I agreed to walk the 3/4 of a mile around the edge of the old city behind the Citadel, even though I was told there were "Lots of Stairs" but a beautiful view. Indeed, the view was spectacular and I really got an idea of just how steep and tall the cliff on the edges of the plains were...310 steps worth of climbing.

We met up with our group, which consisted of 2 more Americans and half a dozen or so Canadians. Didn't matter if we were officially meeting or just together, the whole weekend was peppered with information and sharing of ideas on the logistics behind upcoming event - in english and in french. Luckily enough, folks translated back and forth for those of us who only spoke one langage, because i knew my high school/college classes weren't going to get me all that far.It really was amazing how the conversations would switch back and forth, one sentence french, one english, and then some mixed.

The old city was fascinating, filled with beautiful old buildings and lots of folks walking. Turns out there isn't all that much parking in town, so pretty much driving was out. We did go pub hopping friday night after dinner with the whole gang. Our friend Patrick - who lives in Quebec - had a friend who owned a little place down in the old city, so we headed there. The owner was a very friendly guy from Ireland, who had been living in a primarily french speaking place for a number of years now. Even today I smile thinking about his welcome which he expressed in English, with a French accent - and a thick irish brogue. It was approaching midnight by the time Jp & I left to climb the sidewalks back to our hotel.

Saturday was filled with a meeting - breakfast as a group, then meeting with a larger group from 9ish, lunch brought in around 1, more meetings and then we finally headed out to look over the Plains of Abraham. There was a foot race of some sort occurring in the area the British camp was intended to be, and the weather wasn't very accomidating - windy, cold, and a very light but steady rain. to say the least it took some time before we had covered all the camping areas and headed back to the hotel. Had a great meal down in the old city, and the went to the hotel bar for another late night - this time however was focused less on catching up with folks and much more on brainstorming what to do about straw and other details for the event.

Sunday was another meeting around food and then out to do the actual plotting of the campground. This was much easier to accomplish without the foot race happening, although the weather hadn't improved greatly. The field looked flat - but actually was a series of irregular little rises and dips. And then of course there was landscaping to work around - little bunches of trees and bushes here there and everywhere. In bloom I'm sure it will look gorgeous, but trying to plan out straight lines of tents will be tricky. We took some time after the field work to go do a little shopping in the old city, then have one last meal before heading back to Waterbury. Was a fun and very busy weekend, but we got lots accomplished and managed to see some friends as well.

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