Last week, we have the kids the choice of going to the aquarium or Old Québec. They chose the aquarium, so we spent several hours there playing in the splash pad and walking around.
Allen and I decided last week that we would visit Old Québec this week, and we randomly chose Wednesday morning as the time to go.
We’d been told that the older part of the city is crazy in the summer, with all the tourists. But we figured since we were going first thing in the morning, it wouldn’t be too bad.
We pulled into old Quebec at about 9:30 in the morning and one of the first things we noticed was an outstanding amount of police officers directing traffic, standing next to road closures, and patrolling every major intersection in the city. Temporary metal fences were erected on the streets and it was impossible to drive a normal speed limit because of all the pedestrian and vehicle traffic. We circled the city for 45 minutes, trying to find a parking spot to no avail.
We figured there’s just a lot of tourists in town and decided to head to the Plains of Abraham instead. But the road to get there was closed, too, and more police were patrolling.
So we decided to just leave that part of town and headed to one place we can get free air conditioning, lunch, and walk around: the mall. Right inside the mall, we saw two friends and, in catching up, explained to them about our crazy morning in Old Québec. Their response?
“Whoa! We can’t believe you went down there today, with the Pope in town! It must have been crazy!”
The Pope was in town. That explains a lot.
Sure enough, Wednesday night, we saw that the Pope entered Old Québec (riding in a Jeep!) through the same gate we drove through (three times) trying to find a place to park. He then attended a parade in his honor at the Plains of Abraham. Unbeknownst to us, we were just a few hours off in our timing to see him and hear his speech.
Alas. It was a funny situation (after the fact!) and drives home the importance of being aware of what’s going on in your country/province. It also is a big motivator for us to contact our TV provider and find out why our channels aren’t coming in. I think we’ll start watching the news here on a regular basis!