First things first. In Québec City I made the decision to come back to Germany a bit earlier than planned – in the end of May. One month to go.
Wow, that’s really early and it feels weird to write it down.
I realized my increasing inner unrest to figure out a couple of things back home. And my motivation to put energy into work. And I don’t want to travel to another beautiful country just to be distracted by my thoughts and not being able to be fully present there.
This has been a tough decision and I struggled with myself for a long couple of days. Suddenly it doesn’t feel like I have been away for nearly 8 months now. It feels like yesterday that I sat in my room, close to an emotional breakdown, the night before my flight and only Marie and her bottle of red wine there to rescue me and to get my stuff in my backpack.
On the good side coming back gives me the chance to sort things out, get back to work on hopefully some good freelance projects – which I really miss – and then go traveling when it feels right again.
As soon as I made this decision I felt relieved and I enjoyed Québec a lot more again which was so much more French than Montréal.
People around me were again eager to share stories and questions with me, mostly in English after an experimental start in French, and some of them I remember immediately as I write these lines.
From the gym trainer who even got me a discounted day pass after he told me ore about the history of Quebec: “Look at the small houses from the very very poor people down by the river where and how the houses grow bigger and bigger you walk up the hill to the old fortress. And now these old houses from the poorest of all back then are the most expensive to buy here. Isn’t that wonderful historical irony?”
From Florian, the guy from my hometown Frankfurt who I met at the kitchen table and with whom I didn’t speak one German word: “Do you regret any place that you went to? Or do you sometimes compare ‘oh this is not as nice as the place before?’ I wonder if people who travel a lot happen to do this, consciously or unconsciously.” What an interesting question.
From Roberto, my Filipino hostel host: “I came to Canada because of my passion for fishing. You think about future right now that you sit here. About uncertainties. I just think about fishing. And how happy I am to go fishing soon. That’s why I’m working in the hostel. I work long days and I can go fishing anytime I want to.” – “Do you keep the fish and eat it?” I asked. “No, because it’s passion. You don’t listen. If I think about keeping and eating them then it’s not passion anymore. I don’t need the fish for food. I have enough food. It’s for enjoying the time.”
I love to learn from people. I love to listen to stories. I’m not such a good reader especially when it comes to reading about the historic background of a town or a place. But I love to listen to someone telling me about their place. And even if it’s not 100% correct it’s so much more enjoyable.
Here are some beautifully painted concrete highway pillars I walked passed that have on each side the outside and inside of a scene.
Meeting therefore with Annika from Vancouver again for good food and continuing talks about travel and the design of beautiful things was a perfect and cheerful time out. I had met her in the hostel in Montréal and we had one of these unplanned energetic evening talks as soon as we had figured out that we both are interested in design, her being an industrial designer and me more the self-taught fan of beautiful things. It’s wonderful how many creative people I meet on these roads. And it’s always perfect to share a meal while doing this.
These fish tacos I had in Le Bureau de Poste – a quite cheap but delicious place – on that evening as they reminded me immediately of my good times in Los Angeles – yes, the veggie burger and fries were of course also mine. And a weird candy cocktail plus beer that Annika had which made me and her friend laugh every time she tried to sip on the straw without poking her eye with the Corona bottle. A night walk through the rainy lower and upper city across all the hidden staircases is highly recommended to digest afterwards.
After two days with almost just rain my last day in Quebec gave me some sunshine, street music and French feeling. Like the guy in the gym said “you might feel like being in Europe.” And yes, today felt a bit like being back home when I wandered through Old Québec in the upper and lower city. I know I have no right to complain about winter as I had roughly a month of it in Canada that you can count as one. But the feeling of spring that hit Quebec City, the birds starting to sing, this very special vibe in the air – that just felt so amazing. And what have been there outside staircases in Montréal seem to be the different kinds of colorful doors in Québec.
Wherever I looked I found something playful. The crocheted beanie on the street lamps, the painted pillars or the colorful doors. I wasn’t therefore too surprised to find markings on the pathway to one of the museums which encouraged me to stop walking and jump along the ways to not touch the fake cracks til you reach the safe main street again. And who can resist this?
Taking time for myself to learn and to develop my sketching skills on a rainy evening in the public library of Québec City or scribble digital icons for my resume in a nice coffee shop is one travel lesson I want to take home from this trip. Before I left for Halifax I sat down in the Deux22 and had a fine burrito and pisco sour to my scribbling me-time before it was again time to spend 24 hours on a night train.
I have to say reaching Halifax is definitely an exciting thought right now when I look at the big country I have already crossed by more than 3/4.
Off to Halifax to finish the coast to coast trip!
PS: And here are two coffee and two brewery recommendations – in case you have wondered already.
- Café Pékoe
- Café Saint-Henri
- Le Projet – try the cidre taster flight if you don’t fancy beer tonight. Pretty good!
- Noctem Artisans Brasseurs – I confess, the cat logo lured me in…