So here I am traveling for work again. This time I’m dividing my time between Quebec City and Montreal. Arriving in Quebec on Friday morning, I was amazed how much snow was still on the ground. (When I left Ottawa, there was practically none left.) But the snow was a good thing, because we were there to see the dog sled races in Wendake, and the Crashed Ice (what a stupid name) competition in Old Quebec. I enjoyed the dog sled races more.
As I write, I’m sitting on the train in Quebec, waiting to leave for Montreal and taking advantage of the free wifi. Is there any mode of transportation more civilized than the train? I can’t think of one (and no, VIA isn’t paying me to say that). The train is the only mode of transportation for which I have never had to take Gravol. (I suffer from what I’d call above-average motion sickness.)
I’m looking forward to spending some time in Montreal. I haven’t been in years – which is ridiculous when you consider I live about 200 km away. Also, we were staying in a hotel on the northern outskirts of Quebec, which made it very time consuming and expensive to get downtown. It was getting a little boring out there in the sticks. The big city will do me some good.
It will be difficult to keep this post within the theme of the blog, since I brought no knitting with me on this trip, have seen no films, and have had no meals worth noting. I didn’t bring the book I’m reading – Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fischer – because it’s enormous. It’s a great book, though, particularly if you’re interested in the early settlement of Canada. The book is great in that it also talks about what was going on in France as Champlain was growing up, which helps contextualize his own efforts to establish a New France.
The book I did bring is one of my favourite books off all time: Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. I think this will be my third reading. The other two books in the Deptford trilogy are less interesting (especially the second, which I didn’t enjoy much at all) but this first book stands very well on its own. I don’t know much about Robertson Davies, but I know he was born and raised in Thamesville, Ontario, just up the road from where I grew up. I recognize his descriptions of small town life in southern Ontario, and I love the colourful characters he lovingly creates.
So that’s my spiel for today: Crashed Ice is a silly sport with a silly name, I love the train, and you should read Champlain’s Dream if you love history, and Fifth Business if you love reading. Cheers!