Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Quebec City and Saguenay

The Eurodam is the largest cruise ship I have been on so far, with 2100 passengers.  I have decided that I prefer the smaller ships, at least those with 1800 or less.  Why? One word.  Lines.  Lines to get into the dining room for breakfast and dinner.  Does not matter what time it is.  Lines.  I am most annoyed.

Also, for being a scant five years old, the Eurodam shows signs of wear and tear, at least in my cabin.  Perhaps there were just past passengers in my cabin who rode her rough, but there are some stains and nicks and tears here and there. It doesn't bother me, because they are minor, I just noticed it, that's all. The cabin is nicely appointed, everything is clean, the balcony divine, albeit cold (well, it's Canada in October, after all), so nothing to complain about there.

I settled in the first night on board after arriving about ten PM, and had a good night's sleep until the ice machine room door across the hall was flung open by a cabin steward at 6:15 the next morning. Hmmmm. Should I complain? Nahhhh.  Maybe it was just a one time deal. (sadly, it was not)

My plan for the day was to walk across the pier into old Quebec City and visit the area, wander around.  It's a lovely old city with some architectural delights, and a bunch of historical points.  Here in the province of Quebec, French is the main language, although if you smile and are polite, the shopkeepers and other townsfolk will speak English to you.  It always helps to say a few words in French, out of respect....bonjour, merci, au revoir.  That's about the extent of my French, but it is enough to be treated nicely.  Natives always appreciate it when you at least try to say something in their language.

I visited the famous Chateau Frontenac, an imposing hotel sitting atop the old city, above the remnants of this old fortress's walls.  I think it's a UNESCO site now, this hotel.  It's pretty, for sure.

I wandered around the cobblestone streets for a couple of hours, and walked up and down steep hills, so I figured I got my cardio in for the day.  I returned to the terminal area at the ship and was able to Skype with Sam and Ori for a little bit, before they called all aboard.

Yesterday, we arrived in Saguenay, in "haha" Bay.  I don't know if haha is spelled this way or not, but this is my phonetic approach.  It means "dead end" in old French, according to our tour guide.  I joined a tour that took us out to the fjord, which is the big attraction here.  However, the day was foggy and drizzly, so guess what?  No view of the fjord.

Saguenay is an old settlement town of about 150,000 people.  Their main industries are aluminum processing and logging/paper mills.  Running a close third is dairy agriculture, specifically cheese.  Ninety percent of their cheese is exported to Britain, and they make a "royal" cheese that the Queen herself is most fond of.  Who knew.

I learned that to make one ton of aluminum, you need three tons of boxite.  I don't know what boxite is, but you need a shit load of it for aluminum. Made me think about Walter White.  I could have used his chemistry knowledge yesterday.... Anyway, Saguenay is the world's largest producer of aluminum, another tidbit I did not know.  But interestingly,myoud think that if you were the world's largest producer, and if you need a lot of boxite to make the aluminum,mthat you'd have ready local access to boxite, right?  Nope a doodle.  They IMPORT their boxite from Brazil, South Africa and Jamaica!  Don't you think it would make more sense to produce aluminum in those countries? Sigh.

So that's my story of Saguenay.  Tomorrow we visit Baie Comeau.  I am going to visit the Manic 2 gravity dam. It's supposed to be pretty spectacular.


  1. Doors being flung open? You should feel right at home:)

  2. Sounds likme you are learning a lot!

    We will have to make sure no ice machines near us next year!