Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Sandi & I tried to squeeze a few days of vacation in on this trip, by enjoying what Quebec (the city) and surrounding area had to offer. Coffee suprisingly was not as 'advanced' as what most of us are use to, like there were no Starbucks, nor other coffee shops as we know it. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. The first place we found in Quebec was a great bakery, Pliards, offering traditional French baked goods along w/ some hearty multi-grain breads and other treats. They had a sweet 3-group La Marzocco from which to crank out coffees, although in this case, as with many others they imported a cheap 'Italian' coffee. Although Paliards espresso was fairly good and by the third morning we had the staff trained on how to make Americanos. They had these beautiful long, heavy wood tables that provided a sense of community with others who were starting the day off as well.
We tried a few restaurants while we were there, most seemed to cater to tourists, and were overpriced. The food was mediocre, but had some great outside seating. One reastuarnt stuck out, Piazza, a trendy newage cusine mixing Italian, Indian, Mexican and other ethnic dishes into orginal meals, it was very good. I had a Greek Vegitarian Pizza that was so good and Sandi had Thai Cannoli, also awesome. After most of our dinners we cruised the streets, and it was worth it since it was Quebecs National Holiday, and there was lots to see. We happened upon a rave in the town square, where a DJ was laying some great pulsing tracks, onlu if we weren't there to race... We found a great little contemporary hotel that had a sweet coffee bar lounge, where we chilled over what they called the "Monster, a massive brownie stuffed w/ coconuts, pestacios, and other great nuts and flavors, along with some espressos.
Quebec itself is doen up as it was back in the late 1700's, with a lot of original stone buildings, historical locations and museums. It was interesting to learn about the history of this area and the struggle bewtween the English and French to rule it. Also the Americans tried their hand at trying to gain control, but failed. It really felt like Europe in sections, and Sandi & I even broke out what little French we knew. Sandi had a lot more to offer, but I took my stab at ordering and small conversations.
We spent a day checking out the countryside, to include a marine conservation area, some vineyards and the 'highlands' surrounding Mount Sainte Anne. Road biking was a big hit up there, and could see that nordic skiing was also popular with the abundence of nordic trail signs and a few roller skier sightings.
I went to the managers meeting to get my feedzone pass for Sandi's race, and to get any vital information concerning her race. I ran into an old friend, Mike Kluge, from German who used to own Focus bikes. He was traveling with his girlfriend and cyclocross World Champion, Hanka Kupferknagle. I met Mike back when I was doing marketing for Fox Apparel, and I sponsored him and Ralf Berner. It was great to catch up with Mike, he is really a funny guy, and has some great stories. We also caught up with Sabine Spitz and her husband Ralf. And visited with a lot of other peole up there as well. It really is a great community, the mountain bike scene, and we had a great time up in Quebec as well. Recharged, we are glad to be back home, but look forward to seeing everyone again, someday.