Archives by Tag 'Aquarium'

6 Nights in Quebec City with Mama D

By DD - Last updated: Friday, June 16, 2017

Mama D had been wanting to visit Quebec City for a long time and we had a great 6 nights staying in a private apartment in Old Quebec. I flew there with a transfer in Montreal and took a short cab ride to our apartment. After dropping my bags I walked to the train station to welcome Mama D and help her with her suitcase. She really enjoyed her business class trip while I got out of both of my flights a little nauseous even with Dramamine; It was very windy and both planes were small. I paid a little extra for the extra leg room and only had my carry-on suitcase with a handbag and a purse. I like to bring my big scarf that I use as a blanket or a pillow. I sometimes tend to bring too much clothes and things I don’t use but not checking a suitcase forced me to bring only essentials. A pair of Jeans, 2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts, a zippered sweater and a light rain jacket were all I needed. We dressed in layers as the mornings were chilly and afternoon sometimes very warm. Our packable backpacks were very handy to carry our extra layers, lunches, brochures and maps.

Our accommodation was perfect for the two of us. We rented a private apartment in old Quebec, on Saint-Paul Street, just across from the train station. We had everything we needed: each our own bedroom, an L shaped couch to lounge on, a fully equipped kitchen, a big dining table and a nice soaker tub to relax in after walking all day. As usual I cooked all our meals and we packed a lunch everyday. We had our usual favorites of cod stew and no tomato bolognes pasta and it was so comforting! For our first and last nights, we made an exception and got some Hungry Man frozen TV Dinners! It was so convenient.








We used Les Tours du Vieux Québec for many activities. The first morning, we took the Hop On Hop Off Double Decker bus getting off at the last stop; it was a great 2.5 hour ride to get our bearings. Then we had lunch at the Citadelle, toured the museum about the 22nd regiment, then went on a guided tour of the Governor General’s House.








On our second day, we went on a Country side tour. Our first stop was at Chutes Montmorency where we only had 45 minutes to take the cable car, visit the museum, buy a souvenir and walk to the bridge: almost impossible but we made it! After the Waterfall we crossed the bridge to Île d’Orléans with its beautiful historical houses and outstanding views. We stopped at the Chocolaterie de l’Île for an ice cream and continued our way to the south side of the island where the micro climate is perfect for strawberry fields. After the Island, we stopped at the Musée du cuivre where I bought a souvenir art piece with a moose for our basement. Something that made it especially interesting for me was that the founder of the place, Albert Gilles, who passed away not too long after Walt Disney, actually made some pieces for him and his brother. The piece I bought was not made by him but made using his techniques as his daughters took over the business. On our way to the Basilique Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, we stopped by Chez Marie, a French Bakery, and because locals don’t even shop there they don’t bake a lot of goods. Having worked for many years in an artisan bakery I was disappointed by their variety and by what was left as I was the last one in line. My cinnamon bun was good but tasted just like any other commercial bun. The pièce de résistance was the larger than life Basilique Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré with all the crutches of the “miraculously healed” patrons left on the front pillars. It made me wonder how many people are told by doctors that they will never walk but are so determined to walk that they eventually walk; the mind is a very powerful tool. My favorite part was to see the front doors covered in copper art done by Albert Gilles himself! At the rear right of the building was a tiny building with the inscription: Bénédictions (Blessings). Inside was an old tired looking priest, sitting and waiting for people to come with their money to get his blessings. I’d personally rather bet my money on Zoltar’s fortune granting… what, it worked in the movie!








On our third day, we visited the Musée de l’Amérique francophone. We then made our way to the Musée Place Royale by the Ramparts with the view of the St Lawrence through blooming mountain ashes and lovely fragrant lilacs. My favorite part was the diorama of the original Samuel de Champlain’s settlement of the Place Royale. All the original buildings burned down but were reconstructed, not unlike Louisbourg. We took a Museum break walking down to the port where we took the Louis Jolliet for an hour and a half boat cruise. Back at the Musée Port Royal, we dressed up for some photos we took of ourselves surrounded by a Tennessee French immersion group of teenagers and their group leader thought I was working there! She said if they needed help they could come see me, that’s what I was there for! She later came to apologize and I thought it was pretty funny. It was something to see them all dressed up, it really felt like we were back in time.








On our fourth day we took a bus to the Aquarium du Québec. We didn’t know what to expect and were surprised to see most of the exhibits to be outdoors but even the cold and little bit of rain didn’t ruin the day. We just took our time in the indoor exhibits with many breaks and lunch next to a filming production crew that we found later were filming 100% Animal, the Télé-Québec show about animals for teens. We must admit it is one of our favorite French shows. Dami was so excited when I sent him pictures of Silvi with the polar bear! It seems like there is a shooting everywhere we go recently! We do tend to travel during shoulder seasons as we try to avoid crowds and production crews probably do the same.








We spent our last day at the Musée de la civilisation and we could have used 2 days as it is a big place with many exhibits. In Le Temps des Québécois, they had an 1800 rocking chair exactly like the one we took from our Victorian rented house as a departing gift; if ours is a replica, it’s a very good one. They had all kinds of display. There was an interactive exhibit on cats and dogs, one on the brain, and another one on nano technologies. We walked back to our apartment taking the long way, along the marina.








Mama D and I just started planning a new trip and made all our reservations and bought our tickets! We’re so excited about the next trip, it is going to be awesome! Can’t wait and of course, as usual I will post it here… Have a great summer!

Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo: A Very Special Place for Us

By DD - Last updated: Thursday, December 4, 2014
The Beautiful view od Harrington Sound from the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo.

The Beautiful view of Harrington Sound from the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo.

Located in Flatts, in Smiths Parish, the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo was walking distance from our vacation rental. It is a very small place but rich in experience. Even though parts of the aquarium were closed due to damage caused by hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo, we still enjoyed ourselves and even went for a second visit.

A beautiful yellow fish at the Bermuda's Aquarium

A beautiful yellow fish at the Bermuda’s Aquarium

On our first visit, we purchased our tickets for the Friday Boat tour with the Audubon Society to go see the Bermuda Cahows, and endangered bird species making a comeback. We got to go into Joanne’s office, where she took our reservation information and then she came downstairs with us to get a second map. I told her about our own aquarium at home and our pond and creatures while standing in front of the North Rock Exhibit which consists of huge tanks with fish and creatures that inhabit North Rock off the coast of Bermuda.

A 96 year old Galapagos tortoise at the Bermdua zoo eating his lunch with appetite.

A 96 year old Galapagos tortoise at the Bermuda zoo eating his lunch with appetite.

We started our visit counter clockwise. We nearly had the place to ourselves and were enjoying the beautiful views of Harrington Sounds across the tree branches. We took our time, taking the sun in and enjoying the sound of the waves crashing and of the birds singing. We arrived early enough to see the animals eating. It was great to see the Galapagos tortoises enjoying their huge salad of whole romaine lettuce, cucumbers, celery and other vegetables and fruits. In the Islands of The Caribbean section, we were charmed by the Lion Tamarin that was so funny and cute. The Cattle egret was not shy and all over the zoo keeper who was trying to get all the animals fed.

The lemurs at the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo

The lemurs at the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo

In the Island of Madagascar section we had a private encounter with the lemurs Elmer and Penelope! Although I don’t remember which one is which? We never thought we’d ever get to walk among lemurs in our life and that was a pleasant surprise. It brought to life the IMAX movie we had seen in Victoria, BC last summer. At the gift shop, they told us the story of the lemurs and why one wears a collar: it kept bugging the fossa, the main lemur predator in Madagascar, by putting its hands through the fence and the poor lemur was discovered one morning with tendons coming out of its arm, the fossa had grabbed him and it turned ugly. The other one had a broken back for which ever reason I forgot. But the lemur with the collar could understand I had noticed his or her friend’s disability.

We were so fortunate, thanks to Eric, to see the Fossa in action for at least 40 minutes

We were so fortunate, thanks to Eric, to see the fossa in action for at least 40 minutes

We wouldn’t see the fossa on the first visit but had a real wild encounter on our second visit, when one of the college volunteers told us she would be fed at 1:00. It was 11:30 but we thought it would be worth the wait and so we went back and did another tour of the zoo, taking our time, having a snack and visiting the Natural History Museum for a second time. We went back in front of the fossa’s cage waiting for an employee or volunteer to show up but nobody came. I went out in search of somebody wondering if they were maybe late and then saw Mary, one of head volunteers and she brought us behind the scenes and introduced me to Eric who told me there was no such feeding during the day, and that the fossa was being fed the very first thing in the morning, before the zoo even opened. To make up for the volunteer who misguided us, he set out to place little bits of protein supplements around the cage. Mary said we were very fortunate to see this as this Fossa prefers living at night and not many visitors had the chance to see her. There was going to be an overbooked tour of the zoo at night that we tried to take part of with no chance, and apparently they wouldn’t even be able to see her as well as we did with their flashlights. The fossa entertained us for a good 40 minutes and then, inspired by her hunting our stomachs started to growl so it was time to go back to our cottage for a late lunch.

The Lion Tamarin in the Islands of the Caribbeans section of the Bermuda Zoo.

The Lion Tamarin in the Islands of the Caribbeans section of the Bermuda Zoo.

The boardwalk with lovely views at the Bermuda zoo.

The boardwalk with lovely views at the Bermuda zoo.