Quebec City

Stepping out of our hotel and through the old city gates, we could hear the church bells pealing. Their festive call welcomed us into the grey stone cathedral which was built in 1804. We entered the sanctuary which was filled with the warmth of the choir rehearsing the day’s music. The formality of the golden arches, the dark wood, and the stained-glass windows was tenderly offset by the golden retriever who rested comfortably among the choir. As elegant and beautiful as the building was, the church felt a bit like home.

Honestly, Fred and I both said how much we enjoyed attending “high church” that day. We appreciated that the processional cross was carried by a crucifer, the eucharistic prayer was sung by the bishop, and the communion elements were served at the altar rail. But church wasn’t so formal as to be uncomfortable.  Parts of the service felt familial and quaint. We loved that the offering, for instance, was collected by two children, guided by two elders, and that a toddler played quietly in a pray-ground during worship, supervised by an adult.  We were greeted warmly during church and after by both laity and clergy. We were even invited to stay for their luncheon after church, with the added assurance that the egg salad sandwiches would be delicious. It was a nice touch, and while we declined the invitation, we felt like we were truly welcome.

Our trip to Quebec City included more than church, of course! We began our Canadian adventure at Montmorency Falls, which every travel blog boasts being 30 meters taller than Niagara Falls. We rode the gondola to the top of the cliff’s edge, then hiked to the suspension bridge which takes you over the falls. This sabbatical thing must be treating me well because I only panicked a little bit on that bridge! But unlike Fred who was reaching over the cables to get the best photos, I refused to stop (and probably didn’t smile) until I made it safely onto solid ground again.

After the falls, we headed into the city where we explored everything by foot. We wandered the streets of the Petit-Champlain district and ate crepes at Le Casse-Crêpe Breton. We scaled the endless stairs to see the Citadel and gawked at the beauty of the Parliament chamber. We enjoyed the street performers and sidled into the Chateau Frontenac to catch a glimpse of the famous castle’s interior.

Mostly, though, we laughed and talked, held hands, and ate too much food. It was a delicious trip, and I don’t just mean the food! Being together nourished our hearts and filled our spirits. And just like worship at the Anglican Cathedral, Fred and I cherished some of the ancient rituals that make us special while still exploring some playful new ways to be together. What a gift!