Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Visiting a Foreign Country May Not Be That Far

Our American family just came back from a couple of weeks visiting our neighboring country to the north…Canada. What an exciting and educational time we had! My husband and I had been to Niagara Falls before, but it was new to the children. We also went further up and further in, all the way to Quebec City.

Despite what we arrogant Americans think (yep, that’s our reputation J), Canada has a different government, different money, and even a different language from the United States (in some parts). Oui, Francais!

Our first bit of fun was crossing the border. We were hoping to get a stamp in our passports, but apparently you have to fly in to get a stamp.

Niagara Falls is best seen from the Canadian side. We learned about the amount of water rushing over the falls (34 million gallons per minute, world’s largest in volume) and how much it has receded over the years. We also studied the geography of the Great Lakes and the rivers that connect them.

I was motioning to the child taking the photo to get more background, and she snapped the picture.

The boat takes visitors as close to the falls as is safe.

Daffodils and tulips were still blooming.
On the boat, but it was too misty up close to get the camera out.

From there, we motored on to Montreal. Everything was in French as soon as we crossed into the province of Quebec. Très excitant!

While there, we walked almost all twenty-one miles of the underground mall and passages and visited the zoo-like Biodome that is now in one of the buildings from the 1976 Olympics. On Sunday, we attended a Catholic Mass at Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal (the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal). Il était tout en français! The music was incredible, but I only caught a few words in the service since my French is twenty-five years old.

Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
Gorgeous on the outside as well!

A tiny portion of the Underground.
Quebec City was our last, and longest, stop. C’etait tres belle! There is so much history there, in the only walled city in North America. Did you know that in 1775, before his treason, Benedict Arnold tried to take Quebec City for the colonies? The streets in Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec) are quaint and inviting, and the people were charming and welcoming. We were greeted repeatedly with a lilting bonjour!

The Gate of Saint Jean.

As it turned out, we were there on Victoria Day and saw a 21-gun salute to the Queen.

Vieux Quebec.
Cafe et biscuit aux troix chocolats.

A son flipped out at the idea of raisin-flavored Gatorade...until we realized he was reading the French side.
It's grape-flavored.

We don't have any place like this back home!

I wondered how often Canadians see large families. Granted, we were there during public school time. And we’re used to people staring. But this was more than typical. People took our photo without our permission and talked about us in French. They didn’t realize that I know what six enfants means! J We spoke with a Chinese family who had only been allowed to have their one child, and the longing on their faces made me tear up. Our prayer throughout the trip was that we might be a witness to those around us.

In the end, Niagara Falls was only an eight-hour drive for us, and our trip back from Quebec City was about fourteen hours. See? Not that far after all. J

What foreign countries have you visited? What were your favorite parts?

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  1. You visited my home province and country!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I was born in Ontario (just a couple of hours from Niagara Falls), and our family now lived in Mexico. Your story of being stared at in Quebec made me laugh. Three years ago, while visiting family in Canada, we drove through beautiful Quebec and spent a few days in New Brunswick. We stopped at a Costco in Montreal, and we were Stared At! We had six at time, and I was expecting #7. We heard, "un, deux, trois, cuatre, cinc, six..." multiple times. The average number of children born to people in Quebec is just slightly more than one, I believe, so multiple children isore of an oddity there.
    The foreign countries I have visited is the beautiful US of A, Chile (SA), Panama (Central America), and Mexico. My husband has also been in Russia and El Salvador. We loved each place, and are so thankful for the diversity and beauty on the earth and in the people God created.
    Loved all your pictures - thanks for posting!

  2. Aww. So glad you had a wonderful time. That boat ride ... as close to the falls as is safe ... I don't know about that. :) Oh, it's beautiful. Thank you for sharing pics. I've never been there. I've been over the border into Canada but only a few miles in. Never to the falls. Lovely.

  3. What a beautiful place! I've been to Canada, but only Edmonton, Alberta. And Mexico and China. China is just amazing, and I can't wait to get a chance to take my girls back to visit someday. There are so many interesting places in our big world that I would love to see.

  4. Sounds like you'll had a wonderful trip. Lots of memories and educational info.

    I have only been to Cloverdale, Canada. Not that far away from the USA.

    Charlotte Moore


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