Monday, June 20, 2011

Yesterday, out walking

Half sun-half cloud day, we decided to take a walk
down by the waterfront. 

I had seen this sign outside the library downtown Friday night.  Which is why we went yesterday - to check out the Festival de Contes et Légendes Traditionnel, a 3-day event celebrating the tradition of oral storytelling. [Those panels in the distance behind are part of an outdoor art exhibit in front of the library, titled "Code 7".]

This painting was on one of the panels,
by Québec artist Fontaine Leriche

In the lobby of the entrance to the library, 
suspended from the ceiling by near-invisible wires,
dozens of dancing stones 
[click to enlarge]

A short walk down Boulevard de Forges 
and you're at the Parc Portuaire.
Come on in, he says.

Making a carpet, the old-fashioned way, by hand.

Along the side (not in the picture), a row of animal skins
amid authentic artifacts from periods long past.
Sunglasses a modern addition to the costume.

How to hang a skin

Baking bread in an ancient (by today's standards) oven
What's a festival without cookies!

"I recommend these."

No, this is not a mini guillotine.
It's a kind of public stockade. This gentleman opted to try it out.

As did this one, except I saw his wife walking away, laughing.
You can't, of course, get out of this thing by yourself.
I think she came back.  But not right away.  :)

His little rug finished, he's now sculpting an axe handle.

Charlatans, vagabonds, and sinners alike,
a place just for them.

This transported portable 'confessional' (minus the priest) was next to a coffin being tended by this fellow, who said his name was "Baptist" (followed by four other family names I can no longer remember).  I asked him to pose inside the box, if he would be so kind, and he responded with an actor's flair, promptly kneeling, staff in hand (it was actually a broom), exhibiting an air of feigned remorse (and not a little pretended fright -- at what penance the invisible priest might dole out).  But these confession boxes are hardly a relic of the past.  They still exist.

A storyteller, spinning a tale.

She brought her drum to accompany her stories.

Going back out the way we'd come in,
exiting the entrance.
(like 'up-the-down-staircase' people.  :)

At the far end of the dock

 Dinner-cruisers on the St. Lawrence

On the way back to the car we spotted a new (to us) restaurant (formerly a church) called Le Sachristain.  It was closed. We stopped to have a peak at the menu.  They have a combo soup/salad/sandwich called "The Trinity."   Very reasonable prices.  They even share their recipes (on their blog, such as for Spanish tortilla tapas and the "perfect" rhubarb pie. Inside was a cosey dining room, a book-filled bookcase to the side by the window.  Have made a mental note to return, when it's open.
Near the big central post office, where we parked --
this statue.  I snapped the picture before I realized there's
something stuck to the soldier's gun.

I didn't have my glasses at the time, so couldn't read the sign but noted the FTQ in the upper left-hand corner (Fédération des travailleurs du Québec, representing the workers' union.  Canada Post is in lockdown after a series of strikes by postal workers.  We passed a mailbox on our way back; it was bolted shut.  Who knows when mail delivery will resume.

Heading home . . .
another statue

I don't know why but when I passed this alleyway, it drew my attention.  It wasn't the building, it was the 'scene':  that brilliant patch of sky juxtaposed between the the wall of windows looking down on a rather drab, concrete passageway.  Apart from the dancing stones at the library, I like this photo best.

Anyway, that was our Sunday afternoon at the port.  If you want to experience an aerial passover of the port (to the music of Bach), check out the video below.

(And this (below) is what it's like in the winter:  Mentally hang-glide along (without wind or frostbite!) as you 'fly over' looking down:

In winter you can go ice skating there [see the skate path, at 2:03], as the long walkway is frozen smooth, traffic-free, prepared specifically for that very purpose.  Even at the coldest, bleakest part of the year,  people regularly go and walk here, or sit on a bench and watch the ships come and go, the ice floes floating by, the skaters skating. 
It's a wonderful place, just you and the seagulls, the fresh air, the river.  I don't know, there's something about big rivers, and silence, and the 'air' of the north . . .  The way some people go on and on about hot sunny beaches or climbing to the top of a mountain or taking the highway on their motorcycle--we all have our favorite things.  This place, in the quiet early morning hours especially, is one of mine.

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