Wall Walk V

Lars and David
atop City Walls
QUÉBEC, Canada
April 28, 2013

I'm still scratching my head trying to figure how it took me this long--over a year living here!--to get myself up on top of and walk the length of the walls surrounding Québec City. Even more ironic: it was happenstance that brought me up there. I wouldn't have gone up there today if I hadn't been showing visitors around town.

If a city still has its ancient fortifications standing I am far, far more excited to explore it than if that same city grew up sprawled-out, open, and exposed. I am certain to walk a circuit (or however far possible) atop the old fortifications of any city I visit that has preserved its walls. In recent years those sites have included Khiva, Xi'an, and Diyarbakir. I can't articulate precisely what it is about trekking around above original foundations I find so appealing. Is it enough to say that I just think that bopping around atop ancient walls is super-cool?

Today, it was up on top of the walls of my present hometown--Québec City--I finally climbed and hiked along together with a friend visiting from Denmark: Lars.

Lars and Lykke in Place Royale
Lars and Lykke--their names now inseparable to me--are a dear Danish couple I've known for decades. Our connection began when Lykke and I first met on a riverboat making a several-day journey across southern China nearly twenty years ago. On that trip we coincidentally wound up following similar onward itineraries. After our initial meeting we both made our way out of China a couple months later on the train from Beijing to Moscow. After crossing Russsia--and several states in-between--we spent more time together in Denmark and have remained fast friends over the many years ever since.

I myself am a bit baffled by how we're not only so similarly traveled in scope but by how we've managed to consistently synchronize connections year upon year across so many countries and continents. At the moment they're starting their North American holiday by visiting me here in Québec City. But before this visit it was in Berlin where we last met. Before Berlin, Dresden, Copenhagen, Paris, New York, Vancouver, Seattle--all separate trips over separate years we've managed to re-connect. The couple must be among my dearest friends.

Lars and Lykke at
Chutes Montmorency
This time, I've played tour guide to familiarize them as I can with my favorite places around Québec City and the surrounding area. They loved the old city which, well-touristed of not, has charms difficult for any visitor to resist. I took them around the lower town and other neighborhoods and places I'm fond of beyond the walls: the Barberie, Café Babylone. Even without my direction they based themselves in a good location, staying in a hotel on Avenue Cartier. That's a strip I've recently come begun visiting more and more often.

I knew that both Lars and Lykke were additionally fond of nature but hadn't realized how well-received my proposal would be to take a picnic together at the massive waterfall just outside Québec City's suburbs. That turned out to be a fine day of Frisbee, sandwiches, and re-connecting with where we've all arrived in life since last meeting up nearly one year ago. But I think even more so for my European guests, they were taken by the waterfall, itself. They told me that there is only one waterfall in all Denmark which is far out on some remote island. Is that really possible? Whether something was lost in translation they were clearly impressed by Chute Montmorency.

Lars and Annie Outside
Gare du Palais
One of the best things about reconnecting with dear old friends: being able to introduce them to dear new friends. These first three days of their North American tour have been spent in large part around town over drinks, dinner, and dice together with Annie. I've found it doesn't matter whether all the other players are several years older than I am or if they're are all elementary-school students. Masking dice under cups, bidding, and sizing up the competition is tremendous fun.

Québec City Walls
Our latest rendezvous had just ended. After these past three days renewing our friendship Lars and Lykke have just boarded a train at Québec City's cozy station: VIA 27 bound for Montreal.

I'm not sad. We're contemplating meeting up again just a couple weeks from now after they've made a massive U-turn rounding Niagara Falls to arrive in Boston. Even if we don't manage that connection out of Nouvelle France and down in New England... I know that we'll all see each other again somewhere interesting, soon.

Thanks for dropping by, Lars and Lykke! I'm not sure where we'll next meet, but I'm sure it won't be long.

Bonus: Lars is maintaining a travelogue of the couple's current visit to Canada and the U.S.. (Danish only.)