Over the past week and a half, I've had the opportunity to soak up some holiday happiness with my family in New Jersey and then with Dave in the most French of all Canadian cities...Quebec City.
I got the chance to get some time in at home, prepping the house for the arrival of my sister, her husband and their three awesome kids. Bunting was hung, a huge tree was bought, ornaments were stacked and stockings were pulled out of their bins for another go at the fireplace. My parents and I celebrated a little down time in the preparations by heading to Philadelphia to enjoy the German Christmas Village where the aromas of spiced mulled wine and baked goods filled the air. We wandered from stall to stall, taking in the sights and admiring the artistry on display as we oohed and aahed over carved wooden boxes from the Ukraine and hand-blown glass ornaments from Germany. After all the hoopla at the market, we ate a fantastic dinner at Amada Restaurant...a great tapas spot in the Old City. It was the perfect way to spend a chilly, pre-Christmas day.
The next day, the rest of the family showed up by sleigh (and by sleigh, I mean "family van") and we quickly sped off to the local mall to get one more meeting in with Kris Kringle before the big day arrived. I mean, the next day WAS Christmas Eve! The kids made their wishes known and we bid the days of preparation "adieu" as we sat down for a big family meal around the dining room table.
The next morning I awoke bright and early...I was off to the airport to meet up with Dave in Quebec! Traveling on Christmas Eve is quite lovely. The airport was festive and most travelers seemed genuinely excited to get going to their next destination. The staff and crew were all in good spirits and the short hop over the border ended uneventfully.
And, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature town with snow, and lights, and a fresh market and my husband! We quickly taxied to our apartment for the week, dropped our baggage and headed out into the cold winter air to buy goods for meals. We were told about the Marche du Vieux-Port by our apartment host and we couldn't wait to go.
It was magical...fresh breads, fruitcakes, local wines and cheeses, handicrafts and maple syrup all jostled for attention at each of the market stands. Vendors were selling local vegetables which we snapped up along with some olives, jam and crusty bread for a Christmas Eve tapas dinner. I could have spent hours in there.
Christmas Eve was quiet and lovely...we played music, hung our stockings, put up our paper Christmas tree from last year, strung up some lights and enjoyed being with one another. After dinner, we headed out into the snow to see Old Quebec. Old Quebec sits behind an old stone wall that fortified it during conflict with the British. We snuck into the Notre-Dame-de-Québec Basilica-Cathedral for an early Catholic Christmas Eve mass which was lovely and then over to the Chateau Frontenac to watch the ice float by on a dark Saint Lawrence River.
We've been here a week now and let me just say one word...magical. I can't even begin to describe this city's beauty and I know I've only seen a bit of it.
Happy New Year to you all!