Chapter 27 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part VII

First Impressions

Picturesque Quebec City – May 1965

Now we were at liberty to visit Quebec City. Adolf, who as Canadian citizen did not have to go through the immigration procedure, joined us to explore the only walled city in all of North America. We took a taxi to the city centre. We traveled past wooden houses painted in bright, sometimes garish-looking colors offering a bewildering sight for the new immigrants from the Old Country. When my sister and I noticed the ugly power poles often leaning at a precarious angle in the back alleys with wires seemingly helter-skelter stretching out in all directions, we broke out in irreverent fits of laughter. Adolf was quite annoyed, as we had touched a sensitive nerve. After all it was his home country that we were insulting with our disrespectful conduct.

City Hall Quebec City

We got out of the taxi at the statue of Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer, founder and first governor of Quebec. There Adolf and I decided to separate from Erika and her companion Beate, as they were more interested in shopping. We two brothers, however, wanted to have a good look at the ramparts and fortifications of this historically rich city. So we took a tour of the classical 17th century defense systems with its mighty walls, which unfortunately in the end did not prevent the British redcoats from taking over all the French colonial possessions in North America.

Samuel Champlain – French Explorer and First Governor of Quebec

When hunger pangs reminded us that it was time to have lunch, we dropped in at one of the many restaurants catering to the tourists that were flocking to Quebec City by the tens of thousands every year. We ordered steaks, large enough to fill out the entire plate and at $2.00 a bargain even at the then current dismal German Canadian currency exchange rate of four marks to one dollar. I had trouble communicating with the waiter with my Parisian school French. So I could not figure out, why they could not serve us any beer, which would have complemented nicely the fabulous meat dish. To quench our thirst, it felt odd that we had to move on in search of a beer parlor. To call it a pub would have definitely been a misnomer. The place was filled with dense cigarette smoke wafting above oversized round tables, the jabbering of hundreds of people echoing from the bare walls gave more the impression of a large waiting hall at a German railroad station than that of a cozy inn, like the one where Biene and I had spent a romantic afternoon on Mount Vogelsberg. These beer parlors had been built based on the mistaken belief that their grotesque ugliness would deter people from gathering and drinking beer. Great was my amazement to watch the clients order half a dozen glasses of beer all at once, not caring about their drink getting stale. Some even sprinkled salt on their brew or ate heavily salted peanuts to increase their thirst for more. Adolf was quite used to this custom, which seemed to me a relic of the past. It was a bit of a culture shock to me and I was happy when we returned to the Ryndam, where we enjoyed the sumptuous farewell dinner that the cooks had prepared for us, truly a culinary experience par excellence.

Cannons and Fortifications – My Brother Adolf on the Left

There were many last times on this floating hotel and entertainment centre that had safely carried us across the Atlantic, the last dinner with our table companions, the last game of chess with a Yugoslav doctor, the last card game of Mau Mau, the last visit to the bar, the last time I climbed up to my upper bunk, a last glance from above on Biene’s portrait on the cabin’s tiny desk, the last time the little room bell tinkled and called us for the last breakfast on board of the Ryndam. My heart filled with a sense of nostalgia and bittersweet feelings of regret. I had to leave this wonderful ship with her dedicated staff behind. I felt sad that I had not been able to share all these memorable experiences of the eight days on board with Biene.

 

Autobiography Book Canada Photography The P. and G. Klopp Story Writing

20 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Lieber Peter!
    Ich konnte beim Lesen deines Berichtes so gut nachempfinden,was für Gefühle auf dich eingeströmt sein müssen,als du in deiner neuen Heimat angekommen bist.Es muss so aufregend gewesen sein-und ganz sicher wäre alles leichter gewesen,wenn du Biene schon von Anfang an an deiner Seite gehabt hättest! Auch wenn Bruder und Schwester da waren-für euer neues Leben musstest du ja ganz allein die ersten Grundsteine legen .Und das war eine grosse Verantwortung ..
    Ich habe so das Gefühl,deine nächsten Berichte werden genau das zum Ausdruck bringen..
    Viele Grüsse aus Sottmar!👋👋
    Edda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ja, liebe Edda, das hast du richtig erkannt. Immer wieder konnte ich die Freude über alles neu Erlebte nicht richtig genießen, weil mir meine Biene fehlte. Oft habe ich in meinem Tagebuch den Wunsch zum Ausdruck gebracht, diese herrliche Reise noch einmal mit Biene zu machen. Vielen Dank für deinen lieben Kommentar!

      Like

    • Die Leserin, so wie du, liebe Mitza, erkennt, dass Selbstkritik der Geschichte etwas Authentisches verleiht . Das hast du ja schon in den vorigen Posts festgestellt, wo es um ganz persönliche Erlebnisse handelte. Vielen Dank für den lieben Kommentar! Endlich haben wir ein wenig Sonnenschein. Ein Geschenk für Biene zum Muttertag!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Quebec sounds an interesting place, although I’m not sure about the custom of putting salt on beer. I hadn’t heard of that before, but I doubt it would be to my taste. Besides, I’m quite capable of drinking a refreshing glass of beer without the need for any artificial incentives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bun, don’t forget this was 50 years ago, when beer parlours were noisy, smoky and generally unpleasant. And then there were these strange customs like ordering beer in several glasses at once and sprinkling salt into it. In this regard we live in a more refined beer drinking culture.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bun, don’t forget this was 50 years ago, when beer parlours were noisy, smoky and generally unpleasant. And then there were these strange customs like ordering beer in several glasses at once and sprinkling salt into it. In this regard we live in a more refined beer drinking culture.

      Like

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