Highlights of SAGUENAY & SEPT ILLES – Canada and Colonial America Cruise – Caribbean Princess

Photo heavy blog!

Cruising on the Saint Lawrence in Canada brings you to some amazing ports. The perfect transportation was the Caribbean Princess cruise ship, leaving from Quebec City and heading all the way to Fort Lauderdale at the end of the season. Follow along for my views.

We visited Saguenay Canada on Saturday Oct 22, 2022. We turned off the St Lawrence and went up the Saguenay River. We docked about 7 am and were awoken by the activity on the dock. The ship was being greeted by musicians and dancers and reenactors. I wish I could have made good photos, but we were forward on the ship and the area they were performing was near the aft end of the ship. I will never forget the man with the megaphone asking us on board to “ask the captain” of the Caribbean Princess to blow the ships horns. The ship did comply when we left at 5 pm..

The port area for Saguenay was called La Baie. It had a lovely port facility and the area around the port was very walkable. Armed with google maps, I decided I would just walk around the port area, and find a Tim Horton’s, a local pharmacy and just wander and breathe in all the brisk air. There were beautiful walking and biking trails right along the Saguenay River.

Walking trail in Sagueney
Wonderful park with bike trails and walking trails

Along the beach where the ship was docked there were lots of people out walking along the river bank.. It was fun to watch the beach disappear as the tide came in. I had a great “fall weather” walk, did lots of looking with my eyes instead of with my camera, breathing in the crisp air. So sorry for the lack of photos, but it was just a delightful day to walk along the river and enjoy the views.

Caribbean Princess in Saguenay
Caribbean Princess docked at the Saguenay port in La Baie

The description for the port on the Princess info page said “The city of Saguenay, most known for its physical beauty and notable artist community, lies on the Saguenay River in Quebec, 200 km north of Quebec City. The city is divided into three boroughs (Chicoutimi, Jonquiere, and La Baie), with French being the predominant language spoken in each. Tourists can visit harbor villages in Chicoutimi, or make way to Jonquiere for enjoy scenic views and relaxing strolls through public parks. Saguenay is also home to a 163-ton aluminum bridge, built in 1950 as a unique replica that is a third the size of its steel counterpart.”

I, for one, just enjoyed strolling around La Baie. I could have taken an offered shuttle over to the larger city of Saguenay, but was content to just enjoy the area where we were docked. It was great for walking around, stopping for a coffee and just enjoying the fall foliage. I did get a “few” steps in while we were in port

Walking in Saguenay
Walking in a port has benefits!

This is what you do so you don’t gain weight eating all the wonderful food! GO WALK!

Sailing out of La Baie, as the sun was setting was amazing. The water was like glass. There were working ships going up and down the river, and it was amazing to be on a ship the size of the Caribbean Princess in a river. We slept through the arrival, but I enjoyed sitting on the aft of the ship with the few that wanted to enjoy this magnificent river and view.

Sailing on the Saguenay River
Sailing on the Saguenay River towards the St Lawrence
Sunset on the Saguenay
Sunset on the Saguenay

I spent a good amount of time on the aft of the ship, just enjoying the sights as we sailed on the Saguenay River back towards the St Lawrence River.

Spending some time at sailaway from Saguenay
Enjoying the amazing views on the Saguenay River from the aft of the ship
Sailing on the Saguenay towards the St Lawrence

The river was like absolute glass, and the sun set happened very quickly. (I have hundreds of photo’s, still and video, done with my cell phone and go-pro, but you don’t want to see them all.) Seriously, it was hard to pick just a couple to share.

Our next port was on Sunday, Oct 23, 2022 and we docked in Sept Illes. The description from the Princess website said “Named for its location facing an archipelago of seven islands and set at the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River, Sept-Iles is one of the sunniest regions in Quebec. This city is surrounded by unspoiled nature and is protected from the sea winds by the surrounding islands. Visitors can explore parks near the city such as Aylmer-Whittom where a miniature village can be seen filled with squirrels and various birds. There are also multiple beach fronts that stretch for miles across the coast for those interested in a little sun and bird watching. It is the ideal location for travelers looking to go on an outdoor adventure.”

Again, a wonderful port to just get off the ship and stretch your legs. Not a lot open near the port this late in the year, but you could feel how this port area was an attraction for the local population earlier in the season. I had fun again taking a long walk along the water and enjoying the views. Sept Illes was a working port, and also a fishing port. You will see that in some of the photos.

Just steps from our ship I was greeted with this wonderful artwork along the waterfront.

Greeting us in Sept Illes
Is the moose gazing at our ship or guarding the tug boat?

and from another angle –

Hello Moose
Which side do you like best?

I like this view the best….more artsy.

Harbor area Sept Illes
Good to know info

There was a wonderful walk along the water front. And I made a few more friends along the way!

dog friends
Monkeying around in Sept Illes
Mom with the kids
Mom with the kids?

I did wander through a dock area, but overall the Promenade was lovely.

Dad looking on
Dad keeping a watch?
Horse or donkey?
Horse or Donkey?

As I continued along the walk, I just followed others ahead of me as we walked through a “yard” where fishing items were stored. I’m not sure how these baskets are used, but there were a lot of them stacked up.

Fishing baskets?
Baskets in big stacks

This yard we walked through was full of this giant baskets. I wish there was someone around to tell the story of how they were used.

Had it been the peak of summer – this place might have been open for a drink or bite to eat.

Summer time stop?
closed for the season

My walk continued along the waterfront for about a mile and I came across a museum with the Hermel exhibition. It was fascinating. Mylène Paquette’s legendary boat, Hermel was on display. Quebec mariner Mylène Paquette is the first person from the Americas to row solo across the North Atlantic. Her boat was amazing and this was an interactive museum with video displays around the boat. I can’t do it justice so I urge you to check this website – https://www.portsi.com/hermel-exhibition-site-opens/?lang=en . Mylene’s website – https://www.mylenepaquette.com/fr/traversee/ is worth a look and her amazing journey is shown in photo’s and video along with her journal.

I continued my walk along the waterfront all the way to Parc du Vieux-Quai, then returned along the same path to the ship. I went up to the first roadway, but there was really nothing open on this Sunday after the holiday season was over. I have to say, in warm summer weather I can imagine the area as being very active and busy. Even on this fall day the Parc du Vieux-Quai was busy with families out in the sunshine for the day, and a lot of “senior citizens” out and about, enjoying the lovely weather. Restaurants and bars were closed on the Sunday, but overall, a great place to walk. Walking back toward the ship, you could see the working port, and how vibrant the area was. Next time I visit, perhaps I will take a tour, but this was a relaxing time off the ship and fun for exploring on my own.

Once back on board, I was a bit chilly, and hungry, and took advantage of the great room service menu that Princess Cruise lines offers.

lunch on the balcony

Before long, it was time to leave Sept Illes. The tugboat at the ready, as the ship prepares to leave the dock. You knew it was time to go as the sun began to set. It’ doesn’t get more beautiful than this –

Sept Iles at sunset

The sun disappears quite quickly at 5 pm

Sun has set
A look around the Sept Illes harbor

Our next day is a sea day, and the highlight for me is meeting people at the Cruise Critic Meet & Great and going to a wine tasting!

More on that in another post!


 Canada and Colonial America Cruise Highlights – Quebec City part 2 Upper Town walking tour

Last post,(https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2022/11/17/walking-tour-of-old-quebec-city-lower-town/) we left off on the funicular going to the Upper Town of Quebec City on our walking tour. What a view awaits us standing on the Dufferin Terrace looking toward the magnificent hotel and back down at the St Lawrence and our cruise ship.

Château Frontenac Hotel
Château Frontenac Hotel
Looking to the port
The Caribbean Princess
Monument Samuel-De Champlain
Monument Samuel-De Champlain

A significant monument to the “father of New France” greets you as you exit the Funiculaire.

As we walk, we come to the back side of the Fountain Monument of Faith facing towards Rue Sainte-Anne

Fountain Monument of Faith

Across the street is the Château Frontenac Hotel, and the 3 flags. The blue and white is the flag of the province of Quebec, the blue and yellow for Quebec City, and of course, the Canadian Red and White.

Looking up to the hotel and the flags
Château Frontenac Hotel

We walk several blocks and stop on Rue Donnacona, at L’École des Ursulines de Québec, (The Ursuline School of Quebec) and hear the story of the nun, Marie De L’Incarnation. “Marie of the Incarnation was an Ursuline nun of the French order. As part of a group of nuns sent to New France to establish the Ursuline Order, Marie was crucial in the spread of Catholicism in New France. Moreover, she has been credited with founding the first girls’ school in the New World.” (Source Wikipedia) She was declared a saint by Pope Francis in 2014. Our guide told us that she wished to be a nun as a young girl, but instead followed her parents wishes and married. Widowed at 19, she was then free to choose the convent. When she left France, she never returned. She had a son whom she kept in contact with by letters, but never saw again.

Marie De L'Incarnation
The Ursuline School of Quebec
Further walking takes us to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which was shrouded from site due to construction. This was the first Anglican Cathedral built outside of the British Isles.   I would love to try and see it once the repair work is completed. 
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City
Built between 1800 and 1804, the cathedral introduced to Canada the British Palladian style of architecture

Our next destination in the Upper City was back to the hotel for tea. What a delight it was to enter the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac hotel and enjoy a lovely teatime .

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

I was able to look around the expansive hallways and lobbies as we came in from the street to the restaurant where we had our tea. I would LOVE to have the opportunity to explore the hotel more, and stay there. “Built by Canadian Pacific beginning in 1892, and designed by architect Bruce Price, the Château Frontenac is an excellent example of château-style hotels developed by railway companies in Canada.

Following our tea, we worked our way back down from the Upper City to the Lower City of Quebec. We walked along the curving street of Cote de la Montagne. It was interesting to see railings affixed to some of the buildings. It was quite steep.

Coming down from the Upper City.
Cote de la Montagne

Our tour guide suggested the next view back up the hill –

one last look up to the hotel
One last look

Our walking tour ended back at the port, where I boarded the Caribbean Princess once again. We walked a little over 4 1/2 miles on this walking tour, and I was ready for cocktails and dinner. We were to set sail at 5 pm for Saguenay.

I decided to “dress for dinner” in an outfit that seemed rather Canadian to me. And of course, it matched those nice throws the room steward put on our beds too!

Dressed for dinner
Dressed for dinner and matching the coverlet

We enjoyed the Elite cocktail party and went to the dining room for our reserved time. I can’t say anything nice about that night. Just know that many people, besides myself, were very upset about the terrible line and waiting more than half an hour to be seated. (If you know me, you know that logistics is my background and I could see all the ways this could be fixed while I waited in a line, tired from my excursion and very hungry. I have been on many cruises, and this was not the standard I was accustomed to.) My patience was shot, and I left the line, 30 minutes past our reservation time, and went to the buffet. That meal wasn’t satisfying, but at least I was seated. My sister stood in that line, with her cane for another 30 minutes. I waited until nearly 10 pm and went to the customer service desk and expressed politely how disappointed I was. The problem was resolved the following night, and the rest of the cruise there was no waiting. I love that the staff was able to solve the problem and make things right.

All in all, the walking tour was amazing, our guide was thorough, and the advice on comfortable walking shoes and coats was excellent. I would love to go back and explore Quebec City more in depth, spending a few nights at the Château Frontenac Hotel. Back on the bucket list. At 3 days in the city is needed to really explore on your own.

I will blog a bit more about our various ports as we made our way from Quebec City to Ft Lauderdale Florida, and hopefully you will find them as interesting as I did.

Travel adventures in Cabo San Lucas

Last post I talked about the adventure in travel while flying and new requirements for cruising. This post is about the fun adventures I had in one port of call, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

I sailed on the Grand Princess, beginning October 18, for a total of 18 days , 4 cruises. We went from San Pedro California to Cabo San Lucas on a 5 day cruise, round trip, then from San Pedro to San Diego California and Ensenada Mexico round trip for a 4 day cruise. We repeated each of those cruises a second time. This gave me an opportunity to try a variety of activities at each port of call.

On arrival in Cabo San Lucas Mexico for the first journey, I signed up for an excursion that was definitely a new adventure for me.

Booking through the cruise line, I boarded a bus that took me up the coast to a ranch, called Tierra Sagrada – Cabo Adventures, Todos los Santos, Playa Cerritos Sur Pecadero, Mexico. My adventure for the day was a CAMEL RIDE! Yes, a real camel!!

Camel ride Tierra Sagrado

Our camels were “tethered” together and we had someone walking along to make sure they behaved . Our ride was about 20 minutes long from start to finish, and there were lots of photo’s being taken by the resident photographer. I guess I was unprepared for purchasing the whole collection of photos, so I came away with just this one copy, but a lot of fun memories. I can officially say I was “kissed” by a camel, had an experience that I would encourage everyone to do! The excursion included a ride on the sandy beach and through the desert.

At the end, we learned a lot about the animals, and then took a nature walk thru the desert gardens to the restaurant, where we were served at a buffet some typical Mexican food. I really enjoyed everything I ate, and I also enjoyed the tequila tasting after the meal.

Meal at Tierra Sagrada Cabo adventures
Chicken Mole, pinto beans, caprese salad, green bean salad, broccoli, potatoes and a quesadilla

Chicken Mole is an interesting flavor, with a hint of chocolate. Some make mole with chocolate, and other recipes do not. This one was fairly rich, nutty, sweet, and earthy. I had not had Chicken Mole since I was in the 7th grade at a friend’s birthday party. All in all the food was delicious!

The tour company, Cabo Adventures did a great job with their facility out in the desert. Check out the offerings – https://www.cabo-adventures.com/en/tour/outback-and-camel-safari

My second visit to Cabo San Lucas was also just as much fun, but a lot more activity. The excursion was also with Cabo Adventures, and I went prepared to “buy the photo pack” ! This time I was booked on an Electric Biking Beach Tour. (https://www.cabo-adventures.com/en/tour/electric-bike-adventure)

We road out across the desert first and then back along the beach. These fat tire bikes could really get through the sand, especially with the electric motor the bike had. It was almost like riding a mini-bike. Out of our group, 2 ladies dropped out of the ride, as they didn’t feel confident or in control. I am overly cautious, and kept my speed down, so I didn’t spin out or spill. I got to see some video from one of the cruise ship employees on the ride when he spun out and crashed !. I think he was showing off for one of the dancers from the ship. I was without a doubt the only “senior citizen grandma” taking this ride, but I had a great time. This was much more “active” than the camel ride. They loaded us up with safety gear and we road for about 2 hours. It was definitely and adventure. It did take some “getting used to” riding these power assisted bikes. Other than starting off, you really didn’t have to pedal much, but as a person who rides bikes, it just came naturally for me to pedal. The bike had a throttle and a speed controller, and you could get going pretty fast. Laughing was part of the activity for sure.

This excursion included lunch and margaritas! While the meal may look the same, I made different choices, including ribs and a green salad.

Another wonderful lunch Tierra Sagrada Cabo Adventures

Our tour guide was making the margaritas, and liberally pouring them for us! It was a great way to relax after the exhilaration of the bike ride.

No visit to Cabo San Lucas can be without a view of the ARCH !!

The Arch in Cabo

Returning to the ship, I enjoyed some relaxing in the hot tub after the bike ride! Our ship stayed in Cabo overnight, and during the evening many people were out on shore, having dinner and enjoying the town. I pretty much had the pool area to myself!

relaxing on board

Early the next morning I got to see a wonderful sunrise from our balcony.

Dawn in Cabo

Little did I know there was a fishing tournament starting just past sunrise — promoted as “World’s Richest Tournament, the Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament“, hundreds of boats were milling around near the cruise ship and the rocks.

boat fishing challenge

At one point, the boats all took off in various directions, as fast as they could go!

Heading out to fish

It’s a high-profile yearly event where competitors put down astronomical entry fees to lure a marlin big enough to take the jackpot.

Since our ship stayed anchored overnight, I was able to enjoy the view of the rocks, while eating my breakfast….million dollar view !

Breakfast in Cabo

My sister and I found a great spot on the back of the ship to hang out and visit for the morning and still have a view of “the rocks”.

Anne and Mary in Cabo

All said and done, our visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, both times was a resounding success.

Check back later this week for some of the action from San Diego and Ensenada.

Traveling sewing kit

I am leaving in less than 36 hours for a trip to California, and a cruise to Alaska. My bags are packed, twice now…and I think I have the essentials.

One thing I enjoy while traveling is working on English Paper Piecing. Bonnie Hunter, Quiltville.blogspot.com, does this when she travels to teaching locations around the world. I started the year I went to Nevada when my Lil sister was recovering from knee surgery. The only time I sit and hand stitch is when I travel. (🐈 in lap at home preventing hand stitching).

Anyway, I sorted out my never ending Double Diamonds project, and got things kitted and organized and all set to travel…..or so I thought. Today I attended a lovely gathering of the Material Girls Quilt bee, and Irene, our hostess, shared a hand sewing kit given to her as a gift by a dear friend.

Her friend used some wonderful Tula Link fabric.

There is a place to keep needles stored on the green wool, pockets for scissors and the awesome Vivilux light, and even a zip pocket and a holder for her Aurifil thread. I loved the idea and got permission to to get a couple of pictures.

After dinner tonight I decided to go PLAY for a bit in my sewing room. I got out 2 fat quarters and a scrap of contrasting fabric and some batting and got busy cutting, sewing, quilting and creating.

I made my travel sewing kit with 3 pockets, and also used a bit of wool for the needles and pins.

Travel fabric for the outside.

Transportation (blue) fabric inside. I fussy cut the fabric for the pockets.

Wide open it is about 8″x 20″.

On the left I have a spool of thread being held on with a tab and a button with elastic. Below is a pocket with 3 sections. In the center is the wool pin holder (with a bit of batting behind it). Below the pins is a larger pocket. On the right is another pocket with the opening on the side towards the center.

I managed to load an Altoid tin with bobbins (for lots of thread variety), another spool of Aurifil thread and my new lighted Needle threader in the pocket sections.

The center pocket has those clover clips that are like spare hands, my Vivilux LED light and a floss container. ( I fly with this, and use the cutter on the floss for my thread.)

This side opening pocket has my Double Diamonds directions along with a 1qt zip bag full of pieces and parts for 1 Double Diamond EPP block.

Now I am really packed and ready to go! Thanks Irene for sharing your kit and inspiring me to make one for myself.

Travel; Swirly Bird Applique and other summer things

I’ve been “away” from the blog for a month, and wondered this morning what is there to write about?

I feel like I have not gotten much “done” in that time, but I have a great excuse!  I got to spend some great time with the grandkids for 15 days!

Oh, the Maid Marion dress and cape were a hit.  ( Click here for the original story or or here for more photos)  The girls decided the nightgowns should be long dresses and their mother agreed they were made well enough they could be worn this way.  I had fun giving the little cradle and doll quilt along with the big quilt to my granddaughter for her birthday.

It seems that May was full of grandkids’ projects.  A pillowcase to match the quilt and new ones for the other children too.  I also made a “reading pillow” right before I left with “map” fabric and stuffed it when I got out west.  (Note to self…never ever ever use foam pillow filling…what a mess.  I had not shipped enough and ended up at Wal-Mart to get something to finish filling.  I found a poly stuffing that was almost “down like” and bought 2 more bags to finish the job.  This poly stuffing was awesome.  It wasn’t like your normal fiberfill; it was ……..great.)   Now, if I could only remember the name.  I may have to make a road trip to a Wal-Mart with a craft department today just to get a couple of bags to have “on the shelf”.

So,  guess I have been busy, what with trips to the zoo, and hiking and playgrounds and book mobiles, hair salons and even a lost tooth to go in the little pillow pocket.  Watching the kids play, cooking with my daughter, birthday party…FUN !!!  All in all, a great trip.

I got home late on Saturday night, and the next week was go go go – Worship Assistant on Sunday; Quilt Guild on Monday; Quilt class on Tuesday; a trip to Lancaster PA on Wed & Thursday…and we don’t want to talk about how sick I got Thursday night – Saturday…..anyway…lets go back and talk about Monday & Tuesday.

Linda Poole was our speaker and instructor. ( Linda’s website )She is known for her work with applique and her lecture was about how the Iznik tiles in Turkey inspired her to use the designs in applique, and in her book Turkish Delights in Applique.  She shared here wonderful quilts with the guild and some great photos of Turkey.  She gifted a tile to me which I just love.

Tile from Turkey; gifted to me by Linda Poole

Tile from Turkey; gifted to me by Linda Poole

I have a little collection of tiles in my kitchen from travels, and this will fit in nicely with the group.

Having lived in Turkey myself back in the 70’s, I was interested to see & hear her lecture, and her photos of places that I have also traveled to.  Our class was “Swirly Birds”.  Linda puts together such a great kit for her students, with the pattern pieces already fused to the stabilizer and cut out for you!  The method she taught was using a glue stick and our class seemed to really get things done!  I’ve already seen 2 projects close to finished from other students.  I have finished the applique of the Swirly Bird…..Swirly Bird

Swirly Bird

My little bird still needs his eye “button” stitched on and perhaps a border or two to give him a finished look, along with something for his tail feathers.  Linda’s pattern calls for embroidery and she shows it with multi colored threads.  It was an interesting process using the glue stick and a water-soluble fusible product. I used Superior Mono poly clear thread for the applique. Linda demo’d a blind hem stitch when she was teaching the class.  I had better luck with one of the applique stitches on my Janome.  I’m sure if I did as much applique as Linda I would do it with ease, but this was the first I had done in nearly 2 years.

I went to Lancaster PA on Thursday last week to attend a Floriani Seminar with Brubakers Sewing Center. I like the Floriani products and it was great to learn all about the different stabilizers and various products. I was there to learn more about stabilizing for machine embroidery. The presenter demo’d was to get the most out of your stabilizers.  I found out that they have a product that would work well with applique – Stitch N Wash Printable Sheets®    (  Floriani website ) . I would encourage you to click around on the Floriani website…they have a “document” you can download and save/print called a Stabilizer Workbook.  (It’s in the tabs on the header of the website.)  It is really FULL of information about what to use and when to use a particular product.  Alex Anderson of THE QUILT SHOW has teamed up with Floriani to make products specific to quilters.  I also learned about CHROME needles made by Schmetz for embroidery machines. Supposed to last 2.5 times longer than a traditional needle.  All in all a great learning experience, and fun shopping too.

This week finds me working on my 6 quilts for our show in July.  I have hanging pockets to make for all of them; as well as labels labels labels.  So much that I had to make a spreadsheet!  And then there is the call of summer….so on these sunny hot days my attention is split!

Summer can be so distracting

Summer can be so distracting

Might have to sit outside and get some of that hand stitching of quilt labels and hanging pockets done!

Enjoy your weekend!

Go Vote for Lesley !!

Has the travel bug ever hit you? I enjoy a blogger who has a bucket list website. She is a mother of a little girl, who has a great spirit of adventure. She is in a contest to win 6 months of all expense paid travel. There are only 3 days left in the contest and she is in 3rd place….
Below is the link to her VOTE for ME page….can you help her win?

<a href=”Go Vote for Lesley Carter” title=”Vote for me“>Vote for me

And do take time to check out her blog! http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/where-are-you-from-with-just-one-little-click-the-world/