Last night Dora and I returned from our vacation. After some very slow camping at a Prov. Park a couple hours away, we did a bit of touring. We travelled to Quebec City and were very taken by the culture of this "European" city. We also visited Ste-Anne de Beaupre, a RC basilica an hour east of Q.C. dedicated to St. Anne (the mother of the Virgin Mary). Ste-Anne is a North American pilgrimage site. There we witnessed a mass. Between Quebec City and Ste-Anne de Beaupre we ascended and descended 100s of stairs. At the end of the day we said that we did not need to see another stairway, sacred or profane.
The next day we travelled to Montreal where we viewed St. Joseph's Oratory, also a basilica (more stairs, both sacred and profane). The difference between the two basilicas is striking. Ste-Anne is very ornate -- baroque in style -- while St-Joseph is stark, almost brutal. They had one thing in common, one of the messages of the RCC: "The Church is everything and you are nothing." In the evening we walked up and down the streets of old Montreal.
We spent the weekends before and after La Belle Province in Ottawa and so got nicely caught up on many of our old friendships there.
Upon leaving Ottawa we drove up to Algonquin Park where we relaxed for a day or two, going on only one moderate 7.5 K hike in the wilderness. A great vacation, and now... back to work!