Friday, 20 November 2009

Survival tactics at the Hotel Alt

gorgeous sunrise, temps freezing

Am lying in bed at 7am in one of my favorite hotels...the hotel alt in Quebec City. Actually, it's in a suburb of Quebec called Ste Foy. If it was actually in downtown Quebec City I'd stay in it and recommend it to everyone...but it's in the commercial strip. A not very attractive area of a stunningly attractive city. It seems the only people who would stay at the Hotel Alt are like briefly on business that takes us into this suburb. Still, it's a shame since the Alt is great. Like a better designed W. Not quite so 'aware' of itself but simple, large rooms, with spectacular bathrooms...with a glass wall between the mosaic glass tile shower and the bedroom. My room is huge and from the bed i can see a glorious sunrise- which makes me think I'm looking to the East. At least, I hope I am. If not, there's something very wrong with the sky.

Had huge fun yesterday. Train between Montreal and Quebec City is fast and easy...a little over 3 hours. I always come by first class...publisher pays. But even when they're not I still plop for first class on trains. Not that much more, and so much more comfortable. And a quite nice hot meal. It's so peaceful to plug in to my music and watch the scenery.

Arrived just after 4pm. Dark already. Grabbed a cab straight for the CBC Radio studio's on rue Saint-Jean and did a fun 15 minute interview with Jacquie, who hosts the afternoon snow, Breakaway. Wonderful host. I like Jacquie a lot...and she was very helpful when we were here in the winter researching Bury Your Dead (book 6).

Then a cab to ste foy. checked into the hotel and scurried across to the mall where the bookstore is. La Maison Anglaise it's called. The English House.

Oh - breakfast just arrived. A little baffling, actually. I'd asked for bagel and cream cheese and coffee for two. But the cups are tiny and the pot looks more like a small pitcher of milk...with coffee in it. And - most perplexing- they sent up a toaster, which while my French might not be perfect I'm pretty certain I didn't order. Seems they want me to toast my own bagel.

I can see the reasoning...might even be considered the sort of kooky, brilliant innovation these hotels sometimes find...this way the bagel is definitely hot. However, I can't find a plug. Have resorted to plugging it in by the bed. Am squatting down, toaster on the floor. Bagel in. surely this isn't what the designers of this cutting edge boutique hotel had in mind? I feel like a caveman. Bending over fire. Toasting a bagel.

The event last night was great fun. I love La Maison Anglaise. Terrific independent bookstore...but mostly it's the owner, Guy Dubois and the people he has working for him. All very smart and keen and lovers of books. And it was wonderful seeing so many friends again. Heather...Larry, who sometimes comments on the blog, and his gorgeous 14 year old daughter Jodie. Marianna...on and on. Love events that feel more like a gathering of friends.

And Guy - lovely man - gave me a 'garland' of candy! Actually more of a cornucopia...this massive funnel of gummi candies. I think Guy - who has a wicked sense of humour - might have done it on that I'd have to walk back to the hotel through this elegant city, carrying a massive club of candy. for sure no one bothered me. And it really is a delightful gift.

By the way - Edward Rutherford, who writes fabulous historic fiction - is doing an event at La Maison Anglaise next week I believe. He's in Quebec on holiday and offered to come because his latest book, New York, is out. I'm a great fan of his and would definitely go to the event, if I lived in Quebec and wasn't planning on being in the mental ward from eating so much candy.

Catching the train back to Montreal this afternoon. I'll be doing an event tomorrow (Saturday) organized by the Crime Writers of Canada, at the Pointe Claire Library in Montreal at 3pm, with two great crime writers...Michael Blair and Mary Jane Maffini. Hope to see you there!


Larry Marshall said...

Louise, Louise, everyone knows you're supposed to toast your bagel in the bathroom :-)

It was so good to see you again. Jodie was thrilled as well. BTW, she's read dozens of books since you last saw her. She just hadn't read any in the last month or so. 14-year old think in short time frames (grin).

In case anyone is interested, the Edward Rutherford signing is on Dec 3rd at La Maison Anglais

Cheers --- Larry

Bev Stephans said...

Eww! Toast it in the bathroom! I don't think so.

I didn't know Edward Rutherfurd had a new novel out. Must look into this.

Just think, you're almost home.


Shelagh said...

Dear Louise,

If gummy bears are the reason for your incredible energy I'm right there with you!

Looking forward to hearing about your reunion with your much loved doggie, Trudy. Hugs to all,


Brenda B. said...

Hello Louise,

It's nice to picture you in Quebec City (or even Ste. Foy). Diane and I will be in QC next weekend, a post (U.S.) Thanksgiving getaway to one of our favorite places on earth.

Best to you as you readjust to being home in Canada.


Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Home now! Trudy happy to see us, but perhaps not as happy as we are to see her. Man, oh, man do we miss her. You'd think I gave birth to her. though, it must be said, he has Michael's ears and my nose. So maybe...

We're hoping to launch Bury Your Dead in Quebec City, in the old library where much of the action takes save up those pennys. It would be fabulous to see you there.

So far no release date but I suspect it will be next Sept/october. Very lovely time to be in Quebec, as the leaves turn.