Our Sister-City to the North; Quebec City, Canada

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QuebecCityAlmost every major city in the Unites States has a sister-city relationship with another country. Albany alone has four: Nassau, Bahamas, Nijmegen, Netherlands, Québec City, Canada and Tula, Russia.

Started in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower began the partnership as a way to “promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.”

Being a board member for the Albany-Tula Alliance, one of the most productive sister-city organizations, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to travel to Russia not once but twice. But without the help of a cultural exchange program like the ATA, getting to Russia is time-consuming and expensive. It requires invitations, visas, dozens of application fees, tediously long flights and custom interrogations.

Despite being an ‘ol fortified city, Québec City carries none of that same burden.

Other than needing a valid passport, you can jump in your car and drive 6 hours north or 370 miles and enjoy an experience remarkably like being in Europe. Brush up on your French with world-class hospitality, a vibrant farm-to-table dining scene and touring heritage hallmarks like the Parliament Building, the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine and a hotel recognized as the most photographed in the world, the Château Frontenac.

Fall is a beautiful time to visit but should you prefer to go with an organized group, the International Center of the Capital Region (ICCR) is offering a proposed 3-day itinerary at a cost of only $479.

From February 7-9, 2014, the ICCR will be taking reservations for a trip that includes plush bus round-trip transportation, 2 nights at the four-diamond Loews Hôtel Le Concorde, an optional dinner at a revolving restaurant, tickets to the 2014 Winter Carnival, a ferry ride across the St. Lawrence River and a ‘Carabou’ toast at the Chateau Frontenac.

To sign up for this popular trip, contact Caroline Leising, the Community Outreach Coordinator of the ICCR at her email: cleising@iccralbany.org.