Date visited: February 8, 2014
Hours on the road: 10
City descriptor: Frozen
Outstanding memory: Exploring the Chateau Frontenac in various stages of construction
Ideal visitor: Since we were there during Carnival, 8 years old!
Our trip to Quebec was a totally different experience. Since we only live a 5 hour drive away, we didn’t have to drive overnight. We invited 3 friends to go with us, borrowed a van, and got on our merry way at about 4am. The drive was easy (we weren’t driving) and we were beyond delighted to arrive alive and with a moderate amount of sleep. Energy was ours!
If you visit Quebec City in February during Carnival (their annual winter festival) all your stereotypical dreams about Canada will come true. People will skate past you in parks, dogs will be pulling sleds around, adorable children will be falling over themselves in tiny snowsuits, people will be grabbing extremely cold ones inside castles of ice. All sorts of idyllic scenes were in front of us to behold.
You might think that this sounds lovely. You might think that you want to go to there. If you do, all power to you but we must warn you of something key. All this wonderful gorgeous fun comes at a cost- the privilege of being able to feel all your fingers.
We slid down hills and were cold. We curled on ice and were cold. We observed ice sculptures and were cold. We toured a 17th century fort and were cold. Basically we were just cold a lot. Luckily there were lots of beautiful things to distract us. There is a reason that Quebec is used as a stand in for European cities in films and and television. Gorgeous streets with ice covered cobblestone every which way you looked.
One of the most famous buildings in the downtown area is the towering Chateau Frontenac. It overlooks the city and the St. Lawrence river. One of the coolest parts of our trip was in this hotel. We decided we wanted to explore it a bit just to see what we could see. As it turns out, the hotel was under construction and security was bizarrely lax. We ended up stumbling across a couple floors that were being renovated and were conveniently unlocked. Since this is one of the tallest buildings around, the views were unparalleled. Plus we were inside so for once we were not cold!