Thursday morning came and, after an impromptu Jays game followed by packing on Wednesday, we were tired and set off a bit later than planned around 9am. The drive to Quebec took a staggering 9 hours. We did stop a few times for supplies and leg stretching – it is lucky we always have lots to chat about. There was still snow on the ground at the side of the road as we got further east. We had a small debate over whether it was snow or plastic bags, apparently it couldn’t be snow, it’s not cold enough. Dad eventually realised it was snow!
The hotel (Hotel Universal) was nice and the rooms were spacious and had a bit of posh towel folding going on. We had some food at the Boston Pizza in the hotel and then a sauna, then retired to take baths and sleep.
The rain forecast had not arrived when we woke up, so we drove to Montmorency Falls and were able to see all we wanted just as the rain hit. There is a short walk to the falls where you can go out on to a pavillion that sticks out over the water allowing a breathtaking view of the falls. We both turned the corner and stepped out with a ‘wow’. The falls are higher than Niagara Falls, though considerably narrower. We walked accross a suspension bridge over the top of the falls and you can look down and see the ice still at the bottom. I loved seeing the different layers in the ice that have built up. The steps down to the falls were closed for the season, Dad vetoed the idea of climbing the barrier. I did convince him to jump up and down on the suspension bridge though.
We drove down to the bottom of the falls so we could see the view from the bottom as well. By this time, it was getting colder. It was one of those weather situations where you leap out of the car, briskly walk, with little trots to the best spot to see the falls, take a picture, share a quick mutter of appreciation and retreat.
Time to see Quebec City. A city within old fortification walls, still surrounded with cannons. Unfortunately, all of the other places we could have been had better weather than Quebec – Toronto and UK were dry and we were at risk of water damage. We briskly walked around seeing some shops. The Chateau Frontenac was a lovely detailed fairytale castle with turrets, now a hotel that we went to for Afternoon Tea. Unfortunately, noone bothered to collect us from the sign saying we had to wait to be seated, so we went elsewhere for burgers and poutine. We saw some cannons along the fortification walls, and walked back up through the shops. I found some winter hats reduced in Roots which offered me a little more weather resistance. I was delighted to find a Christmas shop, Christmas songs playing. I picked up a wonderful new decoration of a snowlady holding a frog to kiss. It made me think of me, always on the lookout for a prince. We pottered around a shop full of such random stuff – cutlery (handmade with all different woods, apparently juniper will always smell peppery which was interesting), knives, leather goods, pistols, clothes, fur hats etc and all sorts of supplies for those models with the little soldiers where people make a scene to play with and re-enact battles. I bought some red polka dot origami earrings that I loved. There was a whole interesting range including earrings made from the crane origami shape. When I asked about them, I found the lady working there made that collection.
Throughout the day, we were on the lookout for a pastry shop. Somewhere to sit seeking refuge from the rain, and have a tea break. We went in many to check the ambience and menus – luckily we held out for the right one and found Paillard. The place was packed with fresh breads, pastries, cakes, chocolate and creme brulees. Of course, we had creme brulee. It was spectacular, and blowtorched when ordered so it was perfectly warm from being freshly caramelised.
We had a good sleep and went back to Quebec City today for another look around the streets we missed. Breakfast was, of course, at Paillard – bacon and cheese croissants. Dads turn to do some shopping and we went for a nose around the Chateau Frontenac to check out the view from the top floor. Can anyone pass a maids cart without being attracted to the smellies? We are way too silly for this sort of opportunity and I got a little hysterical with the comedy of the casing of the cart. I would return the hand cream in return for a glimpse of that security footage.
A hot chocolate, a walk in the rain, pottering in the shops and we went for a talk on the history of Old Quebec. The model lit up as the video and voiceover talked about each area and sound effects were alongside it. Not something I would usually do, but 20 minutes was the perfect amount of time to be interesting to me.
A quick hunt for a book on the history of Quebec City for Dad and we set off for Montreal.