Sunday, March 13, 2011

Road Trip: Quebec City: Day 1

Four days ago The Canadian and I took off on our spring break road trip through northern New Brunswick and Quebec (pronounced Ke-bek). The plan was to venture from our hometown of Moncton, New Brunswick to Quebec City for the first leg of the trip.

We left bright and early for the 8 hour journey. Ummm...who packed this car and why does it look like we're traveling for a month? And did Vera Bradley completely throw up in there?

I settled in for the drive riding shotgun. This is a new role for me as in my former life (read: single) I always drove. But when you move to Canada and are not quite used to icy/slushy road conditions you learn to adjust. I figured the best way to entertain myself was by taking photos of any interesting things we saw along the way. Good thing I was ready with my camera when we came to a screeching hault because seven deer decided to play in the middle of the highway. Once I caught my breath I only managed to get a shot of three but the rest were close by.

As we continued we came upon a truck pulling a trailer. The Canadian asked me if I knew what it was...

A dog sled team. Can you believe big huskies are crammed behind the tiny doors? And the cage is definitely home made. The trailer looked like it would fall apart at the first pothole. Apparently the dogs are kept in tight quarters to keep them from any bouncing around that could cause injury. What I cannot figure out is how on Earth the owners convinced the dogs to crawl in there...

There were two sleds which means a minimum of 12 huskies. Part of me sort of wanted to follow them and ask for a whirl on the ole dog sled. Too much? The Canadian thought so.

The trip started with reasonably clear weather but as we drove north the conditions deteriorated and made me glad I was riding shotgun. Ice driving just isn't my thing.

As it got worse the most amazing thing started happening to the trees. An ice storm had come through leaving the crystal trees in it's wake. The photo doesn't do it justice but the trees were positively sparkling. It's hard to catch the glimmer through the window while moving at 80mph - but trust me, it was amazing.

The thing about Quebec is that they're French. The march to their own beat. They are not interested in speaking English. They do things their own way. Including their garage design. When we drove through the outskirts of Old Quebec City I noticed that every house on the main street had temporary garages in place. It was the weirdest thing ever...but also kind of brilliant. If I had a nickel for every minute I spent clearing the snow off my car this winter I would have paid for ten of these ridiculous garages and it would have been money well spent.

Anyway, we finally made it to our destination. Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (read: our hotel) is the center of Old Quebec and sits right on the mighty Saint Lawrence River.

Old Quebec is one of the oldest cities in North America (minus Mexico) and sits right on the St. Lawrence which is the gateway from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The city is surrounded by a great wall and is the only fortified city remaining in North America (again, minus Mexico).

The Frontenac was gorgeous and elaborate.

Our room was on the top floor, the 18th, and had its own elevator leading to it.

The bathroom was fit for a king. Or at least The Canadian.

And the view was spectacular.

Old Quebec is know for its resemblance of Europe. Having never been to Europe, I was impressed. It was exactly what Europe looks like in my head!

We spent the afternoon wandering around and taking it all in.

It took me a minute to realize what all the construction was about. The city hosts an annual ice skating race (Crashed Ice) that leads hockey players through the city on a crazy course. The course goes up and down and round and round and all over town. Construction crews were everywhere.

Construction aside, we still managed to find a Chocolatier selling fudge sausages...which we did not get too close to for fear my thighs would explode.

But we did stop in a Queues de Castor. Translation: Beaver Tail. Gross.

Wrong. Delicious. Basically fried dough with your choice of topping which strangely looks like a beaver tail. For example, maple cream. I think I died on the spot.

After a full walk within the city walls we retired to a pub for a drink. We chose this pub solely because it was one of those cool old corner buildings.

Later on in the evening, after a delicious dinner, we arrived back at the hotel room to find a nice note from the staff and a plate full of maple fudge (we may have told them it was our honeymoon). I enjoyed every morsel while taking in the view.

Stay tuned for coverage of Day 2, 3 and possibly 4 tomorrow!


Workout: Cardio - 90 minutes (trying to make up for the vacation), Weights - Biceps, Shoulders, Abs

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