Day 2 – 30 December, 2012
(2018 UPDATE – Wow friends, I was super enthusiastic and annoyingly upbeat back then. I mean, I still liked my children and my husband and just had a happy zest for life. I had a think about this and put it down to my kids only being 14 & 10 (they are now 20 & 16 – pass the bottle of booze, and then another bottle please) and maybe my bullshit-o-meter hadn’t tapped out just yet. Who even was I? All I know is I must have been really really hard to be around back then with all my sunshiny-ness and unicorn rainbows. I’m so sorry guys, thanks for hanging in there and guess what, good news…..6 years later I am now the blackhearted, cynical, potty mouthed, people hating BITCH I was always meant to be. You’re welcome!!!)
New 2018 comments in Pink
Okay so today was forecast to be extraordinarily cold. Like super cold. So perhaps it wasn’t the best day for us to be doing a horse and carriage ride tour for 2 hours hey???? Alas I had booked this in advance and the show must go on so we rugged up and I do mean rugged up with thermals, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves etc for the ride.
Fortunately for us the carriage driver had massive big fluffy rugs to put over ourselves as well which came in handy. I made the mistake of being greedy and wanting the best seat for viewing everything so sat in the back seat facing forward. I was right, it did give me the best views. What I hadn’t factored in was the amount of snow falling and how once we got moving the snow was flying into my face. No windscreen on a horse and carriage, wish I’d thought of that beforehand. Karma I guess for being greedy hahahaha.
It was a sensational way to see the city, the tour guide was a young man with lots of knowledge and humour and since it was early and super cold the streets were quite deserted. Because there was so much new snow, everything just looked amazing. The architecture here is truly beautiful and their stonework is especially lovely.
The Americans have nothing on the French Canandians when it comes to decorating for Christmas. The Quebec people really know how to do it and so charming and simple. It’s 3 things – 1. branches off the fir trees, tied together in long garlands and draped around windows and doorways, 2. wreaths with just a simple red bow on them, the wreaths are everywhere and 3. Real actual amazingly beautiful Christmas trees outside of nearly every store and home with just simple white fairy lights and the ultimate Christmas decoration – snow!!!!!! This has made me definitely want to visit Europe for one Christmas, it must be stunning.
Quebec is such a European looking city and obviously that comes from being run by the French and at times the English. I couldn’t believe how much war and conflict had gone on in this city’s history, all to own this beautiful place. There were still cannons along the waterfront and so many tales of battles and war. It was very interesting but of course, since it was so cold, my brain was unable to retain a damn thing. Google it if you want to know more hahaha.
I felt like the tour went about 45 minutes too long on such a cold day hehehehe. Poor little Fraser, for the last half an hour he was a sobbing mess because he could no longer feel his toes. Now he had merino hiking socks on and his great gortex hiking boots (as we all did) but alas it wasn’t enough to keep our feet warm because we weren’t using them in that carriage. If we had’ve been walking it would’ve been warmer I’m sure. So Fraser was completely under the blankets sobbing, I’m trying to act like nothing is wrong to the tour guide/driver, all the while trying to actually retain some of the amazing things he is telling me, blinking wildly to get the snow out of my eyes and also trying to look around at the beauty that was everywhere. It did become a little challenging near the end but I’m very glad we did this tour. It was a wonderful way to see the city.
Liv’s way of keeping the cold out
After the tour finished we crawled up to our room, peeled off our shoes and socks and promptly hopped into bed to get our feet to warm up hehe. It sure took a while but pretty soon we were toasty warm and ready to head out for a nice lunch, perhaps at a pub somewhere.
Imagine how surprised we were to find out you can’t take children into pubs. You can imagine the look on our faces lol. What sort of weird and insane law is this???? Don’t these people know that the only thing that sometimes gets parents travelling with kids through the day is a little liquid lunch assistance? We were completely stunned. I am legit still shaking my head and mouthing WTF to this…
Fortunately we did find an irish pub that apparently would let us bring the children in for a meal and a jug of beer (not sure how they get around the laws). We were only going to have a glass of beer each but the waitress said for only $3.50 more you can get a jug. And well you know what a frugal gal I am, we so had to go the jug then. It would’ve cost me money not to go the jug. And don’t you worry, we managed to polish it off with no problems at all my friends, no problems at all. There may have even been a second jug but what happens in Quebec stays in Quebec so I’ll never tell.
This place was a godsend – St. Patricks Pub
Daughter was happy because they had wifi, Son was playing a game on my phone so Husband and I sat back and relaxed over a nice pub lunch. Afterwards we wandered up the main drag of the old town area, looking in little shops, enjoying the light snowfall. Did I mention how much I love watching snow fall. It fascinates me completely how it doesn’t just fall straight down but ducks and dives and swirls around. The snow fall here was different to what we experienced in New York. This snow was much lighter and fluffy, I can’t explain it (mainly because I may not be making any sense at this point lol). The family agreed though that it felt different. Not sure what that was about.
Fraser being well, Fraser
One thing we have learned is don’t step on ice, only snow, as the ice is super duper slippery. Our Gortex waterproof hiking shoes have been perfect, I’m very glad we got them, even though they are a little on the “ugly” side. Just ask Daughter, she would happily go on for hours about how much she hates hers although I think secretly she’s glad she has something that is protecting her feet and keeping them dry. I believe she is hoping to have a “burning” ceremony of the gortex shoes on our return. Little does she know I am going to make her wear them again in a few months when we go to Europe, mwahahahahaha. Evil I am.
Look at this puppy – even he has to wear protection on his little paws
I’ve also learned it’s all about the scarf here. You have to wrap it around your mouth so you aren’t breathing in all of that cold air. The scarf trick is a good one. Husband has also embraced the earmuff. There are so many funny things I want to say about this but it’s all just too obvious and low brow hehehe. Just imagine him in them and you’ll laugh and I’ll know my work here is done.
I am obsessed with this gorgeous wall and old town gate near our hotel
For dinner we went to a really beautiful Italian place and had amazing pizza and pasta. They had a man there singing and playing the guitar and it was a fabulous atmosphere. The walk home was chilly but watching the fairy lights and the people all rugged up walking along enjoying their surroundings is fun. Watching the iceskaters is great too. I can’t decide whether the city looks prettier during the day or at night. I just know it is beautiful.
Okay I may be embracing the ear muff here too and what is with my hat, good lord!
Husband and I both agree that it is hands down the prettiest place we have ever seen. We are in love with it. Even though since this trip we have seen many more wonderful places around the world – Quebec City in winter is still the prettiest place I’ve ever seen!
A big sleep in tomorrow. The great thing about this portion of our trip – we don’t have too many plans. Just lots of wandering and eating and shopping. The things that make us happy at a relaxed wintery pace.
Side note – first time ever wearing thermal under garments. Hating the top, feel like I’m suffocating but loving the thermal pants. I definitely think I could get used to these for cold winter mornings in Canberra at AFL and basketball for early games.
Highs – horse and carriage tour, nice pub lunch, guitar player at dinner
Lows – coldness on horse and carriage tour, no kids in pubs law (boooo)