For nine hours. This photo is what I watched for almost nine hours.
Oh, sorry. I should also add that this was during a good patch. Why? Well as you can see…you can see! As luck would have it, almost as soon as we hit Montreal the snow/sleet/hail (ok, not hail but the other two) started pelting us with all of their might.
What does a Bermudian driving in this kind of weather do? Well defer to their Canadian travel buddy of course! One too many close calls with big trucks and I was done.
But I get ahead of myself.
As you may recall from my immigration posting a few days ago, I had left the sanctuary of Bermuda and it’s 70 degree Fahrenheit weather to travel to Toronto for the Christmas to New Years break. Not satisfied with six days in Toronto, my boyfriend and I decided to also fit-in a three day trip to Quebec City.
Why not, right? Wrong. This is the tale of the three day trip that really should not have been and it all started at the rental counter.
Patience is a virtue that I don’t often exhibit, but I calmly waited as the couple in front of the couple in front of us took 40 minutes to organize a car they had already booked. I even waited as the next couple took 20 minutes to organize their car.
But when it came to our turn and the female from the very first couple decided to return to the counter, interrupt our conversation and ask something trivial about GPS (if you are too lazy to open a map then you most definitely should not be cutting in front of me), I had, had enough.
“Sorry you were saying we could put two drivers onto the car rental?”
“Uh…” said the embarrassed salesman, “Yes. Sorry mam, I need to finish with these customers first.”
Yeah you do, but “first female” did not seem impressed. Oh well.
Seven hours into the drive and we could see the home stretch until Montreal raised its roadworks and complicated the entire situation. An hour, multiple U turns and the snow started…..oh crap.
Nevertheless, with sore bums and tired eyes we finally find our resting place. It appears to be a cozy, little inn that is close to restaurants and shops.
The only problem? At 9.30 p.m. the only place nearby that would serve us was the grocery store where the lonely workers are sweeping the mud covered floor for the millionth time. No fear, we can picnic.
At 3.30 a.m. I realized that something had been picnicing on my legs! Bed bugs.
Now, I have traveled around the world. I have stayed in hostels in Thailand that cost me $2 a night. I slept in a tent for four nights in Patagonia.
And yet the time that I get attacked by bugs? Well that has to be in Quebec City in a place that cost about $175 a night!
The worst part? The night manager claimed he could not move us to a new room that night! Luckily, the bugs had been satiated and I was too tired after nine hours of driving to stay awake.
In the morning it was a matter of negotiating with the manager and luckily the previous evening was forgotten as we entered the snowland called Quebec City!
I could not feel my toes…..but it was beautiful.
We wandered through the Plains of Abraham where the British and French had some of their first clashes in 1759-1760. There are two towers (Martello 1 and 2) which we were told would give us insight into the military clashes.
Both were closed.
Never fear. It was a cool view of the St. Lawrence River that passes-by Quebec City and it was easy enough to slosh through the snow to the Citadel. A key part of the city’s fortifications, we clearly found the wrong entrance to the Citadel, so instead we finished the walkway that continues along the river and expelled us in front the of famous Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.
Luckily there was a coffee shop (read: Starbucks) right there so we could jump in and defrost our feet before continuing on. Yes, I had to do it. I had to have my Starbucks, but so did my fingers!
Wandering on….well sloshing on, we landed across the street in the Fort Museum. This was going to be a slow trip. The Fort Museum, Robyn?
Yes. Actually it was quite interesting and one of the most hilarious little shows I have seen in a while. Fake smoke exhaled from toy guns, little lights flickered from boats in the middle of battle and the history of Britain’s win over New France…but don’t worry they were such ardent culturalists that they kept the French.
Anyway, enough of the history lesson. Now it was time for lunch.
We found a pub and a Texan couple to keep us company as we defrosted and set-out again onto the streets of Quebec City.
After stuffing ourselves it was time to find a different Quebec….bye, bye the unwarm welcome and on to……Well you’ll have to come back to see what we found (I promise it gets better).