Roadtripping to Quebec City

Last week I had the opportunity to take a road trip with a few friends up to Canada for New Year’s! :)

We drove up without a problem with the exception of customs… Took us 1.5 hours at customs going into Canada and 2.0 hours coming out. They confiscated my friend’s pepper spray, which turned us into three girls travelling to a city where we don’t know anybody without any form of self defense. I really don’t understand the need to confiscate the pepper spray. A knife or other form of aggressive weapon I understand, but could we really be seen as a threat? Were we really going to run around pepper spraying people in the streets of Canada? :/ I don’t know. Personal safety is important and this rubbed me the wrong way, although I am sure there is a legal explanation for it somewhere. I guess the part that nailed it in was them not allowing my friend to reclaim the pepper spray on the way back, but instead she was forced to “abandon” it. Hm.
Anyway! Quebec City was a few short hours from the border, and we arrived at our hostel, L’Auberge International de Québec. It’s located in Vieux-Québec, or Old Québec, which is located inside the old city walls. We got there pretty late so all we had time for was dinner, but we found a cute little restaurant really close by called Le Petit Coin Latin. We had made a friend named Eckle from Toronto, originally from China, who went out to dinner with us! She was really sweet, and was travelling alone for the holiday. My friend Shan and I split a caribou pie meal and a salmon pie meal. They call caribou “wapiti” which I thought was cool. :)
Wapiti dish!

Inside the wapiti pie. CARIBOU MEAT! :o
Salmon pie mmmmm.
We rested after a long day of driving and then we went to sleep. The next day, we bundled up for what was probably the coldest day we have ever experienced.
Ice rink outside the city walls on our way to the bank!
Parliament building! We went in for a tour after looking around outside first.
“Je me souviens” is the official motto of Québec. It means “I remember” in French.
“Je me souviens” stands for remembering Québec’s history, remembering the Amerindians, as they call Native Americans, the battles that led to what Québec is today, and everything else that makes it what it is.
We headed into the Parliament building for a free guided tour, which was interesting, but as I have little interest in politics was a little sleepy at some points. I learned some interesting tidbits though, as seen in the captions in the pictures below!

We took a free guided tour of Parliament, and within the first few minutes learned that they have coats of arms within one of their halls paying homage to the large populations of Irish and Scottish immigrants living in Québec. Who would have known!
The red room! The painter who painted the painting on the far wall was supposed to paint the ceiling but died before he was able to. The ceiling was kept blank as homage to the artist.
Really nice woodwork!
Apparently the blue room used to be the green room, but the color made all the politicians look sick when it came to television, so they repainted it blue.
Afterwards we walked outside and took a walk around, back into Viex-Québec, taking plenty of pictures along the way.
These carriage rides were like $90. Oof. We were told by a store owner that the horses just poo in the streets and that they are old and overworked, and rarely last more than three years. She was really against the use of horses and carriages.
Canadians playing HOCKEY!
I love message boards like this one! If I ever have a college campus I want these everywhere.
Waterfront from Viex-Québec. There is a slide in the background. :)

 

View of Levi, which is a city across the St. Lawrence River from Québec. 

We walked around for a while, ate in an Irish pub in honor of all the Irish immigrants living in Québec (again, who knew!) and then went to a crepe house for dessert, called Casse-Crepe Breton.

Nutella, strawberries, bananas, and crème fraîche, which is like an in between a whipped cream and a sour cream, really good. :) So good. :’)

 

A map of the train system that was on the wall of our hostel. This was so interesting to look at! A lot of fun to imagine the trips you can do.

We spent the rest of the night in, resting and recuperating from the cold. The next day as cold as well, and we sensed a trend. We decided to go to a Christmas market which I thought would be outdoors, but ended up being indoors (thank God!). When we walked into the market, my fingers were pink from the cold and I had to warm them for a while before I felt them again. The market was really great! There were lots of vendors, from a little shop with locally sheared wool products, to various vinegars and wines, cheeses, and artisan crafts. Most of it was local to the area, which was great! I bought my mom some apple butter which was absolutely delicious! Some of the vendors were families, with children helping with the sales and organization of goods. It was really sweet to see. :)

Inside, the Christmas market awaits!
Tah-dah!
This place had these really good donut-like treats. I already forgot the name, but there were different glazes. There was a chocolate glaze, a maple based glaze, and a sugar glaze.

 

At one of the ends of the market there was this store that looks like it is pretty permanent. It sold various holistic medicines and imported goods from the East. This section in particular had a really great vibe. It kind of reminded me of a scene in the movie Spirited Away, where Kamajii (the man in charge of the boiler room) pulls medicines out of wooden drawers that he uses to enhance the bathhouse experience.
!!

 

I love it. :)
Apples in a really nice display.
After the Christmas market, which is really just a regular market throughout the rest of the year, we braved the cold again and walked up into the Old Port part of the city, which has some of the oldest buildings in Québec. The buildings are beautiful!

 

We stopped into a museum that was not really our cup of tea (we were too tired to stand and read tags), but they had this awesome presentation with two musicians who were playing music and using their feet to tap along a beat. They got us involved and we all tapped our feet. They even gave us these wooden spoon-like musical instruments to hit against our knees. It was great!
We then left the museum and went into this little church called Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.

 

Me in the old port!
We headed back home and on our way we passed the Château Frontenac, beautifully lit up at night. It is a luxury hotel, and you can see it from many parts of the city.

This marked a little bit past the halfway point of our trip (two full days).  We would head back pretty early each night because the nights were so cold, but it was nice to defrag (and defrost) at the hostel. I wish I had taken some pictures of our hostel because it had a really great vibe, lots of common spaces, and was pretty fun to hang around in!

Stay tuned for part 2!

A

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