Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ringing in the New Year in Quebec City

Quebec City! It's been nearly a month now since we were there, but it still feels like we just got back! 

After spending the Christmas holidays with both sides of the family, Ryan and I took the train to Quebec City for a mini-vacation. Our trip centered around ringing in the new year, and oh my goodness was it a memorable one! 

Before I get into that, I should start out from the beginning, namely, the journey there! We had bought our tickets way back in August, but unfortunately had not verified the departure times before we left for the train on the 31st. Turns out, we missed our train! The usual protocol dictates that we were supposed to have been notified about the departure adjustment, but sadly, we never got the call. In any case, the train attendant was incredibly apologetic and helpful about the situation, and booked us on the next departure to Quebec City...only this time we would be going FIRST CLASS! 

We quickly got over our initial disappointment about missing our train, and excitedly made our way to the first class lounge. Getting to Quebec City from Kingston required us to take two trains, so it was a pretty long trip. However, being served snacks, meals, and an unlimited supply of whatever we wanted to drink (whisky for Ryan and vodka-crans for me), certainly turned it into an enjoyable journey!   

Once we arrived in the city, we took a short taxi to our hotel, right in the heart of the Old City. We stayed at the Hotel Clarendon, and had a lovely time! The hotel is incredibly proximate to all of the major sites and attractions in the city, and is a beautiful old building with nice rooms and spacious bathrooms! 

Since we were only in Quebec City for a short time, we didn't spend too much time in the hotel, as there were lots of things to see and do on our to-do list. 

First on that list, after checking into the hotel around 10:30pm on the 31st, was walking over to Grande Allée, for a spectacular party to ring in the new year! The streets were filled with people as we walked up the hill towards the live music concert beside the ferris wheel in the middle of the street. When we arrived, there was a French-Canadian band playing some very up-beat folk music. I wouldn't normally say it was my style, but it was really quite good, and certainly kept everyone pumped up while we stood in the cold waiting for the clock to strike midnight!

At about 11:30, they had a DJ come on, and he played some dance music until about 11:50, when the French-Canadian band came back on stage for the final 10 minutes left in 2015. Right at midnight, everyone turned around to watch an AMAZING fireworks show over the water! I have pretty high standards when it comes to fireworks, and these were certainly impressive! As Ryan puts it, "the entire show was like one big finale". Once the fireworks show concluded, we decided to head back to the hotel and get to bed, since we had already had a pretty long day, and staying up till midnight is not something we usually do! I'm not normally a big New Year's Eve celebrator, but I had a really great time in Quebec City, and would definitely recommend it! I've spent New Year's Eve in a few places throughout the country, and Quebec City has absolutely got the most fun party I can think of! 

After sleeping in a bit later than we usually do, Ryan and I headed off for breakfast at a really quaint little restaurant called Le Conchon Dingue. Ryan ordered a verty hearty breakfast poutine, and I went with a more traditional classic of eggs, hash browns, and sausages. 

Once we were finished eating, we spent the morning walking the Plains of Abraham and exploring the area around our hotel. Since it was January 1st, most places were closed unfortunately, so most of our time was spent outdoors. It wasn't too cold while we were there, so it was really quite nice to walk around and explore for hours on end! 

The only downside to visiting Quebec City over the holidays, was that a number of the restaurants that we had hoped to check out, were closed. We still got to sample lots of great food from the restaurants we did end up eating at, but they weren't our original top choices. Ryan and I agreed, another trip to Quebec City will have to be in order, just to eat more of the delicious food alone! So, even though it was a very short trip (we checked out of our hotel at noon on the 2nd), we still had a fantastic time! Quebec City is such a beautiful place, with a rich culture and history that is definitely worth exploring. I didn't mention it earlier, but I had the flu for the entire time we were there, and even that didn't stop me from having a great time! It certainly made the long trip home pretty uncomfortable, but that's all in the past now!

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