01.03.2008 - 02.03.2008 -10 °C
We realised with not much time left in Montreal that we should get out and see some of the other parts of this provence and country. So on the first weekend in March we hired a car and headed to the provicial capital Quebec City to check it out in its 400th year.
We managed to score great accommodation in a hostel inside the old city and took ourselves on a self guided tour through the snow (though some may say it was a minor snow storm). The old city is beautiful with some amazing architecture and history.
Following our Lonely Planet guide's walking tour we wandered around the upper city and down to the ports for hot chocolate. We took the Funicular (wall climbing, glass walled elevator) back up into the upper city.
On the Saturday it was snowing fairly heavily, but Sunday was fine and Sunny. We drove out to the Ice Hotel - a functioning hotel that is constructed entirely out of ice. The outer structure is made out of snow that has been passed through a snow blower 3 times to blend it up, the inside is sculpted out of ice shipped in from a bottled water company to ensure it is crystal clear. The interior is maintained at -5 to -9 degrees C inside to prevent any of it from melting.
Eleni loved the ice (and had a lick of the doorway), she absolutely loved the slide they had inside as well.
A highlight for the grown ups was the ice bar where we got to drink local apple ice wine out of pure ice glasses. Very yummy.
We went on the guided tour which told us that overnight guests are given a -40 degree rated sleeping bag and training to survive through the night below freezing (don't leave your contact lenses/dentures in water on the night stand!).
We also learned that they had an excess of bookings this year and so built 4 igloos in the grounds. The igloos were awesome. I can now say I've crawled into and sat inside a real igloo!
After the Ice hotel we went and visited a "1st nations" village -set up on an Amerindian reserve the indiginous peoples have created a mini village showing their ways of life over 400 years ago before the Europeans came. They had a long house which this particular tribe were known to build, canoes built the traditional way, fish drying and smoking areas and a teepee!
A really awesome trip, definitely something to return to in the summer when everything is open!