Part 2 of 2
Our first mistake was looking at the weather forecast before we stepped outside.
When there’s a minus sign in front of a double digit number, that’s never a good sign.
We stayed in bed as long as we could, which wasn’t actually all that long considering there was no coffee in the room and we only had the day to explore the city.
Our first stop was breakfast. We did a little Googling and headed to a cafe not to far from the hotel.
It was called Cafe Buade, and according to the website, is the oldest restaurant in all of Old Quebec.
We hurried in from the cold street, less than a 10 minute walk from the hotel and I think we were already on the path to frostbite.
The waiter met us at the door and led us to a booth, where we both ordered coffee right away and had a look over the menus. It reminded me a little of a cafe we have at home, the Four Aces Diner, but like a French-Canadian version.
I ordered an eggs benedict with duck, Dan ordered an omelette. We inhaled our food, gulped down coffee and then were reluctant to leave again even though there was a day of exploring ahead of us. Eventually we wrapped back up in our many layers and headed back into the cold.
Second stop was the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec. The beautiful primatial church is the oldest in all of the America’s north of Florida and New Mexico. It was located on site since 1647, but had been destroyed twice by fires and rebuilt.
The inside of the church was beautiful, decorated with ornate gold carvings and detailed paintings and statues. It smelled very strongly on incense and burning candles. All the wooden pews were highly polished, everything is taken care of in immaculate detail.
And there was a small gift shop located inside.
We wandered around for a few minutes, taking it all in. It really was an amazing piece of architecture.
Back into the cold, we took a walk towards the Museum of Civilization. Unfortunately, once again with my horrible navigation skills, I think we may have spent a bit longer in the cold than we needed to by taking the “scenic route.” We did make it to the Museum before either of us suffered any debilitating frost bite.
The Museum of Civilization had a few different exhibits from a seemingly random collection of odds and ends from different eras to an exhibit called “My 2,000 year-old Double.” One of the most interesting parts was a sculpture of photographs. On the outside ring were coins embellished with people’s faces, next were drawings and portraits, then poloroid photographs, and then film strips, modern photos, and finally a smart phone with the selfie camera setting open.
Another really cool part of the museum was the Observe exhibit, tailored to kids, it was the most fun part. There were keys in each room to find, six in total, total darkness rooms, rooms with artificial stars and more odds and ends collections. Dan and I crushed the key finding game, I think we’re ready for more adult challenges now.
Finished in the museum and headed back into the frigid weather in search of some lunch or finding La Citadelle de Québec.
Instead, we found a cool cobblestone (I’m assuming) street for pedestrian traffic only. The snow-covered street was maybe only ten or so feet wide, lined with small shops and businesses. We poked our heads into a few of the art and galleries, some amazing work. Both of us commented that it would be nice to be rich enough to just waltz in with a wad of cash and pick out a nice painting for the hallway.
Maybe I should add that to my 10 year goals and plans.
One of the goals we had for the trip was to eat some poutine. I’d only had it a few times before, and Dan had never had it. Just as we were talking about it, a sign appeared in front of us. Literally.
Poutine. Sandwiches. Beer. Warmth from the frigid weather.
We were sold.
The poutine (fries, gravy, and cheese curds) was pretty good, the beer was better. I think we maybe should have gone in search of a less touristy restaurant for some real poutine, but it was still pretty good!
Fueled up with fried goodness, we headed back out to brave the cold and to find La Citadelle de Québec again.
And again instead of the Citadella, we found a toboggan ride. The tracks were solid ice, so instead of flowing through thick fluffy snow, we shot down out of the gate like a bat out of hell. It was hella fun, and I would have gone many more times if I could have felt my face.
With the day coming to a close, and a 5ish hour drive ahead of us, we planned out our last few stops.
Observatoire De La Capitale was a 31 story high building new Old Quebec that allowed for stunning panoramic views of the city. Plus it was probably one of the fastest elevators I had ever been on, whooshing noises and everything. Although not quite as fancy as the gold mirror ones form our hotel.
The views at the top were pretty amazing. It’s always interesting to watch people going about their lives from above. We saw joggers, and skiers and probably a lot of tourists like ourselves. People watching does have to be up there on the list of my favorite things to do.
For more people watching we headed to a cafe to load up on some much-needed caffeine. We drove there from the observation tower and somehow Dan always has the best luck with parking. Even on a busy Saturday night, we managed to get a parking space only a block from the cafe we were headed to. I need that kind of luck.
The cafe was called Cafe La Masion Smith. Very cute, a bit crowded and we had to wait for a couple to leave the good people watching seats, but it was worth it. And they had Canadianos. Which is an Americano with maple syrup. I highly recommend it.
And as we finished out maple syrup infused coffees, that was the end of our weekend getaway.
I probably should have taken more photos, maybe not complained about the cold so much, but it was an amazing birthday gift and surprise. And to get a little cheesy, it was from an amazing person who I was very happy to share the weekend with. (In case you didn’t get it, that’s Dan I’m talking about.)