Sunday, July 24, 2016

Quebec City


Well, another trip is in the books, which means you have to sit through a long and boring slideshow of many millions of photos.  

Quebec City - you were fabulous, and my mini version of Europe!

We've been back since early July, but I'm just now getting through photos. Dang tourists, they take too many photos!
This was our second time visiting Canada, and it was just as wonderful as the first.  We did Niagara Falls awhile back and loved it! My Dad had a conference and was heading to Quebec City with my Mom, so Rob and I decided to tag along and explore. Hey, any excuse to get to a new area and we're on board. Instead of flying, which by the way is so expensive any more, we drove. What happened to the days where flights weren't really all that bad? We took just about a week and left mid-day on a Tuesday, and we were then back in town right before the 4th.  

We drove up through New York and stopped in Saratoga Springs for our first night, which was so charming. I've never heard of it and certainly have never been, but apparently it's a big horse community. Not to mention it's right along Saratoga Lake, which was gorgeous. We stopped off a Marriott and immediately found a local favorite joint for a beer and food.  We 100% stay away from restaurant chains when traveling. I wish I had taken a photo of the front/inside of this place, because it was so tiny, but so quaint and full of locals. It sat right along the water and we ate outside with this perfect view. I could sit in these chairs for hours.

We got up early the next day and headed towards Montreal. We decided to break up the drive even more, and stay in Montreal one night. We stayed right in the city and started exploring as soon as we arrived. As always, we jumped on one of those hop-on/hop-off double decker buses, which as I've said before, is the best way to quickly see a new city.  What we didn't know before arriving, was that Jazz Fest was taking place. The crowds weren't too terrible, but it prevented us from going too far for dinner that evening. The city really reminded me of NYC, including traffic. For the small amount of time we had, we both enjoyed what we saw. I think to get a better idea of what else is around, we definitely needed more time. It was a quick visit, but fun !

Our lunch spot for the day, recommended by the tour guide. So good! 
 Basilique Notre-Dame - wow.  It was truly incredible! I took so many photos when we were inside, but sadly not many turned out. You had to pay $5.00 to enter, and worth every penny. It was so calm and peaceful being inside. 
Look how fun this street is! Again, if we had more time to explore, I can certainly tell this would have been a hot spot! I took this shot quickly from the top of the bus.
I love how so many of their restaurants had charming spots for outdoor seating. This was the same in Quebec City as well.

 The view from our hotel balcony. Sitting out on our balcony, we could hear the jazz music at night from the festival. 
Next up, the last leg to get us into Quebec City. It was just about 3 hours and we hit the road early.

Once we arrived, I was immediately in love. And to hear everyone speaking French just made it even more charming. Our hotel was just about two blocks from the Old City, and that's where we spent a good portion of our time. We were here for a few days, so definitely had more time to explore other areas, and each one was just as nice as the next. And the Canadians are so dang nice. Rob and I noticed this when we traveled to Niagara Falls, and it was the same here.

I'm not even sure where to start with all my photos, so I'm just going to jump in. You've been warned...there are a ton. Grab a drink, it may help you get through them faster. And by the end, I have a feeling you'll want to visit. I know Rob and I have put this back on our list of places to visit.

 This balcony needs me and a glass of wine, overlooking the charming streets.

The weather was close to perfect the entire time we were there. The days did get warm, but nothing crazy. Our last day had a few sprinkles, but it didn't prevent us from walking around.

I don't think I captured it too well, but the flowers were gorgeous, and everywhere! Even in the yard of people's homes, the flowers were blooming and incredible.

We explored, ate, shopped, drank, and had many ice cream stops! This schedule was on repeat for all the days, and it was perfect.

Yes, these are shades on their lamp posts. How fun and unique!

It was hard to find a restaurant that didn't have a gorgeous outdoor eating section...not that we were looking for one.

The chocolate coating on the ice cream was unbelievable. Trust me friends, I'd kill for more! I'm not even going to tell you how many times we had ice cream, but ever cone was pure heaven.

 Yep, the hubby bought me a new hat.

My parents did have a few obligations with the conference, but thankfully we were able to enjoy a very nice dinner together one night. It was on the 28th floor of a local hotel, and it was a revolving restaurant. The views were insane. It was the four of us and then another couple from the conference. I think we were at the restaurant for a total of 4 hours. It was the perfect leisurely dinner, and lots of wine! Best part was that it was Canada Day, and we had a perfect spot for the fireworks that night from the restaurant. Thankfully we had revolved just at the right time.  :)

Cheers, Dad! 
This is a partial view of their version of Central Park. This park is close to 300 acres.  The water in the background is the St. Lawrence River.
And as we turned...we had this on the other side. Trust me, if you plan on visiting this area, make your reservations now! You can thank me later.
 Our waitress was so sweet, and had such fun with us! 
Rob and I also made some time to get out to Montmorency Falls, which did not disappoint. Let me mention that you can also zipline across the falls.  That's a big HELL NO for this girl! This was our transportation up to the top.

These were the stairs that got us back down. We did buy a roundtrip ticket for the tram, but after seeing the stairs, we thought we'd be somewhat adventurous and take these instead. And of course with the amount of ice cream we consumed over these few days, the stairs were calling our name.
The lower part of the photo you can see the lines for the zip lining...I really wonder how many tickets these sell to crazy folks wanting to do that.

Us at the bottom of the landing and getting a little wet, but having fun! 
The view from the top of the falls looking out. This was the one morning where we had a few sprinkles, but by the time we arrived and made our way up, it all had stopped.

So, are you still with me? I told you there were a crap ton of photos.  That's what happens when you travel and then end up loving everything about your destination.  I wish I could have seen my parents a bit more and had them out on some of these adventures with us, but we still saw them at some point each day.

After the falls, we were back on the streets enjoying the last afternoon and evening. We ended up with almost 3 full days, and we really took advantage of every minute. I'm sure every photo looks the same to you, but there was so much charm every street we went down, that I couldn't stop snapping my camera. And we still didn't get to see everything in the city.

 Our breakfast spot earlier that day...oh so good! 
 Oh look, more ice cream! I'm not kidding...I lost count!

 Seriously though, how charming are these store fronts and restaurants?!

 Our dinner spot on the last night. We sat right by the window with the yellow shutters open.

Ahhh...just pure charm.  After being home for almost a month and just now going back through these photos, I could get back in the car and return to Canada tomorrow. This may be as close to Europe as I get, or at least for awhile, so I soaked it all up. And I miss hearing everyone speaking French!  Such a romantic language.  We left early morning on July 3rd and made the drive all the way back in one day. I couldn't believe we did 11 hours straight in the car, a first for us both. But we survived, and made it home safely!