I'm sharing this trip report to pay homage to the amazing people who helped me plan our visit to Quebec City. I cannot thank you all enough with special mentions going out to Bogwoppit, RickB and numerous others.
We had the most truly wonderful visit to Quebec City. My whole family of 4 is completely in love with this magical place.
Here goes our adventure:-
Arriving in Quebec City - 29 December, 2012
Essentially the whole day was spent travelling. Our car picked us up at our hotel in New York at 8.30am for our 11.15am flight. We got to the airport quickly, no traffic this morning for some reason but I am glad we are leaving NYC, it’s bound to become insane in the lead up to NYE.
Security and check in were smooth but due to a massive snow storm in Canada the flight we were catching with Air Canada arrived 1 hour late. That wasn’t too much of a problem, we know how to fill in our time at airports so soon we were winging our way to Montreal. The problem of course came once we got to Montreal because by then we had missed our connecting flight to Quebec City. This is where the fun started.
We got rushed through Customs which was the only bonus of what is about to happen. The customs line was what looked like hours long so truly being skipped to the front was a wonderful thing. By the time we got to where we needed to be about half of our original flight had missed the connection to Quebec City. This meant they had alot of people to fit on other flights. Which meant another long long line trying to get to a desk operator to help you out. I think we stood in that line for over an hour, perhaps longer.
Then we finally made it to the desk and the next flight she could get us on was 11pm that night. Since it was around 3pm you can imagine what unwelcome news this was. Sigh!!! But hey, what can you do, not a thing. It’s just more that as a parent you are thinking – how will my poor babies go for that amount of time stuck in the airport (which kind of translates as “are they going to drive me crazy during that wait time”).
The lady said she could put us on standby for the 7pm flight though and that we should just hang around that departure gate just before the flight boarded because we may get on that flight if some people didn’t show up. This seemed like a pipe dream but hey, I like a dream.
We thought we would wander over to that gate lounge and just set up camp there until the 7pm flight and we would then move to the 11pm flight lounge if that didn’t work.
So off we wander to the gate which was quite a long way for some reason. We finally found where it was and got comfortable and then DH decided to go for a walk, he’s not so good at the waiting and likes to stretch his legs. The kids settled in with Facebook for her, ipad for him and I decided to have a little nap. I didn’t even realise I had nodded off and the kids were waking me saying they thought they had heard our surname called to come up to the gate desk. This didn’t seem likely since it was still only around 4pm. I assumed it was another family with our name since it is fairly common but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to go and check. So off I toddle with our tickets etc. to see the lady. She says I understand you are waiting on standby, we can get you on that flight yadda yadda yadda. I’m all like, oh yay, we get to fly out at 7pm instead of 11pm. That makes me very happy. She prints out the boarding passes and I wanted to do a little happy dance. Just by chance I asked her what time she thought that flight would board. She said that flight is boarding right now.
I nearly had a little meltdown right then and there. DH was somewhere off in the airport, goodness knows where. Like seriously, I thought I may have a little vomit from the stress of what to do. I was trying to call him but our international sim cards sometimes take a bit of time to work and I couldn’t help thinking, OMG, what happens if I can’t get a hold of him. Fortunately I eventually got him and I told him to run run run back to us.
Meanwhile I was telling (I may actually have been yelling, who knows at this point, telling/yelling, it's all the same) the kids to get everything together, that meant getting shoes back on, packing up backpacks etc. It was really a mad scramble. Finally DH came running up looking like he had run a marathon. I think I can say with absolute certainty that the man hasn’t run that fast or far for a good 20 years hahaha. We finally boarded (having lost a few years off our lives) and took off nearly 6 hours earlier than we thought we would. What a relief, even though for a few minutes there it was more stressful than a parent teacher interview. Whew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We landed in Quebec City with no fuss or bother to be greeted by snow snow and more snow. For a gal who’d been dreaming about the stuff, I was about to get a serious dose. Caught a cab to our hotel, Palais Royal (thank you TA forum) which turned out to be as lovely as I had hoped. Beautiful lobby (DD says that’s essential), stunning room with a separate living area and the view out the window, sigh. It was of the most precious winter scene which included iceskaters, Christmas lights, historic buildings and plenty of snow. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.
We dumped our bags, rugged up and headed out to have a quick look around and find a bite to eat for dinner. We wandered down the most beautiful street filled with picture postcard perfect shops decorated for Christmas perfectly. It was the stuff dreams are made of and I was so happy we had chosen to come here. It definitely did not disappoint.
For those who don’t know much about Quebec City, it is French Canadian and predominantly French speaking. We were soon to find out how much this was the case. We were a little shocked that most of the people in customer service/tourism jobs were not as bilingual as these not very French speaking aussies had anticipated hehe. At times it was quite challenging to even get a bottle of water which surprised me greatly. It definitely gave us a kick up the bum to learn more French before we go to France in April 2013 I can tell you.
Obviously we had some basics but it would definitely help to be a little more fluent.
It was fairly cold outside, the coldest we’ve experienced on the US/Canada trip so far but it wasn’t unbearable. Although DD is the least in love with the cold hehe. Learning to navigate the snowy icy streets is new to us but we managed very well. I will never get tired of looking at snow I don’t think. It fascinates me how everything simply looks prettier with snow on it and around it hehe.
We finished the day absolutely already in love with this beautiful city.
Highs – Quebec City beautifulness, hotel, snow
Lows –delayed flights