We are back after a few days in Canada. We have taken a little delay in writing our blog so today we take you back by two months to plunge back into the heart of winter. During the first weekend of February we decided to go live the Quebec winter carnival experience. This is apparently a highlight of the Quebec winter. It was therefore the occasion for a trip between friends for a festive weekend.
We rent a van and take the road from Toronto at 8 on Friday morning because the trip is very long, between 8:30 and 9h which across Canada is nothing at all! After braving the elements, we arrive in Quebec and on the advice of our friend we stop for eating a poutine. It was the first and also the last time! But we have to eat well and at this time there is not much left open. We then return to our hotel room to get us off the road and rest before starting our carnival weekend!
Day 1 in Quebec
On this Saturday morning, it is cold and it is well covered in ice. We start towards old Quebec to begin our winter journey. It is with joy that we find the atmosphere of the old city and its fortifications, the Chateau Frontenac. In short, it is here that Quebec was born!
We start by buying the carnival efigie that will allow us to enjoy all the activities offered during the weekend. Here we are on a slide course, ice sculptures and ice stamps on the ice, a whole program! We start with the slide of the Chateau Frontenac to put us in the leg and despite the intense cold the experience is very nice. We must quickly get warm before continuing because the day will be long!
We then continue our walk in the streets of Quebec where we come across several ice bars and braziers installed nearby. The atmosphere is really nice! We head to the Bonhomme palace, the carnival king, carved in the ice and really very impressive. I donned my sash and thoroughly immersed in all the clichés associated with the event.
Many other sculptures come to decorate our visit including the famous iron throne of the famous Game of Thrones series. The fans are noticeable right away! It's still cold, if not longer, and we need to warm up again. A good hot chocolate at a cafe is needed!
We have a strong will to get out of our cozy nest and go back to brave the cold! But we still have to win the Plains of Abraham. After some photos and big hugs to Bonhomme, we left the Loto Zone to go to the Plains of Abraham, which are part of the Battlefields Park, theater of the short but fierce battle between French and British in 1759.
It hosts the bulk of activities including many slips on large buoys, car stamps and sculptures from around the world and a spa! You can also skate, compete with snowballs, take a little sleigh ride, participate in a giant bowling game, or learn to snowboard.
Although tempting we did not want to dare the experience, as it is really too cold for us. We are content to hit some slopes which is already worth many laughs. The night falls on Quebec and the decorations are illuminated which makes the place even more magical. We would forget (almost) the cold! Then it's time to set off the carnival parade.
We head immediately to the Sugar Shack at the entrance of the village, to enjoy our first maple taffy. The maple syrup is heated, then poured over the compacted snow, in strips aligned side by side. With our little wooden spatulas, we just need to wrap the delicious sweet stuff around the stick, and we feast on a typical Quebec lollipop!
Day 2 in Quebec
The next morning we decide to stop at Montmorency Falls. These are 83 meters high, making them the tallest in Quebec and although much smaller, they are taller than Niagara Falls! The frozen falls show (but not completely either) is amazing and we take a closer look at them as we walk on the frozen lake that surrounds them.
We even see some daring men climbing the wall of ice that forms in winter. It is even colder than watching it and we decide not to go back to downtown Quebec City because today another event awaits us. We take part in a canoe race on the St. Lawrence, caught in the ice of course!
Again we find the way to arrive late and we miss the start of the race but fortunately for us it works on a system of delayed starts. So we can still attend the entry in the running of some teams. This is a very impressive and dangerous sport. It requires great coordination because all the crew members have to advance at the same rate on the ice before rushing into the part of the river that is cleared.
We witness a man slip on the ice and bangs his head hard enough and is then evacuated on a stretcher. The race is very physical that's why we take our hat to some feminine crews who do not demerit absolutely! Before heading back to Montreal, we decided to make a last lap on the Plains of Abraham to test new slips and especially the buffer cars that intrigue us a lot since the beginning.
But in the end it is not very impressive because we spend most of the time trying to control his gear and do more of everything on himself than anything else! We end the carnival by raising my glass of caribou scented with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg to warm up.
We leave at the end of the afternoon and it will take us nearly 4 hours to overcome the terrible traffic conditions to Montreal. There is snow, and ice on the highway and it is midnight when we finally take the plunge at the bed!