Final Day in Quebec City

Hey followers, today was our last full day in Quebec and Katy had an extensive list of sights to see before we departed this fine city. We woke at a reasonable hour and had cereal in our BnB as a measure of saving money.

Firstly we walked through the old town and tick off the sights we hadn’t stumbled across just yet. We started with Le Petite Champlain which involved a few of the cobblestone streets and a couple of the plazas. Royal Plaće andSt Johns Gate on the old town walls.

From the old town walls we got a great view of both the old town and the new town as shown in the pictures above. The wall obviously separates the new and old towns.

From here we walked directly uphill for what seemed like an age to the Plains of Abraham. This is the site of many battles. If anyone who knows the correct history of Quebec City is reading please correct me if I’m wrong. From my understanding the French settled here on the east coast in the late 1600s, the British invaded in the late 1700s and successfully made it British soil. All while the Americans were also trying to invade Quebec. As it was on the east coast it made it a great center for boat trade etc, hence all the fighting for it.

Anyway the Plains de Abraham were nothing but plains. Lovely to walk but not much else to see apart from a few statues. It’s a very significant historical site so we walked through it but there wasn’t much to see beyond the fields of grass.

We then walked through a few various attractions through the city including the old town walls, local murals, the Joan of Arc statue and streets of the old town.

We went home for a rest after our extensive personal walking tour of both old and new Quebec. Katy watched an episode from the new season of “Black Mirror” on Netflix on my word, and we very much enjoyed the rest.

Afterwards we walked to a nearby to watch the US Open golf and have a drink before dinner. We sat down in a lovely spacious atmospheric pub only to find out it was playing “sports news” and not the golf and also it didn’t have a happy hour because it was Saturday. We sipped down our (begrudgingly) delicious drink and headed to a fancy resteraunt we had mad reservations for dinner. We were soaking wet as we arrived to our pre organised booking to one of the fanciest resteraunts in Quebec City. We decided to do a fancy dinner, not for any reason other than we’ve been fairly cheap through this part of our holiday and “treat yo’self” was ringing loudly in both our heads. I had a duck confit and Katy the Fillet Mignon steak after our beef carpaccio entree. We even accompanied it with a few wines which is very unlike us. I particularly like the strawberry wine. I apologise for the profound lack of photography. We legitimately enjoyed our meal so much we forgot to take photos before it was too late.

After dinner we went to the Irish pub next door to our accommodation to watch the golf and chill out. After a rough few days of learning of family health problems back in Australia it was lovely to unwind and relax without a worry.

The next day arose and we jumped in our car and headed for Ottawa. We had 4.5 hours driving ahead of us and a full tank of fuel. Today is Father’s Day in Canada so we were planning to make it back to Ottawa for a Sunday afternoon BBQ. We stopped at a waterfall called Montmorency Waterfall on our way through towards Ottawa. Katy had read that it is bigger than Niagara Falls but I couldn’t see it. Upon requesting the statistics again she couldn’t produce them so you can make up your mind for yourselves using our pictures.

There was another suspension bridge across the top so you could get the best view of the millions of litres of water rushing down underneath you. This Canada trip really isn’t doing much for my fear of heights is it. Once again I didn’t let the fear stop me and persisted, edging forward onto that bridge as the 6 years old behind me are bouncing past! 😱

The drive felt slow and unusually took longer than it was meant to. Unsure if I left my lead foot at home or that google maps estimation was out but it ended up taking about 6 hours with a stop instead of 5 hours. We made it back to Kyrie and Dave’s house for a Father’s Day dinner with some of the family I hadn’t met. After the people at dinner dispersed and headed home the youngens played another game of “Mexican Train Dominoes” and this time I was determined not to be beaten by a single point like at the cottage. All my might went into this game and I can safely say I scraped through, winning by a narrow 2 points with Kyrie close behind. I’d like to thank my family and all my supporters during my gruelling Mexican Train career and have decided to retire my profession on a win 😎

Tomorrow we drive another 5 hours to Toronto. Speak soon!

M 🙃

Day 19 – A storm in Lévis

Bonjour!

Today we woke up and before I even opened my eyes could hear the rain pouring outside. So I did what everyone who’s on holiday would do. I rolled over and went back to sleep. In fairness – Mitch had that awful (no) sleep in the hostel the night before so he was in need of a lie in.

By late morning we had both woken up, checked the golf (c’mon Adam Scott!) and gotten ready for the rest of the day. We got some lunch from a nearby cafe (honestly our air BnB couldn’t be in a better location) and decided on what to do today. The weather was predicted to be storming but it was beautiful sunshine when we left the cafe so we headed to the port to board the ferry to Lévis.

On the way we spotted a what we though was a bunch of police cars chasing someone buuuuut it turned out to be a police escort for a road race. We cheered them on while waiting to cross the road.

The return trip to Lévis (which is a little city across the river from Quebec City) was cheap and quick. We jumped on just as they were closing the doors and headed upstairs to take in the view. This is primarily the reason for getting the ferry is the view of the city is beautiful as you pull away.

Here’s me and Mitch in the sun on the ferry…

And here are the storm clouds rolling in.

And here is Lévis, 5 mins after we got off the ferry.

Like I said, we had seen that it was meant to storm but the inner optimist in me believed that the sunshine would win out. Clearly it didn’t.

Anyway we waited probably 15/20 mins for the storm to calm down and headed to a micro Brewery across from the ferry terminal. The rain had pretty much halted once we finished our drinks. We explored Lévis a bit and I’ll be honest. It’s boring af. I had read that it’s a dinky little villagey-city; and nice to explore but to be honest; there was houses and not much else.

Saying that, I’m paining my future home this colour.

We did have a google of what to do and came up with “look at the view of Quebec from this side of the river”. So with that we headed back to our side and faired much better. Example 1 – here is me back in the sun.

We walked around La Basse-Ville which is the lower part of the city and where the original settlement was founded. It’s very cute with lots of cobbled streets, steep staircases and fancy restaurants. We passed a fudgerie (yes that’s a thing) and you know we stopped to buy some; as I type this it’s almost finished. We also booked in for dinner tomorrow at one of the restaurants we passed. This can be our 1 fancy meal of the holiday.

For tonight though we had Chinese. It’s not got anything on paisley Chinese but it was yummy none the less. After this we headed to the bar in Le Château Frontenac – 1608 – for a (very pricey) cocktail with a view.

Another day, no dolla – Katy xxx

Quebec City

Last night I had a very rough sleep as we were in our first and only youth hostel. It costs us $60 for the night and we were only in Montreal for the night so figured it would be fine. The hostel itself was lovely, clean and had wonderful facilities. Had a rooftop beer garden and two separate jacuzzis on the roof, a fully equipped kitchen, bar with free pool table and a car park. The problem wasn’t with the place itself but more the fact we were sleeping in a dorm with 10 other people. I was sweltering hot and didn’t get actually asleep until around 5am which is horrendous. As far as I’m aware Katy didn’t manage too badly and had a nice sleep, I tend to really struggle to sleep when it’s hot and there’s no fan/air con etc.

Anyway we drove the 2.5 hours to Quebec City which is the most eastern point of our Canada trip. As we arrive to the cobblestone streets it really felt like we were arriving in a different country. Everything is 100% French speaking and even the architecture has a European feel to it. It’s magnificently unique with lots to see and a surprising amount of things to do. There seems to be a lot of young people around too. Haven’t yet figured out if it’s because there’s a big uni or if everyone was on school excursions 😂

We are staying at a lovely studio Airbnb right in the middle of “old town” Quebec City which is World Heritage Listed. We couldn’t be any more central it’s perfect. Our little studio is small and perfect for what we need too. The lovely French lady let us leave our bags while she cleaned it and we went exploring.

While we waited to check in we explored all the alleyways and market stalls we could find. Just letting ourselves wander without worrying about where we actually ended up. As expected, we stumbled across most things that we had read were worth seeing. We walked through what is now the Fairmont Hotel (formerly Le Chateau Frontenac). It’s a hotel in the old city center that was originally used as a secure secret conference center for Winston Churchill and the military to make important decisions on World War 2. It’s now transformed into a 5 star hotel in all its opulence. It has various shops and bars and some very interesting art galleries too.

I know mum loves Salvador Dali and they were selling these sculptures for around $60,000. I even got in trouble for taking photos. We glanced passed the bars as we knew we couldn’t afford a cocktail on our backpackers budget but they were all very quaint.

We then kept walking and found ourselves on this pier walk that goes around the old Citadel. I was hoping to check out the citadel but it’s all closed for what looks like safety reasons so I wonder if they’ll eventually turn that into a museum as well.

From the back of the citadel you look over the old town and can see the landscape in all its beauty.

I have included this next photo for two reasons. As you know I’m growing my hair so you can see it’s starting to look nicer. And also I’m modelling my second lululemon garment. My shorts!

This was the landscape. You can see the old town underneath and Le Chateau Forntenac in the background

We headed back and rested in our Airbnb before heading out for dinner and to watch the Raptors basketball game. The 6th game out of the finals series. THEY WON! They won a very tense game that was neck and neck the entire way and this mean that they’ve won the entire finals series 4-2 in a best of 7 series. The first time the Toronto Raptors have ever won the NBA Championship.

We had a great night watching the basketball on the big screen sharing a delicious nachos over a few drinks in the nearest Irish pub.

Still have two more days in Quebec City so we will be exploring and eating our way through the best parts of what seems to be a very foody city 😋

Au Revoir

M 🙂

Day 17 – Montréal

Another day another city. We woke up in Ottawa with our bags packed (go me for pre-packing!) and hit the road. We’d been warned that if we thought Canadians were bad drivers in general, French Canadians were going to give us a run for our money. Let’s say they’re not wrong – y’all suck at driving.

Thankfully we made it to Montreal in one piece, although a little stressed. We got the last parking space at our hostel and headed out to explore. As it turns out, our hostel was in what you’d call “the gay bit” of Montreal. This month is Pride so this area was decorated FABULOUSLY!

After wandering through a public garden where everyone was enjoying their lunch in the sun we spotted what appeared to be a mini cannabis farm. I know it’s legal here but this is still weird for us.

We continued walking and stopped for some lunch; poutine is supposed to be best in Quebec so that’s what we ordered; and enjoyed the atmosphere.

With only one day in Montreal we took to trusty google to see what was a do not miss in the city. It came up with Notre Dame Basilica (which conveniently we were sat in front of) and Mount Royal which was a 45 minute walk away and most of it was uphill! 🥵

Be warned, Mount Royal is like being on a never ending stair master, I only remembered I had been here before because I remember hating it 5 years ago as well. The view is worth it though, a full panorama view of the city. After all this walking we returned to our hostel to relax a bit (and assess whether we got any sunburn).

My overall thoughts are that Montreal is much more spread out than anticipated and it makes it hard to decide if you’ve seen everything. We gave it our best shot with the 11km that we walked and we had some amazing weather on our side. I think it would be much better to do with a local as I’ve come away thinking although it was beautiful, it was just a bit “meh”.

-Katy xxx

Last day in Ottawa

We woke at the cottage by the lake to a wonderful view. We slept in due to the time difference from Calgary so a 10:30am wake up was actually an 8:30am wake up. As expected everybody had eaten breakfast because we didn’t expect them to wait for us sleepyheads. We spent most of the day lazing around the cottage and played a few board games between breakfast and lunch. We played this interesting dominos game called “Mexican Train”. It was a long game and over 12 rounds Katy came out victorious, second place went to me a grand total of 1 point behind. After 12 rounds I lose by 1 point. You all know me well, I wasn’t sour about it at all 😐

Afternoon time arose and we needed to scoot back to Kyrie and Dave’s house so said our goodbyes and jumped in the car. It was peak hour so it took twice as long but we eventually made it to their home and we quickly changed and went to “lone-star” for unlimited fajitas.

My only photo of the night consists of our margaritas. They were delicious. Afterwards we went to get “Dairy Queen” which is basically Canada’s version of the McFlurry but a million times more delicious. We had some reservations at a sports bar to watch the next Raptors game but all 5 of us decided we were tired and over full of food so we cancelled the reservation and headed home to stream the game in the comfort of our own home. The Raptors lost the game 106-105… thats right they lost by one point. As a consequence they have to continue playing in this best-of-7 finals series. The score now sits at 3-2 to the Raptors.

This morning we scrubbed ourselves out of bed and headed into downtown Ottawa. Kyrie had to work a 12 hour day and Dave had things to do so Katy, Kirsten and myself headed in for some sightseeing. Kirsten lived around here for 2 years so we were relying on her to show us the sights. The weather for the first time was very overcast and windy but as yknow, nothing can stop us, because we’ve spent our time in Scotland and no bad weather can stop us!

We walked to all the main points of the city. Seeing all the sights and tasting all the foods (as usual)

Beaver tails are a delicacy here (according to Kirsten) and let me tell you they were just as delicious as she made out. I don’t actually know what it is but from what I understand it’s deep fried pastry with the obvious toppings. Delicious!!

We walked up towards Parliament Hill

There’s lots of cool stuff to see in this area of town. Unfortunately there’s a lot of construction going on at the moment so we couldn’t walk all the way around and it was pricey to go in but we saw all the things we wanted to see from the outside anyway.

We did some shopping in the city and ALSO! I just remembered I made my second Lululemon purchase. Both girls were so proud of me. I bought a pair of shorts that are sooo comfy and can be used pretty much for workout/comfy wear/walking around. They were pricey as expected but I’m happy. Will show up in pictures later on in the blog.

We walked passed the Fairmony which looks like a castle and is set on the river. It’s also right next the canal that has a lock system that can let water and/or boats through. It was quite a cool sight so I thought I’d test my gymnastics. It was pretty high up so Katy was not impressed and refused to take pictures as I tried. 😂 these were the best I got.

You can see the province of Quebec on the other side of the river. Quebec is the French part of Canada. It’s a lot more French than I expected but I’m sure I’ll get used to it in our coming days of travels (Montreal/Quebec City) This side of the river is Ontario and the other side is Quebec. It’s one city but the river is the border between the two provinces.

Kirsten took us to this street halfway home with more shops because Katy had some birthday money to spend at the bigger LuluLemon store. We spent some time there, went and got a few groceries for Kirsten for the week and got a famous pizza called Willy’s pizza that Kyries brother swears by. Once again he wasn’t lying it was delicious. We polished off our pizzas and watched some Netflix before heading to bed.

Into our 4 wheeled companion tomorrow morning, destination; Montreal.

Night

M

2 weeks – Cottage in Quebec

Hello again! We’ve reached our 2 week/halfway mark in Canada today and had a blast doing it.

We woke up in Ottawa this morning and had breakfast with Colleen, Buck and Kirsten in the garden. It was a beautiful morning today and since they have a covered gazebo, I was all for it! I’m still itchy from last nights bites 🤬

After breakfast we quickly packed our bags and drove to Kyrie and Dave’s (Kyrie is my [2nd] cousin and Dave is her husband). Kirsten lived with them from 2012-2014 and they have just about finished building their giant dream house; so we were seeing it for the first time. We’re staying with them for the remainder of our time in Ottawa.

After this we drove the hour with Sheena and Tony to Quebec where the cottage is located. This cottage belongs to Neil and Estelle; it has also been rebuilt recently and is looking amazing. Ashley and her kids joined us again today as well as Colleen and Buck; and Kyrie and Dave later at dinner time.

The weather was a toasty 28 today so after a quick snack we changed into our swimmers and laid in the part with the most sun – the boat!

I’d love to say that we did lots of exciting things but I chose to lay on my towel in the sun reading my book. Mitch did venture into the lake on a kayak (he even said the water wasn’t that cold – he’s lying) and swiftly rolled and fell in.

We enjoyed a barbecue together for dinner before an evening ride on the boat. It’s so beautiful on the lake, and we would consider moving to Canada if only the weather was like this all the time. No 5 months of snow for us!

And a final picture of me avoiding the black flies at all costs and adopting what we’ve affectionately named the “ET method”!

Also here’s another one where I realise this is the best golden hour I’ll ever get and tried to look somewhat like normal human…

Hope you’ve enjoyed 😊 until next time! – Katy xxx

Ottawa

Wassup friends and family?! Yesterday we wearily woke to the rain whispering to us “your flights in 3 hours”… oh wait that was Keiran. We got an Uber to the airport and boarded our giant yellow aeronautical people mover (after a “spotto” punch to the shoulder)

We landed in Toronto airport and had to meet up with Katy’s sister. It seemed like an easy enough task until you add the fact that Kirsten’s in a completely different terminal without realising and is trying to give us instructions as to her whereabouts. The penny dropped when we were standing at Door C and Kirsten said she was standing under the same door, but was nowhere to be seen. After catching the inter-train to our terminal we said our hellos and went off to hire our car. We added Kirsten to the drivers list and set off for our 4 hour drive through to Ottawa (where Katy and Kirsten’s family are located). 😀

Driving through Toronto in bumper to bumper 6 lane traffic was bad enough, but remembering to stay on the right hand side of the road certainly added to the difficulty.🚙

Toronto was massive (geographically) and took at least an hour to get through. Once I made it through, with the directions of my trusty sidekick (Katy) it was pretty smooth sailing all the way through to Ottawa. We arrived at Ottawa around 1:30am, let ourselves in and went straight to sleep.

The next morning we woke to say hello to Katy’s family and thank them for having us stay. We are staying with her (correct me if I’m wrong Katy) second cousins Coleen and Buck.

Bucks mum is Katy’s grandmas sister

Their house is lovely and we’re staying in their freshly decorated basement with our own bathroom and living room. We chatted for a long while and drove down to Tim Hortons for a breaky sandwich and a coffee. By now it was time to head to Katy and Kirsten’s other family member Sheena and Tony’s house. They have a massive house a little bit further out with huge front and backyard and an amazing outdoor decking with a pool and bathroom and outdoor setting etc

Almost the whole Canadian side of the family arrived and I was introduced to everyone as I tried to piece the family tree together. Everybody made a lovely point to come and say hello and ask about my travels. For once, it’s not my accent on the chopping block, it’s the two Scottish girls I arrived with. Canadian people seem to find Aussies easy enough to understand but Scottish accents particularly difficult to decipher. (The server at Tim Hortons would agree)

We spent the entire afternoon swimming and laughing and eating and drinking. We had a massive bbq with a giant salad spread. I apologise for the lack of photos, I spent the entire afternoon swatting and avoiding mosquitos. Seriously the mosquitoes were bad, so bad infact I found myself asking about the presence of Zika or Malaria in Canada (particular mosquito driven viruses). After petting the three dogs all afternoon and conversing with all of Katy’s family members we headed back to Coleen and Bucks house to wind down for a shower before bed. The weather has been 26C and sunny, we really have lucked out with the weather since we’ve been in Canada.

Tomorrow we drive out Neil and Estelles (Buck and Neil are brothers; according to my mental family tree) cottage out by the lake just over on the Quebec side of the border. Hoping it involves various lake activities as it’s meant to be even hotter tomorrow.

Hope everything is well back in Australia

M 🙂🤙🏻