I won't bore you with any details about the drive, it was uneventful, windy, and surprisingly snowy. But nothing to cause trouble. The real story begins in lovely Quebec City. I have fond memories of our last stop here in 2007. We stayed at a lovely little hotel and ate at a very nice restaurant. Walked all over the city after a big snowfall and generally had a good time. I realized that experience was not to be matched when, just barely on the outskirts of the city, Blaine announced that we had arrived at the hotel. Um, what? Yes, the lovely Hotel du Nord is where I lay my head tonight. There is nothing remarkable about it except that our room lays at the end of a comical series of twists and turns. Like, you start to get dizzy you make so many sharp turns. When we pulled in we saw Brian and Sarah's car, and upon entering the lobby we found Dave R. at the desk. After some chatting, unloading of luggage, and maybe a drink, we decided to head to the famed Ice Hotel.
Every year, on the outskirts of the city, they build an entire hotel out of ice. It's a pretty amazing structure, and I missed out on walking through it last time. When you book a room, you also get a room at the real hotel on-site, in case you can't deal with the constant cold. We first tried out the ice slide, which didn't go so well. Apparently you don't move unless you have ski pants on. Live and learn. Next we found the bar, where, for the price of your first-born, you can get a tiny drink served in a glass made out of ice. Passing on that, we checked out the rooms. They were actually very neat and probably larger than a normal hotel room. We were there at dusk, so they had turned on the colored lights in the ice, which created a neat effect. At one point I got to lay on a bed and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was quite soft and comfortable. There were fire places in the rooms as well, but I wasn't sure how much that worked since you would still have to keep it below freezing to prevent the ice from melting. Eventually we bumped into Ben, Carl, Peter, and Sarah S. and decided we were cold enough and it was time to return to our hotel.
Here we broke into three groups: Those eating at the super swank 4-course meal downtown, those going to the brewpub, and those that didn't want to drive anywhere and would take whatever was available. I fell into that camp and found myself with the Dave's and Chris at lovely Chez Phuk. If the name didn't elicit enough giggles from us, the task of figuring out the Vietnamese/Thai menu that was written in French certainly did. Eventually we agreed to noodles and chicken, and were quite pleased with what came out. It was edible, had some flavor, and generally wasn't as terrible as one would expect a restaurant where we were the only patrons to be. As we sat waiting for the waitress to appear so we could get our checks, talk came up of previous payment mishaps in our pasts. We agreed that dine-and-dash is probably universal in any language.
So we are together as a group and ready to head out bright and early tomorrow. Ross has painted a bleak picture regarding the weather for the upcoming week, but we'll keep our fingers crossed. Tomorrow we encounter our first ferry of the trip, going across a rather large fjord that I remember from the last trip. A good time will be had by all.