Quebec City

Arriving in Quebec City was a shock to the system. Turns out that while I was enjoying myself in Nova Scotia Quebec had been having some pretty extreme weather, snow in Montreal, half the province underwater, meaning that when I arrived in Quebec City the temperature was in the high twenties with 90% humidity. Those that know me well can guess how well I coped with that. The 10 minute climb up the hill from the station to the hostel almost killed me and that’s not an exaggeration. Luckily that evening there was a mega thunderstorm (I love thunderstorms) complete with multi strikes of fork lightning and hail stones! By the morning the weather had cooled down and I was back in my North face coat, the day after was sun burn territory again, seriously Quebec weather is weird. 

The city itself is beautiful and does feel more like it belongs in Europe than anywhere this side of the world. It also a city of two halves, one half is historic and European, the other feels like the edgier end of any English city and there’s literally a wall between them! Anyway Onto highlights

  • Montmorency Falls – a hostel organised tour that I signed up for. A group of us caught the bus, got to see a bit more of the City and then get wet and windswept admiring the falls that are higher than Niagara. Really quite spectacular, just annoying that the zip line that ran across them was closed. After the tour all of us headed back into town and spent the next 7 hours drinking our way through the bars of Quebec, finding that Aussie, English and American really are 3 different languages and eating poutine. It was an excellent day, thanks tour buddies.
  • The Museum of Civilization – I had time for one museum in Quebec and as I started I really thought I’d chosen wrong. The Hergè exhibit hadn’t yet opened and the ground floor seemed to encompass a somewhat uninspiring, if informative  exhibit about the founding and history of Quebec. Upstairs it became one of my favourite museums. The First Nations our story exhibit was spectacular, artwork combined with history, artefacts, projections and spoken words myths and first hand accounts available to listen to throughout. There was an excellent interactive exhibition on the human brain and the study of mental illness and a maze with hidden keys in 6 interactive rooms. Well worth a trip. 

I could’ve spent more time in Quebec City, I really liked the vibe, apart from the tourists. You’ll be quietly walking down a side street and then you’ll suddenly run into a huge noisy school group. The whole of the old city is littered with shops selling overpriced tat and restaurants pretending to offer authentic cuisine at an extortionate mark up. Still, it’s a lovely city to just wander. 

So that’s Quebec City, if any friends ever fancy it I would definitely consider coming back here, especially off season without tourists and crazy weather! 

Riding the Rails: Halifax to Quebec City

I will say very little here, because for those of you that follow along I was live posting on instagram for the whole journey. A few quick extras though: on season shiny new trains, while giving me a single seat, are not as comfy to sleep in. Why can they not get the temperature right on the trains! Too hot in the carriage, too cold in the canteen car. Also many thanks to Megan (my train mate from my journey to Halifax) for messaging and telling me how to get my water bottle refilled! 

So without further ado, here’s some photos.

 

Halifax – part 2

So Halifax part two! After the whirlwind that was Nova Scotia it was nice to get back to the hostel in Halifax and just chill out. The Halifax hostel really was wonderful and the people were so friendly, also I got the same bed I had before so it felt it bit like coming home. This time I focused on the museums and Canada has got some fantastic museums. 

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic – some nice bits of history on Halifax’s important role in naval history, a stuck up parrot that refused to talk to me and a boat gallery complete with kraken. The Halifax explosions exhibit (when in 1917 a ship laden with explosives crashed into another ship in the bay, killing more people than died in the First World War) was very well put together and I loved the shipwreck treasures exhibit. The Titanic exhibit was a little terrifying, ships from Halifax brought the bodies in from the wreck and the fact that they have a replica of the promenade that you can walk on was a little too creepy for me. 

The Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 – something I’m noticing about Canada, publicly at least (in terms of museums and things), is a lot more honest about its past mistakes. The immigration Museum not only highlights Canada’s previously restrictive immigration policy and exploitation and abuse of immigrant workers, but also acknowledges the importance of immigrants in making the country as successful as it is today and the many ways it still needs to continue to improve its views on immigration. I can’t help feeling that if England had this kind of attitude, we might not have ended up in the mess we are currently in. Also here’s an interesting factoid the “not wanted” sticker on immigrants luggage was not to do with their immigration status, but luggage that was stored in the hold and not wanted throughout the voyage, so you learn something new everything day. 

So that’s my round of up Halifax over, it’s been one of my favourite places in Canada, partly because it’s very similar in vibe to Bristol now it’s onwards and back on the train once again!