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!