Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels.
This week’s Postcard comes from the lovely Kelly, a travel blogger from Canada who runs KellyEllaMaz.com, an online source for all things travel. There’s a travel blog, personal travel planning services, and online store! Lucky Kelly is about to move to Barcelona for three months with her spouse, and will then head to Australia for twelve months, she also hopes to tick England and Bali off her bucket list this year – hopefully she’ll send us lots of Postcards from her travels! Kelly has also just released her first book entitled 101 Tips for Luxury Travel… on a Budget. She says “the tips in this book made it possible for me to go on 3-4 luxury vacations a year, while paying for school”.
Hi Kelly, welcome to Postcard From! Where did you go?
I just came home from Quebec City, Canada. We had a true “winter vacation” in this charming city! Quebec City is really a destination that is best visited during the winter.
Hmm, winter vacation in Canada… what was the weather like?
We went in February and it was FREEZING! There was a ton of snow and the strong winds felt piercing against my face. Luckily, the excitement and the attractions made braving the cold worth it!
I hope you had somewhere warm to curl up at night?
We stayed at Hotel Chateau Bellevue, which was right by the famous Chateau Frontenac hotel. The location was perfect because we were a short walk to everything we wanted to see…. which was pretty crucial during this snowy weekend! I’d highly recommend this hotel, and I would discourage anyone from booking at a slightly cheaper hotel that’s further away. You’ll appreciate the value and the location of this hotel! Not to mention the stellar view of the Saint Lawrence River you have from the South-facing rooms.
What did you get up to?
A lot of our time was spent walking around “Old Quebec City”, which has a very European feel to it. The streets are filled with lots of cafes and shops, so we had plenty of places to stop and warm up! We also rented toboggans to use on the huge slide on the promenade. This was a lot of fun, even if I screamed the whole way down! Lastly, the whole purpose of our trip to Quebec City was to visit the beautiful Hotel de Glace – a hotel made entirely of ice and snow!
So, what was your highlight?
Touring Hotel de Glace (the ice hotel) was definitely the highlight! It was such a unique experience that I’ll never forget. We spent all afternoon there, learning how it was made and touring all the different themed suites. We made our own glasses in the “Ice Workshop” before heading to the bar, and sat on seats made out of ice!
How was the food in Quebec City?
Most of the food we had was delicious! There was lots of french food, as well as great poutine! Poutine comes from Quebec, so it’s something you have to try when you’re there! The best dinner we had was at “Lapin Saute”, where they specialize in rabbit. Croissants, creme brulee and escargot were other things I’d recommend eating in Quebec City!
Were there any disasters on your trip?
Whoops- good advice for other travellers though! Do you have any other tips or advice for anyone headed to Quebec?
I realized there’s a difference between what I consider “winter clothes”, and what they wear in Quebec! I wore hats and mitts everyday, but they weren’t water resident so they soaked through from all the snow pretty fast. Also, a snowboarding jacket instead of my heavy wool coat would have been more appropriate. For the most part I stayed warm, but my choice of “winter gear” should have been more waterproof!
And finally… do we need to brush up on our French skills before we head into Quebec?
Although Canada is an English speaking country, this province is prominently French speaking. It’s well known that the residents of Quebec aren’t very accepting of English speaking Canadian so knowing some French is a huge asset. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a waiter or cashier to grunt and grumble when they’re forced to speak English with you. C’est la vie!
NB – all photos are owned by Kelly Mazur.