FTF DOES 3 DAYS IN QUEBEC CITY IN MARCH Alex

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1 FTF DOES 3 DAYS IN QUEBEC CITY IN MARCH Alex March 25, 2015 Adventure/Extreme Sports, Blog, Canada, City Travel When I was riding in the first class cabin of the Via Rail train from Ottawa to Quebec City in March, I had no idea that in less than 24 hours I would be in waist deep white fluffy powder digging out snowmobiles. What a pleasant surprise and a great 3 days in Quebec City! Playing in the snow at Foret Montmornecy was one of the best days I have had in a long time. This is coming from a guy who, 3 weeks back was living on the beach in India for less than $500 a month. I have been back in Canada for a short time now and find myself settled in nicely. I have eaten well, gone to the gym, and if you read my last article about dealing with reverse culture shock, you would know that the main reason I am back in my home town is to re-rent my house I own. Since I am in Canada in winter, I have two choices.

2 Choice one is to stay inside and hibernate like most do in this chilly climate of ours, or choice two, which I chose, was to make the most of the snow. Three Days in Quebec City in March was the perfect little escape. There is so much to do in and around Quebec City it s crazy, and I wish I had more time to explore. Some of the adventures I went on were totally unexpected and absolutely awesome. Now sit back and enjoy the tale of FTF does 3 days in Quebec City in March. Riding in Luxury from Ottawa to Quebec City This was my first time on a train in Canada. I have been on trains in India, Thailand, and other third-worlds. Let me tell you, Via Rail does it right. The first class cabin was both spacious and comfortable. The food was good. And best of all wait for it they have FAST, FREE WIFI! Perfect for a distinguished gentleman making a living online like myself. Actually, distinguished may be a little far-fetched, but it was a great ride nonetheless. As we rode north from Ottawa to Quebec City in March I saw the piles of white powdery snow getting bigger and bigger. We were heading for a real Canadian winter experience without realizing it. I was a little worried about what the temperature might be like as I am still adjusting from many months in

3 India, but to my surprise Quebec City in March was quite pleasant and was hovering just around zero degrees. That may sound cold to some, but for this time of year after a long cold winter, zero feels like the tropics! Well maybe not like the tropics, but it was definitely pleasant, that I assure you. 3 Days in Quebec City in March FTF Style Over the next 3 days in Quebec City I did such a range of activities it almost seems like it didn t happen when I look back on it. Most people would show up, walk around the city, do a little shopping, maybe have a couple nice dinners and leave. That is fine for some, but not for this man, that s not FTF style. Here at FTF we are all about the adventure, pushing limits and really seeing what a place has to offer. Quebec City in March did not disappoint. Day 1: Touring Around Quebec City After checking in to my massive room at Hotel Manior Victoria, my tour guide immediately picked me up and we headed out to see what Quebec City in March had in to offer. Hotel De Glace First up was a stop to check out Hotel De Glace, which translates to Ice Hotel. This is a complex made up of some 40+ rooms and themed suites.

4 The entire hotel is made out of ice, just as the name suggests. It is an engineering marvel and just walking up to it is a mind-blowing at first sight. During our tour of this palace of ice we made sure to stop by the hotels very own ice bar where we had a couple of maple flavored shots in shot glasses made of ice. If you find yourself in Quebec City in March I would definitely suggest checking out this incredible place. After exploring the ice hotel it was off to have a stroll around a set of waterfalls that are taller than the ones in Niagara! Montmorency Falls This set of falls sits just outside the city and is easily reachable. The falls still flow during the winter, and when standing on the bridge above them they are quite the sight. At the base of the falls there is a formation of snow caused by the mist, they call it sugar hill, and this can be used for sledding or for ice climbing, as you see the fellows doing below.

5 I would love to get back to Quebec City in late May when the ice is melting and the Montmorency Falls are raging in full force. Walking Around Old Quebec We stayed at the falls for some time. Just standing on the bridge looking down at them in awe. The sound of the rushing water is soothing in a way and perhaps one could even call it mesmerizing. The days are getting longer in Quebec City in March, but by now it was late afternoon, and we were now running low on daylight. It was time to move to our next stop: Old Quebec. This blog stays away from history lesson filler, not to say that it isn t fascinating or important, because it is, but this is about my adventures so for those interested I suggest checking out this article on Old Quebec to learn a bit more. It s actually quite interesting. We wandered around the narrow streets of Old Quebec that date back to the early 1600 s. Some buildings still stand from the era and it was inspiring to think back 400 years and imagine what life would have been like for the people surviving the harsh Canadian climate with no knowledge of winter survival.

6 How did the early settlers like living in Quebec City in March, or even the colder months? I don t think they would be too concerned about city tours and waterfalls, but luckily for us its 2015 and we get to have these luxuries! Day 2: Foret Montmorency This was the highlight of the trip. If you find yourself with 3 days in Quebec City in March you MUST go to La Foret Montmorency. This 400 square kilometre playground sits about a 45-minute drive from Quebec City. This area gets 6 meters of snow a year, for those not on the metric system, first of all you should be, and second this equals about 20 FEET! That s like as tall as a house Our day here started off by hopping on a couple of snowmobiles and heading back into the woods to explore. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining bright, and it just about zero degrees.

7 We did a bit of snowshoeing to a lookout point after a short drive on the sleds. We gazed off into the distance, it was white snow and evergreen tress as far as the eye could see. We hung out there for a bit learning about how the park deals with responsible forestry, then it was back on the snowmobiles to a hill within the park where we would be trying out the new sport of Ski Shoeing. Ski Shoeing is basically a set of short, wide, skis with an animal pelt on the bottom used to grip as you climb up hill. The goal is to get off trail, climb up as far as you can, then ride down on fresh untouched powder, every skiers dream. It turns out this is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

8 Maybe I was arrogant in thinking I would be carving through the powder like a pro, but I can now say first hand that falling over while cruising fast through the powder doesn t hurt, you will just be buried in snow, like I was a few times. But you will walk away unharmed, the only thing hurt may be your pride. By this time it was hitting the early afternoon and the sun was shining down on us. We were far back in the forest during winter, in Canada, playing in the deep powdery snow, and I loved it. It was like being a kid again. There was excitement and enthusiasm all around and the energy from the guides really amped us up as well. We set off back on the snowmobiles and headed to a one of the cabins they have for rent here in the forest. I would be lying if I said we didn t get stuck in the deep snow a few times and have to dig the sleds out. That was all part of the experience and was actually fun to do!

9 When we arrived at the cabin one of our guides Pierre who, if you find yourself in Foret Montmorency is the man you need to see, built a fire in the wood stove and we threw a few sandwiches on top to grill. Pierre knows everything about the forest and is hilarious to hang out with for the day. He comes highly recommended, as does Julie, our other guide and the organizer of this day trip in Quebec City in March. After we chilled by the fire and ate our lunch we headed back on the sleds to explore the forest a bit more.

10 We saw tracks from moose, lynx, rabbit, and many other animals. Those moose can really carve a track through the snow! We finished up our day and headed back into town. It was a long exhausting trip and there was no ambition to venture out into the nightlife. It was early to bed and early an early start the next morning to head out for a day of snowboarding. Day 3: Snowboarding at Le Massif Le Massif sits an hour from Quebec City and is one of about 4 or 5 hills in the area. In my opinion it is the top choice, and March is one of the best months to go. The weather is getting warmer and snow is still falling. We arrived by road to the top of the hill, strange for a ski hill but in this case pretty convenient. We grabbed our boards, geared up, and it down the hill we went. This hill is what I could describe as a leg burner. Most hills in Eastern Canada seem to follow a pattern of slope, flat, slope, flat, ect. Meaning you ride, then struggle through a flat bit before you can ride again. At Le Massif it s straight down the whole way. As you ride down over the powder and through the trees, you have a view of the St. Laurence River, and it seems as though if you went fast enough you could ride right into it. I didn t try this, but you should. We quit riding in the early afternoon and headed inside for some much-needed après ski beers. It was a slightly tipsy bus ride back to the city. Final Thoughts on Spending 3 Days in Quebec City in March The plan from the start was to hit the town Saturday night. This didn t happen. After 3 days of hard core adventure our bodies were cooked, and it was a struggle just to leave the hotel to grab a quick bite to eat downstairs.

11 The thing is, I wasn t upset about missing out on the nightlife. Maybe because I am getting older and don t care for partying so much anymore, or maybe because the last few days had been so great and so exhausting it was just unnecessary. Either way I was happy to get a good night sleep, and be able to sleep in the next day before the train ride back to Ottawa. Quebec City in March had way more to it than I had expected. I feel like I could have stayed longer, and as I said earlier, I hope to get back up there and explore the region more thoroughly! If you find yourself with 3 days in Quebec City in March then follow in my footsteps and you won t be disappointed. Quebec Region Tourism sponsored me for this trip, but of course everything said is my opinion. If there was anything I didn t like about it, believe me you would hear it in this article! Have you been to Quebec City in March? Or any other time of year? What are your suggestions of things to do? How did you like it?

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