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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Big East Tour - Day 3

Guess now is about time that I should talk about the people that were on the tour with me - the great thing about Moose Travel Tours is the smaller groups that they take. We had 12 on ours and while there usually seemed to be a variety of nationalities on the tours, ours was 5 Irish, 5 Australians and 2 Kiwis. Even 2 days in, you could see the differences emerging - half the tour group seemed more interested in drinking each city than seeing the actual sights. Luckily, I managed to fit into both groups relatively well! The bus wasn't the most luxurious mode of transport but it suited our purpose perfectly. They have also designed most of the routes so that you're never in the van for more than 3 hours at a time generally.

Hence why we stopped at Montmorency Falls just outside of Quebec City on our way from Montreal. I'm a huge fan of water and water features (I am crazy about fountains that you get in parks and stuff. I got a lot of great fountain pics from this tour!) so even though it's just a load of water, I was happy to wander off and my own and just watch. It is actually higher than Niagara Falls (barely a fraction as wide obviously) and as you cross the bridge over it, you can see the City of Quebec in the distance. We did manage to see a rainbow in the churning water at the bottom - seemed to be a bit of a theme on the trip, reckon I saw 6 or 7 rainbows over the course of the week.

Once we got into Quebec City, I had an eerily familiar feeling. The old style cobbled streets, little traffic, flags and bunting everywhere - felt just like an European city. One particular street actually looked just like Kilkenny city for some reason... We went for a little bit of a walk around, to get our bearings and stopped for some ice cream at a spot our guide recommended. Being the morbid lot we are, we got our ice cream and went to sit in a graveyard to eat it. I love graveyards as much as I love water features strangely enough. We passed by the amazing Chateau Frontenac, built in the late 19th century as a stop over for Canadian Pacific Railway travellers. It has hosted many famous people and was the headquarters for the Quebec Conferences towards the end of World War 2 in 1944.

A couple of us decided to do a ghost tour that evening. Our guide recommended a company, Les Visites Phantomes du Quebec that she had used before (although she hadn't been a huge fan of the guide that they had). Our guide, Emile, was great; he knew a lot about the city in general, historically and architecturally and shared a lot of that as well as his spooky tales from years and years ago. It was all sort of creepy coincidence stories until we got to St Andrews Church. 10 of us walked in, led by me holding a candle (the only light in the church apart from the dim lights from the street) and Emil proceeded to tell us, probably not even the scariest stories of the night but things seem a lot creepier in a dead quiet church with nothing but the sound of your own breathing and flickering shadows on the wall from the only candle there... I saw at least 3 ghosts that night. Well worth it though. Popped out for a couple of drinks to steady the nerves after and stumbled upon an improv night in one bar. Totally in French obviously. I pretended to laugh along with the rest despite having next to no idea what was going on.

Moral of the Story - Don't go on a ghost tour in a strange city and then head back to a creepy hostel that looks like it might have been an old hospital back in the day...did not sleep overly well that night I'll tell you!

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