Waking up in Quebec was a great feeling. We could take our time with everything today. Our road trip is now basically over and it has been the first time since we left Vancouver that we really could just relax. We didn’t want to see much more than the old town itself and we saw almost all of it last night while deciding where to have dinner. At some point we have to drive to Montreal but it is just a few hours drive and check in isn’t until the afternoon anyway so we aren’t even thinking about any of that yet.
Oversleeping was a bit of an issue until now, we had always planned to be on the road by 7 and then we were waking up at 9am or 10am and feeling behind before we got started. Obviously we needed the sleep at the time though so we couldn’t be too disappointed and the sun was always up very late. Our days were just thrown off. Today is no different. A nice 11am wake up for a midday check out. Well, there goes the whole morning. Wow. So easy to lose time. We decide we will just get ready and pack and leave at midday, check out, store our bags and come back to get them and the car when we are ready to leave.
A slight sleepy wander around the front of the hotel to look at something I thought I saw but didn’t really see so we couldn’t find it. We took some standard tourist photos and looked at the different art and historical pieces on the board walk.
It is just after midday, we are hungry – for breakfast – luckily right near the hotel, in the overpriced tourist trap, we see an all day breakfast place and we both order what is a light breakfast off their special menu. I have the crepe with ham and TW has pancakes with bacon and maple syrup.
The special comes with a drink. TW has a coffee, black, no sugar (there is a recently released study that shows it is the psychopaths drink of choice, I think our waitress has also read the study….). I take a non killer profile drink, one that might kill me but doesn’t show me to be a killer myself, a hot chocolate with whipped cream. Yay. Now we are talking.
A further little wander after breakfast and some deep discussion about what we should do for the rest of the day. Should we high tail it to Montreal and have a look around or should we try to find a Maple farm and stop in along the way. We both searched but couldn’t find any real attractions between Quebec City and Montreal that were open, available or of any interest to us. TW wanted some Canadian Maple Syrup though so we decided to start to get ready to go and we would go to a Walmart/Costco and get a bulk lot of maple syrup.
We now have less than 18 hours left in Canada and 8 of those will, no doubt, be spent sleeping and getting to the airport, check in and waiting. The drive between our hotels in Quebec City and Montreal is roughly 3 hours. Leaving us about 7 hours of stuff. We didn’t manage to find anywhere specifically to stop in-between the two cities so we decide to head to the local Walmart for our maple syrup shopping.
In the time it takes for us to get back to the hotel, get our bags, get the car and get going we change our mind and decide just to hit the road. Get back on a highway and try to have time to see Montreal. If we see a place to stop along the way we will. So off we go, the very last leg of our road trip. I can no longer remember life outside of the car and a new city or town each day. What does that look like, isn’t that a boring existence? I sure wouldn’t mind some decent sleep, no time frames, time to explore and not unpacking and repacking each and every day. That sounds very luxurious indeed.
Less than an hour in to the drive we see an exit for a service centre/town square and can literally see the stores from the highway so we decide to do our maple shopping here. There are cheese curds in bulk and it takes all of our restraint not to buy them. Too many flights and still too many days before we get home, plus we have to go via Hawaii and I am not 100% sure what food items we can take to the islands so we stare for half an hour or so. The curds are cheap, in bulk and on a shelf so they don’t need a fridge, should we just buy them. We don’t. Should we though. No. But then we can make it at home. We shouldn’t, are we sure. Another 20 minutes or so walking away and circling back.
Finally I go to the syrup aisle and add one of every kind to our wheelie cart. TW is wandering other aisle and joins me eventually. They aren’t cheap. It is the same price as the real maple syrup at home, maybe more expensive, but there are options here. The cart is full and heavy, we think about how much room we actually have in our bags and we can’t fit all of these so we take most and put them back on the shelf. One tin and two glass bottles. Different grades of syrup. That should get us through. We have to walk past the poutine cheese curds to get to the register, another few minutes debate. No, we didn’t. Instant regret.
TW tries to lighten the mood by showing me a photo, it is a Simpsons reference. I don’t get it. It is something he found while he was wandering and I was syrup deciding. The photo:
He thought it was funny. It kept him amused. It was the most exciting part of the drive, for him. I would’ve thought the syrup was, considering it is his favourite thing. I am not fussed.
We arrive not too long after check in. There is parking under the hotel. It is part of a shopping centre. We have the car valeted as they say the parking is quite far if we want to park ourselves and as we have an early flight we decide it is easier for us not to do it and arrange the time that they will bring the car and have it ready for us in the morning.
Check in is busy, there are a number of people in front of us and every desk is open. We have about 2 or 3 people per check in agent in front of us so this is going to be a long process. Finally our turn, we confirm the car will be ready and a wake up call with the front desk on check in. Our room is paid for with points, whenever we use points we always expect less. A lot of the time we might actually get more but this time it was less. No letter, no acknowledgement, long waits. The timing of our stay is the reason behind the long wait but we had honeymoon listed in the booking and they had more notice than any other hotel. TW had booked with his profile (he had the points) and usually, due to his status with Hyatt, he would be offered something based on just that alone. This hotel, no acknowledgement of the status, honeymoon and it was very busy so it felt like a much lower end hotel.
It appears there hotel is hosting a conference and the lifts are full and the wait is long. The long wait for the lift is frustrating because it is too full each and every time so we have to wait for the next. Getting to the room wasn’t difficult but getting from our room to any other part of the hotel was a nightmare. It would take at least 20 minutes. From the time we dropped off our car, to getting to our room, was over an hour. Then getting back out of the room was 20 minutes. When you are short on time, little things like that really grind your gears.
We take a walk around town. There are many cool old buildings, really solid thick walls. We wander, wishing out walls were thick. Wandering, wondering, we are hungry so not much is sinking in. Now is the time to look for food. We bounce between many different places, just down from this church. There are so many, some are full with wait times of half an hour or more and some are empty. Frustrated with walking in circles, we come up with a plan. We will walk and follow the green lights at the intersections and the next place that we see that is open, with people but less half full we will eat at.
The plan is thrown in the bin fairly quickly and by chance I see a sign, we walk to the sign and on the way, agreeance. We don’t care how long the wait is, how many people are there, we will eat there, no matter the cost. Dinner is decided.
Turns out our choice was the restaurant Osco! inside the Intercontinental Montreal. Fine with me, probably going to cost a mint, I hope we are dressed well enough to get in and for the sake of avoiding any hangriness lets also hope the wait isn’t too long.
The meal is surprisingly affordable, cheaper than that in Quebec City tourist trap and it is superb. The best meal we had in Canada, aside from every pouting but those are more snacks than meals. Well. Kind of. I don’t want to take away from poutine being amazing. We decide on a set menu as this basically gives us 3 courses for the price of the main dishes we would have picked plus a couple of dollars, those couple extra dollars buy us the two additional courses. There is bread for the table. All the bread options were fantastic, we tried to limit the bread eating because we had a 3 course meal coming but it is hard when it is so warm and fresh and yummy.
We have starters and I do try the foie gras, TW gets the tartare. Both are massive servings. After we order we decide to google what foie gras actually is, we ordered because we figured the French food would be better here than anywhere else on the trip and we may as well have the French delicacies in a little slice of France outside of France lol. Well, it was a little disturbing but it did taste nice. Nice for what it was. I am not a huge fan of any kind of pâté really and this was balanced, tasty and well… buttery. The size of these starters could have been a meal in their own. We were quite full, without eating all of my pâté discs, there were just too many and too much bread beforehand.
Mains were utterly delectable and far less controversial. My phone battery was on 1% so I didn’t get great photos but I had lamb and TW had steak. The jus and sauces, seasonings, accompaniments. All sung in our mouths. I would order both again, many times.
Dessert is just what you would hope to top off a meal, simple but fantastic. Creamy, smooth. We did share the two, one chocolate mousse and one vanilla custard. I had already tried a spoonful before remembering the photo and TW had devoured almost half of his. Nom nom nom, oh the memories. Good food.
My phone finally gave up after I took this photo. It did well to survive. We still had plenty of daylight so strolled back to the hotel then packed, repacked, organised, reorganised and got ready for bed and our early morning flight.
There was a massive debacle with the car not being ready and the valet desk being unattended in the morning and we find that our restless sleep during the night has turned out to be somewhat founded. Against all odds, we make it to the airport in time, if we were flying in economy our check in would have been closed but being our honeymoon we had booked business/first class tickets so we had an extra half hour to check in and we arrived just 5 minutes before that check in closed. Rushed, stressed, flustered and uncomfortable, but, we made it so now we can relax.
Our first flight is to Phoenix so we have to go through US customs here in Montreal, which is actually very hand and a great program but the officials aren’t the friendliest we have encountered. We decide it is because we are sweaty and stressed, we would have looked pretty suss so it is forgiven, they are doing their jobs and we do look and sound more dodgy than we usually would. Having the business class tickets and Platinum status with Qantas we do get to go through all of the short lines. First class check in and the priority lines for security and immigration without the check in benefit we would have missed our flight so the officials are understanding as soon as they see our tickets. It really only takes 15-20 minutes to go from dropping off the car to being ready at the gate.
We have a short time before the flight starts boarding and are starving. There will be food on the flight but that will still be over an hour away, we aren’t sure what it would be and we are just completely starving so we ask at the cafe if they are able to get us our food before we need to depart. We are assured they can do it but it seems to take forever. The announcement for people needing additional help to board our flight is made and our food has not arrived. Sigh. Boarding has officially started.
The food arrives just as we decide that we have to leave without eating. There is an awkward moment as we are telling one waitress that we have to go as the other is bringing our food. Ok well, it is here now, we can scoff it down. Our gate is within our sights, there is time. TW had pancakes and bacon and I had the breakfast sandwich with wedges. Both were good. It would have been better for us if we had time to enjoy it. There is time enough to eat probably half of what we wanted. We paid when the food came so that we could run off as soon as we needed to. It was an exciting start to the morning, probably good to get the heart pumping as we have a decent trip to get back to Hawaii so we will be sitting in airports and planes for the next 17 or so hours.
Yay bed hair and airports 🙂
Hotel Wailea here we come #soexcited