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Published: September 30th 2017
The Most Photographed Hotel in the World ...
... is in Quebec City, or so they say. The Fairmont Chateau Frontenac - a nice place, but overrated!
Geo: 51.0451, -114.063
Two years ago, plans to attend the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours were dashed when the race was canceled. A back-up plan to hit up the British Grand Prix at Silverstone were also wrecked when the economy crashed and nobody else wanted to go. Boooooo-urns!!!
But Montreal - it's always been on the radar as a destination in its own right, with the added allure of the Canadian Grand Prix being the icing on the cake. Or perhaps a better analogy is that it's like the cheese curds and gravy on top of the fries, in this land of the eminently unhealthy but sinfully luscious poutine, the mother of all French Canadian junk food!
Having never traveled to Quebec before, a short visit to Quebec City is also in order, to take proper advantage of this Montreal trip. Since there don't seem to be any direct Calgary-Quebec City flights, this meant getting up at the ungodly time of 5:15 to ensure making it to the airport in time. I can't think of many things worth waking up this early for ... and in fact, there is only one - travel!
It's been HOT out east these past few days,
... no other decent food choices at the Ottawa airport left me with this sad slice of meat lovers pizza.
in sharp contrast to Calgary's recent dreary and drizzly weather ... stepping off the plane onto the tarmac at Ottawa's airport, there was a sharp blast of hot, humid air - 31 C?!?!?? It felt more like I was disembarking from a plane in Brazil, not one in Canada!
Ottawa's airport is bright and modern, exactly the type of terminal you expect to see in the capital of one of the World's greatest countries - but I do have one complaint, and it's the dearth of decent places to have a bite to eat. A Booster Juice, a Harvey's, a Sbarro's, and a Tim Hortons ... sad ... how could this be, Oh Canada? How could you forsake your proud citizens, abandoning them to this desert of culinary crap, in the political centre of this great country? Not even some Chinese food? Or sushi? Not even an Edo? For shame ...
Even the proudest of Canadian institutions, the ubiquitous Tim Hortons, the most Canadian of Canadian fast food chains, one with a cult-like following, was sorely lacking ... the coffee was decent as always, but the donut ... if you can even call it a donut, it was so dry
and tasteless ... Stephen Harper, I implore you - fix the food court in Ottawa's airport! How would you feel, if a Canadian citizen on his way to Montreal to cross something off his bucket list by attending the Canadian Grand Prix, one of Canada's most internationally-renowned events, were to choke and die on this dry, horrid, sorry excuse for a chocolate-glazed donut in your capital's airport? We've finally given you a majority government - do some good with this new found power! PLEASE!!!!!!!!
Quebec City had reached a high of 31 C today, with high humidity - luckily for me, the temperature had dropped significantly by the time the plane landed, making for a delightfully refreshing evening. BTW - boo on the Quebec airport, the only cheap transport running from the airport is a bus that only runs a handful of times each day to the city's outlying neighbourhoods, meaning you're stuck paying over $35 for a taxi. Boo-urns!
As you approach the city from the airport, the unmistakable smell of Quebec permeates the air - the smell of grease, which I can only imagine is the scent of thousands of deep-fryers bubbling with oil and fries to make poutine.
A Little Acai to Kickstart the Day ...
... a bit gritty, just like I remember from Brazil! Not a bad little breakfast wrap to go with it - eggs, salsa, cheese, and of course, BACON!!!
The forecast called for thundershowers this evening and though the skies constantly threatened, they never delivered any significant rainfall, only the odd drizzle ... perfect weather for a stroll around the old town. Quebec's old town does have some of that French flavour to it - anyone can see the similarities. It's actually frequently used for movie shoots, as a stand-in for France - a scene from Leonardo DiCaprio's "Catch Me If You Can" was shot here, where he burst out of a church.
Though a tad too touristy in many areas, it's definitely charming and cute, but a lot quieter than the typical town in France. Perhaps this will be different tomorrow, when I have a chance to wander away from the old town, which is largely geared towards tourists. Hopefully it's a bit less Disney there!
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