3-7 July 2019
Finally, in the summer of 2019, we made it up to Québec. I had been once before to Québec City for a french trip in high school and absolutely loved the charming cobblestone streets and trying to put my french to the test. We decided to first drive up to Québec City and then stop in Montréal on the way back home.
Since Québec City is a ten hour drive from Erie, PA, we stayed with my brother, Shane, in Rochester, NY the night before leaving. We were able to cut off three hours of the trip that way, making it much more manageable to do at once. Of course, it’s also nice to spend some time with family when you get the chance.
We packed up some snacks for the road, hooked our bikes (generously lent to us by Jacob’s parents) onto the back of my Ford Focus, and drove off. Seven hours later, we made it to beautiful Québec City. Our Airbnb was about a half a mile down a busy road from the Old Town. Most days we either walked or rode our bikes into town and wandered around the narrow streets, stopping into little shops or grabbing some ice cream.
The first night, at sunset, we took a ferry across the St. Lawrence River to view the city from the other side. This ferry trip was recommended in someone’s blog I had read. They said the views were spectacular at night while the Château Frontenac is lit up. I definitely concur. On the other side of the River, there was a small park having some kind of celebration with live music, so we sat a little ways away on these really comfy chairs and watched the lights. This was an absolutely perfect night to kick off the trip.
The next morning, we packed everything back up and headed towards Montréal. This would be the first time for each of us in the city. Our first excursion of the day was a bike ride on a well-known path that follows the river for many miles. We planned to take a loop that would equal about 20 miles, however, there were some unforeseen circumstances that altered our plans a bit.
It turned out that there was some construction being done to the bike path while we were in Montréal. We ended up having to take a detour on our way back that went into the city and around even more road construction. Then, it started pouring, so we had to chain up the bikes and run into a little restaurant for lunch. The whole way back, we and our bikes were soaked. Then, we got extremely lost and had to ask a police officer for directions that we barely understood.
This detour added over ten miles and lots of confusion to our total journey. Finally, by some miracle, we made it back to our starting point, but to say that we were completely exhausted is a drastic understatement. As frustrating as this whole mishap was at the time, I’m still glad for it because a trip would not be successful if you didn’t come home with at least one blooper story to tell.
After the tiring first experience in Montréal, we decided to be more relaxed for the remainder of our time there. We spent most of it just walking around and finding cool events, like an International Jazz Festival, and amazing food. We strolled around the famous Mile End and stopped for some $5 Gnocchi boxes and artisanal ice cream.
On our final night in Montréal, we went to watch the Major League Soccer team, the Impact, play against Minnesota. This was a great way to end the trip as we are both big sports fans and we love to see at least one sporting event when we go to a new place.
I highly recommend checking out these two cities for a long weekend escape. As Jacob said, it feels like you’re somewhere in Europe with so much charm and a vibe that you just can’t get anywhere in the States.