ice palace 2

Thing to Do: Attend Winter Carnaval

While my primary reason for visiting Quebec City was to stay in the ice hotel, it was a nice bonus that we were there during the Winter Carnaval. For our first night we stayed within the original, walled city and I enjoyed walking around that area. As Quebec City is 400 years old, it has a very European vibe to it, with narrow cobblestone streets and tall buildings all crowded together. And while everyone greeted us in French, when we responded in English, everyone was fluent in English. And most of the time signs were also in English. Although I could imagine outside of the city there are people that only speak French.

On our first evening there, Jes and I ventured out and took a tour of the Ice Palace, where Bonhomme, or the “Happy Man of Winter” lives.

Ice Palace

Ice Palace

Happy Man of Winter (also known as "Scary Man of Winter")

Happy Man of Winter (also known as “Scary Killer Snowman of Winter”)

While taking photos, I managed to allow my hands to get too cold and could not get them warm again. I had not done what I had been told to do and was only wearing my outer gloves and not the inner liner. We continued to walk around and look at the ice sculptures but my hands were hurting and getting frostbite so we needed to go in.

cold hands

The next day we ventured out to see and do all that was available at the Winter Carnaval. I was able, in one day, to mark several “firsts” off my list:

  • snow tubing
  • ice fishing
  • sleigh riding in a horse drawn sleigh
  • racing down an ice slide
  • dog sledding
  • being in below zero weather
Dog Sledding

The dog sledding track was only half a kilometer so it didn’t last long. And the dogs were pretty well trained to just do the loop. That didn’t stop me from almost falling off in the first curve and still having to use the brake because the man running the activity was distracted by a pretty lady in line. When I was on the back side of the course I definitely yelled “Mush!”

This wasn't "real" ice fishing. It was set up over captured fish. And to add insult to injury, in 30 minutes I lost my bait 4 times while watching children catch fish after a few minutes. Kids caught a total of 8 fish during my 30 minute attempt and then I handed my pole over and was done.

This wasn’t “real” ice fishing. It was set up over captured fish. And to add insult to injury, in 30 minutes I lost my bait 4 times while watching most children catch their fish after only a few minutes. You can see the disappointment on my face. Kids caught a total of 8 fish during my 30 minute attempt and then I handed my pole over and was done.

The view of ice sculptures from the Ferris Wheel

The view of ice sculptures from the Ferris Wheel

This was actually a pretty epic ice slide. You pretty much bobsledded down a fast, long track, bumping against the walls all the way down.

This was actually a pretty epic ice slide. You pretty much bobsledded down a fast, long track, bumping against the walls all the way down.

I also had maple hot beverage, which was very much like drinking hot sugar water. I got to see a frozen river with large boats chipping the ice to get through.

Also, later on the trip, there was another first: getting stopped at the Canadian/US border for a random car search. And although I’ve seen a moose in the wild before, I got to see another one run down the highway and completely stop traffic.

It was all quite fun. All the things anyone who grows up in winter weather would get to enjoy as a kid but this was all very new to me. The idea that ice crystals could form inside of your nose! And the fact that you keep snow around all winter! Bodies of water like lakes and rivers freeze over and then people snowmobile over them! It all seems very magical.

Of all the things I did, dog sledding was easily my favorite. I would welcome the chance to do that again and for a longer period of time. The only winter things I think I still have on my list now are: snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and ice climbing. The snowshoeing thing seems kinda lame but I’d try it just to say I had tried it. Snowmobiling is available where I go skiing so I may have to try that out this year. And ice climbing is definitely on the list for eventually.

All of this is easy for me since I like winter. I know some people would think this is awful. What do you like? Winter activities or summer time activities? Have you been to Winter Carnaval or Quebec City? What did you think?

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About Jessica

Mild mannered marketing drone by day. Bucket list adventurer by late afternoon. Having first drafted a list in high school, Jessica's list of things to do before she dies has slowly taken over her life and consumes her thoughts. Because of the list, she has traveled to Mordor, plummeted towards the Earth's surface from 13,000 feet up, cavorted with whale sharks in open water, skinny dipped herself into the Guinness World Book, and cursed the day she was born during the last miles of a Marathon. It's safe to say that if Jessica is doing it, it's on the list.

3 Responses to “Thing to Do: Attend Winter Carnaval”

  1. Love your blog! I’m also a bucketlister (www.completingmybucketlist.co.uk) I can’t wait to stay in a ice hotel :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Thing to Do #84: Learn to Ski (Part 3) | 101 Things to Do Before You Die - March 5, 2014

    […] still a time to get away and play in the snow. Given my most recent vacation to an ice hotel and winter carnaval, I clearly enjoy winter time […]

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