“Matt, are you ready to leave?” I asked as I stood sweating in my many layers in our Airbnb apartment in Quebec City. We were ready for the opening day of Routes Americas which we were going to photograph and film(see link to blog post here). I opened the door to leave only to discover that we were snowed in. I was a little confused coming from the sweltering heat of Durban, South Africa where the only chance of seeing snow is from a snow globe that you just shook. This was a tough trip all round as we battled the freezing cold temperatures(-23 degrees Celsius) and coming to terms with putting on layer upon layer of warm clothes only to take them all off again once we were at work. To leave meant the same procedure. This is only after taking 2 days to get to Quebec City so overall it was a trip never to forget but one that we have to honestly say was extremely hard. Here are some pics and comments describing the amazing scenery and experiences that we encountered in Quebec City.
P.S. I had a funny feeling each time I stepped out the apartment. It looked like blue skies and sunshine so I immediately pictured shorts and a tee shirt and even though I had a gazillion layers on it was still freezing. I felt betrayed or tricked every time.
After 2 days of travel we agreed that we would sleep in the first day there. We woke up at 4:30am due to the time differences so why not go exploring? We headed for the ferry hoping to catch it to the other side of the St Lawrence river so that we could capture the sunrise over Quebec City. This is when we started to feel the cold and the reality of working in extreme temperatures.
A pretty scene just next to the river. We were surprised to see all the Christmas decorations still hanging up on the street poles and shops. They were probably frozen there.
Catching the ferry across the mighty(this was one of the narrowest parts of the river) St Lawrence river was breathtaking. No really, it literally took our breath away but that is understandable at -13 degrees celsius. To hear the ice cracking as we ploughed across was such a mind blowing experience. Looking down onto the floating ice was creepy as you couldn’t help imagining what would happen if you fell over the side.
Looking back across the river at the old town of Quebec City at sunrise. You could take your gloves off for about a minute at the most to setup the shot before feeling the burn before quickly putting your hands back in the warm gloves.
Shovelling snow in our front yard. It is hard to see from the angle but it was about waist to chest deep. The snow was fresh, so fluffy and extremely light hence the name, powder. I thought I was going to sink into it and disappear. Such a rookie.
“Honey, I am just taking my containers for a Sunday cruise down the river. Won’t be long”. “Ok but don’t forget to bring back some ice”. It was so strange to see huge ships cruising down the river through the ice.
Another huge container ship heading down the river.
Heading back on the ferry enjoying some sunshine.
When I imagined snow storms and freezing cold I did not picture blue skies and sunshine. It did help brighten up the day despite the temperatures.
Matt and his frozen Wizard of Oz buddies. “Don’t lick them Matt whatever you do”. These were done for the Christmas season and were still frozen solid a few months later.
It must be extremely tough waking up in the morning to find your car covered in snow and having to dig it out. This was before the blizzards so not even bad yet.
On the Sunday the Main Street was closed off and there were fires going and people of all ages playing ice/street hockey. What a cool thing to see.
Not even bicycles are safe from the snow and ice.
The view from the bridge directly above the Montmorency falls. Seeing a waterfall partly frozen was quite an experience. The whole of the area up until the first small bridge is actually the river and in summer is all water. In the distance to the right is Quebec City and that big bridge is over the one fork of the St Lawrence river. This part of the river is completely frozen over whilst the other fork still flows with the tides and is the part that the ships use.
The park up from the Montmorency falls.
Walking across the frozen river with the crunching snow and crackling ice beneath our feet was a little intimidating.
This giant pile of snow and ice is from the base of the waterfall where the spray from the falls has turned into snow and piled up into a mound. Matt and I decided to slide down it on our bums. Luckily I packed all my gear away as I had no idea that I would reach such speeds. I had on my waterproof pants which was probably the best “ski” that I could have used so by the time I reached the bottom my eyes were as big as saucers and my hair was definitely blown back. Once was enough.
This gives you an idea of the size of the falls and the pile of snow to the right where we slid down. You can watch the water disappearing under the snow from the bridge above. It doesn’t stop flowing so walking across the ice knowing that it was flowing underneath you was something else.
The view at sunset. Those shiny bits are ice and I had no idea how slippery they could be. You literally have no control of your feet. We did a time lapse of the this scene and you can see in the time lapse how the snow turned into ice as the temperature dropped. The wind howling this night was bitter and it was way too cold to be outside in the open. It is rather intimidating when you are not used to it. We actually gave up before it got too dark as we were worried about all the ice around us as there was a steep drop to the one side and this hill leading down to a drop off as well.
Although my hands were numb I had to stop and capture this beautiful street scene at night on our way back to our apartment.
The Main Street up from our apartment. The shops were all small and quite unique with their products. There weren’t big stores or shopping malls that sold everything under the sun like here.
A panoramic view of old town Quebec City and the ferry crossing the St Lawrence river.
I had no idea that these sleds would go so fast. They whizzed by in a blur with children and adults screaming in delight or fear. This dog was super fast and kept up as the sled was slowing down but wouldn’t keep up at it’s top speed.
A beautiful afternoon with the Canadian flag proudly fluttering in the breeze.
It looks so warm and toasty…but no it wasn’t.
Vuvuzelas in the ice sculpture? They were big in Quebec City and many shops sold them.
Our Main Street just after sunset.
This was the worst snow storm of the winter so far and we were lucky enough to be there at the time. And the next storm was even worse just 2 days later. Thankfully when the snow is falling the temperatures are quite manageable and not as bad as it looked. It is the blue, clear skies that are the ones to look out for. Cars and most ground floors of houses and buildings were covered completely in snow by the following morning.
The road leading from our apartment. That gradual slope felt like a steep cliff when it was covered in ice.
One of the many side roads in our area. You can see how deep it can get with snow.
The calm before the next snow storm.
Home time the afternoon before the next bad snow storm hit.
A beautiful sunset.
There are so many beautiful churches in Quebec City and sadly most are not used. A local was telling me of the situation regarding christianity and churches and it is quite a sad story. I can’t remember all the facts so please google it.
A school bus on a clear winter’s morning.
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