Quebec 2019

Quebec Day 3: Boiling Like Lobsters

We woke to the sound of our resident chef Geof preparing his famous latkes in the kitchen. You’ll notice I have no photos of these delicacies, and that’s because they were all eaten within seconds of hitting plates. It’s almost like something comprised mostly of potato and cheese is delicious…


Our destination of the day was the Siberian Station Spa, a nordic spa about fifteen minutes from where we’re staying. What’s a nordic spa? Well you’ve got a variety of pools, hot and cold, and you’re supposed to switch back and forth to circulate your blood. So we were off to get day passes and marinate in warm water for as long as we could tolerate.

From the parking lot, we could see that this was a classy establishment. The complex was comprised of a few small buildings–one housing the lobby and locker rooms, another housing the cafe, and a series of little huts enclosing saunas and steam rooms and a few “relaxing areas.” The majority of the pools were outside, which was interesting, considering the air temperature was about 29 degrees. 

We checked in at the lobby right on time, as they only had enough wristbands for our group, and they started a wait list right after we went to our locker rooms to change. God bless those check-in ladies. The lobby was insanely crowded and the receptionists were handling it like champs.


After changing, we headed out to the tubs. It was cold out, but they’d given us big fluffy robes to wear, so we at least had those to protect us until we got into the first hot tub. The water was scalding, but it felt so good. We were like a little pack of lobsters in a pot. 


Also, it goes without saying that I have limited photo evidence of this day, cuz, y’know. I’m not taking pictures in the water.


If you’re wondering if we, in true nordic fashion, took the plunge from the hot tub into the cold water, the answer is yes. 


Well except for Carolyn. Yes baby, I’m calling you out.


Despite being absolutely terrible for the ten seconds you felt like you were being stabbed to death by the freezing cold, it was actually really nice. Once you made the transition back into warm water, your whole body felt like relaxed jello. It was nice.


Other than the tubs, we also got to experience the steam rooms and saunas. The first one we tried was the steam bath, scented heavily with orange and eucalyptus. This one was very ‘love it or hate it.” It was a thousand degrees in there, and so full of steam that you couldn’t breathe or see in front of you. There was an ice dispenser at the entrance to the room that you could use to cool yourself off, and a pool of cold water with some buckets for the same purpose. Without those two lifelines, we all would have perished in the steam bath. Once we figured out how to use the cold water, I actually found it really relaxing. But others found it really suffocating. Which, I mean, fair point, it literally was.


We also tried two of the dry saunas, which were traditional saunas: just really really hot rooms. We got to lay on slabs and roast like weenies.


We also went into one of the relaxation huts, where we laid in hammock chairs and sat quietly. After our various temperature stressors, it was really nice.


And then we went back to the crazy steam room because we like stress.


Sidenote on how everyone in the spa was wearing the same robe, so the minute Carolyn and Geof wandered off away from the rest of the group, it took forever to find them again, because the Siberian Station Spa is actually “Where’s Waldo: Extreme Edition.”


We stayed at the spa for about three hours. By the time we left, our robes were soaking wet and no longer shielding us from the cold, hence why we knew it was time to go. So we toweled off and squeezed our winter gear back over our damp bodies and made our way back to the Airbnb.


And then the dinner drama began.


Now, disclaimer: I was in the shower for a lot of this, so I don’t know every detail of how the drama unfolded. It started with a dinner reservation at a restaurant whose only gluten free options were beef tartare and salmon tartare.


I think that restaurant misunderstood “gluten free” as “so you can’t have cooked meat then, right?”


So then we decided we were gonna go to a restaurant in town. But we didn’t want to Uber. But there wasn’t any parking.


So then we found a poutine restaurant online that delivered.


We spent a full HALF AN HOUR plugging in each of our “make your own poutine” orders on DoorDash before DoorDash revealed to us that the restaurant had CLOSED while we’d been ordering.


But then it said it was still open online, so we tried to call the restaurant and order. But then we overwhelmed the order guy. (To be fair, there are five of us, and each of us wanted to order poutine with enough toppings to satisfy an elephant).


So then we just piled in the car and drove there.


TWO HOURS LATER we finally sat at the table and ordered our various poutines. Thankfully each of us got something that we thoroughly enjoyed, and then inhaled like starved barbarians.


I just got classic poutine with mushrooms and carmelized onions because I’m basic. Everyone else was more adventurous than me. I’d tell you what they got, but I was too busy scarfing down my own gravy-covered french fries to know what was going on in my surroundings.


At that point we went back to the house and had some wine and played card games, because we’re middle aged moms and that’s our idea of fun.


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