It was New Year’s Eve, and our last full day in Canada. And in fitting, “Great White North” tradition, it was snowing. All day.
So what did we do?
We journeyed out to the local grocery store, loaded up on junk food, brought it back to the AirBnB hunkered down in front of Carolyn’s laptop and binge watched tv all day.
That’s pretty much it. Nothing too crazy.
The plan was to go out on the town for New Years, but that plan hit a snag when Carolyn came down with a mysterious illness. At first we were worried that she’d gotten food poisoning, which was concerning, as we’d all eaten the same previously-mentioned junk food. But as time wore on, Carolyn remained sick, while the rest of us were disease-free. Conveniently there was a doctor in the house, so she had easy access to medical care. Thanks, Bob.
After 12 solid hours of tv and bad movies, I was feeling really antsy. I’d wanted to go into Old Town Quebec for whatever New Years festivities they had to offer, but I also felt bad that Carolyn was sick. Also nobody else was into the idea of going into Quebec in the middle of a blizzard. But still, it was the celebration of the start of a new decade and I really didn’t want to celebrate on a couch.
Sarah Geof and I went out into the yard and tried to build a snowman and make snow angels, but it wasn’t really the right type of snow so it didn’t work out. Then we decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood. We stumbled upon a video store with a weird name that I can’t remember, but it was bizarre to see a VIDEO STORE. Like basically a Blockbuster. And through the window we saw that they had VHS’s. Of like, Shrek. Weird stuff.
We got back to the house around 9pm. I was still super antsy. So in true rogue traveler fashion, I decided that I was going to embark downtown. I thought I was going to go by myself but then Geof volunteered as tribute to go along with me. Thanks, Geof. Sorry Carolyn for leaving you at home dying (:
So Geof and I hopped into an Uber and made our way to Quebec City Hall, where the city’s New Year’s festivities had been set up. It was decently crowded, with much of the attention fixed on the portable stage that had been set up right along the city’s 400-year-old fortifications. There were a few snack stands and drink stands and little fireplaces where people could gather and stay warm. Cuz, ya know, we were in a blizzard.
The Canadian party crowd was interesting. They all had their beers and their parkas and they were all singing and dancing along to whatever the Canadian Folk Star was yodeling on the stage. Of course, Canadian dancing appeared to be bobbing up and down or swaying back and forth with the occasional gentle kick of the legs. If there’s one thing South Park got right, it’s that Canada’s…unique.
We watched the Canadian folk singer for a bit, got some vodka cranberries from the drink hut and just kind of meandered through the crowds for about an hour. Upon our journey, we found a McDonald’s food truck that was giving away free hot chocolate. We saw that beautiful French word, “gratuit,” flying like a beautiful beacon from heaven over the truck. We waited in line for about a half an hour for it, but hey, it was free, so we were still excited.
We also saw the world’s cutest corgi while we were out there, so that was good too.
At midnight, the celebration culminated with a fireworks display and more festive Canadian music. It was really cool seeing fireworks reflecting against the snow. It made the whole place light up all different colors while we all cheered and hugged and whatnot. A true Canadian way to ring in the new decade.
We knew getting an Uber right from Town Hall was going to be a nightmare, so we decided to walk down to a less busy part of town to call one there. The fuzzy picture below is what I snapped seconds before slipping on a snow-covered cobblestone and falling on my ass.
Yeah walking downhill in a 400-year-old city during a blizzard is for sure a slipping hazard.
Eventually we made it to an Uber and drove about a half hour back to our AirBnB through some decent traffic. It wasn’t bad though. It wasn’t yet 2am and we had succeeded in ringing in the New Year in Canadian Style.
The next morning we packed up all our loot and made our way back down to New Hampshire. Thankfully Carolyn started feeling a bit better on the ride home, and we got to entertain the rest of the car with our discussion about Panic! At the Disco’s discography.
We crossed the border into the United States with no drama, which was good. We drove south through Vermont for a little bit and eventually crossed over the bridge into New Hampshire. As we crossed, Carolyn and I jokingly announced “LIVE FREE OR DIE!” and I kid you not, just as we shouted that, a BALD EAGLE came soaring over us and flew majestically in a circle in front of our car.
I make a lot of sarcastic remarks in this blog, but I swear on my life, that eagle thing really happened.
After a slippery drive back home from Canada, we reconvened at my parents’ house and separated out to our various cars. It was a magical friendship trip, and hopefully the first of many. Cheers to a new decade!