Relaxed start to the day, as checkout wasn’t until midday. Nice and sunny.
Breakfast was partaken of at the Krema café, inside the hotel but open to the public, a bit like a posh Costa Coffee. Not bad, and certainly a lot cheaper than the hotel breakfast would have been.
Checkout was smooth and efficient, helped enormously by a bellman who took charge of everything. He even brought our luggage down into the garage where the car was parked. I have become increasingly irked by the tipping culture here – in fact, it’s toxic as you’re morally obliged to pay even if the service has been minimal – but this guy went the extra mile with a smile and thoroughly deserved his tip. He did have an enormous wad of cash in his pocket….
Jean had had a desire to see the remaining building of Expo 67 in Montreal, as she had memories of a childhood postcard depicting it. It is now a geodesic dome, and we resolved to find it.
This was a damn sight harder than it should have been. Construction everywhere, sudden junctions, poor road surfaces, diversions. I had at least three goes at it before we got there.
From there, we set off on our journey to Québec. Or tried to. Montreal is a difficult city to get out of! I ended up having to go across the Jacques Cartier bridge in the wrong direction and having to go all around the houses in downtown Montreal to get back on track. It’s a very handsome bridge, though.
Finally and thankfully found our way onto the Trans Canada Highway and headed north-eastwards following the St. Lawrence River for the next three hours.
It was one of the most boring and uninteresting drives I have ever undertaken. Straight as a die for the most part and flat as a pancake. I just set the cruise control and barely had to touch the pedals until about 15 km from Québec.
Getting to the hotel was trickier, but made it without too many problems. Parked the car right outside the front, where once again a flunkey took charge. Got all the necessary bits of paper for the luggage and the car, and headed off to check in.
We were offered, in a perfectly polite and non-pushy way, the option to upgrade to Fairmont Gold – $200 a night. After our experience at the Banff Fairmont, we declined.
The room is absolutely fine, and the bathroom, for once, is a reasonably decent size.
Nice view from the window of the St.Lawrence River.
Once we’d settled in, we had a walk around the hotel and its immediate environs.
This hotel dominates the Québec skyline. It’s massive, and – an overused word, I know – iconic. An extraordinary building. I’ll post more about its antecedents tomorrow, once I get more info, but for now, here are a few pics of the hotel and some parts of Québec Old Town. At this stage, I haven’t got a clue about any of these buildings, statues, or anything else.
We booked a bus tour around Québec for tomorrow around the city via the hotel concierge, as it looks a fascinating and historic place. I’ll report more later for your delight and delectation, although the weather is looking very thunderstormy.
We’d also previously booked a table at the bistro-style restaurant within the hotel, so turned up at the appointed time for a delicious meal with excellent service. The two local gins we sampled were most enjoyable also….
Time for bed. Hopefully much more of interest to report tomorrow. See you then.
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