Share |

Mike's Trek to the Great White North 1994

Part 2: The Chateau

One of the perks of being an ambassador is that you get to stay in nice places.  The standard military billeting, this was not.  Our Canadian hosts put us up in the Chateau Frontenac - the nicest, most luxurious hotel I have ever stayed in!

The Chateau Frontenac is probably the most recognizable feature on the Quebec skyline.  It has a tall green roof, and it is all lit up at night.

Chateau Frontenac in the summer sunset.  This is also what it   looked like in the winter at noon.
The Chateau Frontenac in old Quebec.

The Chateau is in old Quebec, which is an old walled part of the city.  It is probably the most European place in North America, as it has the narrow cobblestone streets, the French townhouse architecture, and little restaurants and bistros.

Reality may be much colder than it appears...
A street in Old Quebec in warmer summer days.

When we walked into the Chateau, I was surprised at all the brass and nice wood in the lobby.  Prior to this, the nicest place I had stayed in was a Residence Inn.

Thank you, Jean Chrétien!
See the wood, brass, and marble?  I am glad the Canadians were picking up the tab.

The lobby was very warm, compared to the extreme cold outside...
It's too dark to see, but the lobby was very nice.  Plus, it had great heaters!

The Chateau was also hosting an international curling tournament.  I hung out and drank beer with some curlers from New Jersey.  Most curlers are like your bowlers - they are middle aged folks from the northern states who drink a lot.  I first bought a beer in the very nice bar at the hotel - which cost me around $10 Canadian ($8 US).  Since that was so steep, I made friends with the curlers on my floor, who liked me because I was an American and spoke English.  I liked them, because they had free beer.  I am a curling fan for life.  "SWEEEEEEEEEEEP!"

Now that's a big river...
The view of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the summer.

One of the best things about the Chateau is that it is right on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and there is a spectacular view of the river.  In the winter, it was very cool, because there were these big ice flows groaning and crunching together.  There is a boardwalk outside the hotel, which is nice in the summer, but in the winter, it wasn't much fun.

The Chateau was very beautiful when lit up at night.  So, I attempted to take a picture:

The Chateau at night.

Yes, I know - I shouldn't have shaken the camera, but let me say this in my defense - it was -34 degrees Celsius (which is also -30 degrees Fahrenheit), so YOU try taking a picture without getting the shakes...

Continue on to Part 3: Blame Canada