Saturday, April 1st 2017
My third day in Ville de Quebec (VdQ) was slow and leisurely. This was the day I started to worry I’d run out of things to do. I’d all ready seen downtown (yesterday), the only other thing I wanted to see was a Cabane à Sucre, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do that! (Do you just show up at one? Do you have to book it ahead of time? I was very confused as to the rules regarding sugar shacks!)
I still had an Aquarium to see though, so I was safe for at least one more day.
I had a simple breakfast of leftover bacon and eggs from the pasta carbonara ingredients of the night previous, then I google mapped my bus route to the aquarium. This is one of my favorite features of Google Maps: if you put in a destination, then change your form of transport from car to bus, it will show bus routes and times to get you there! This saved me a LOT of wasted translating time on the Québec bus websites.
I had to walk across the bridge to get to the bus, all in all the transport took me about 45 minutes including waiting for the bus. Like I said, leisurely. I didn’t take this trip in lieu of a relaxing vacation, and I made a point of stopping to smell the metaphorical roses. (the literal roses probably don’t bud until July there?!)
As you can see by the background of the sign, the weather wasn’t very conducive to rose-growing. It was a brisk -3 degrees in the sun, but not too windy, thanks to my new scarf from Village des Valeurs! Very conducive to getting back indoors, which I did with gusto after paying a small entrance fee.
I can tell that this aquarium would be much nicer to visit in the summer or fall. For one thing you would get to see the cool insect festival that was advertised above, but not set to open until a month after I left. For another, a good half the aquarium has outdoor features, such as a seal tank where you get to watch them dance and swim and I assume do tricks. There was also a polar bear which I avoided for political reasons (cruelty to animals) and an owl hanging out in a lonely cage, who I would have walked right by if he hadn’t alerted me to his presence with a jump-inducing “HOOT”.
Very few people were walking outdoors, but the indoor features were very active with young families.
As you enter a coin-filled waterfall greets you, crossed by planked bridges in a kind of pirate bay theme. The road naturally leads you to the educational tunnels. The first one is dedicated to fresh water life:
Or “soft water” as they call it in french.
Of course they also had plenty of exhibits of fishes, floating around, looking angry.
They focused mainly on species found locally.
Then in the next corridor they lead on to ocean life. I love seeing representations of humans to scale with other animals on earth, such as this one with a human and whales:
I love ocean life because its so VARIED and BIZARRE!
In the hall between exhibits, looking down on the artfully hung metallic fish.
And then on to more cool life forms:
They had some creatures in shallow pools so people could PET them, as seen above. *shudder*.
The octopus was cool, but I felt bad for him. Octopi are highly intelligent, and he knows he’s in captivity. It makes me sad to see highly developed animals in cages, as I alluded to earlier with the polar bear. Fish are pretty simple as creatures go, but octopi have been shown to be able to plan, and figure out solutions to problems.
The interior of the building had what looked like a tall silo. Inside the top floor was a huge circular room with a giant pool in the middle overlooking a plastic tube with people walking through it, looking back up at you!
The bottom floor was of course, the tube. I love the dense feeling of walking through underwater tubes, so quiet and heavy.
Just as I was passing down a corridor with old scuba gear on display, my sister sent me this meme, without knowing what I was doing. I sent her back the picture of the scuba suit above and it blew her mind!
She and I have some kind of mental telepathy I swear!
After the tube I was pretty much done with this part of the aquarium. I checked out the cafeteria, but it had nothing of real interest to me. I felt like being waited on, so I went back outdoors to check out the rest of the aquarium.
There was a donut food truck on site, which was very tempting, but I knew I needed real food and again I still wanted to sit somewhere. The aquarium has a real full restaurant as well, but it looked closed so I didn’t check it out.
I went to the other building which is closer to the entrance. It was mainly dark and featured full length glass exhibits of jellyfish.
It was so cool to just stand there in the near-dark and watch the thousands of jellyfish throb rhythmically like blood cells in a heart.
After the jellyfish there were a few extra exhibits like sting-ray petting, and these weirdos.
I was now done with the aquarium, having perused it for nearly 3 hours. I looked up the time of the next bus, and saw that I had just long enough to check out the souvenirs, and buy a couple!
The bus dropped me off at the same place I had boarded, and I crossed the street to the strip where I had found a liquor store and supermarket the previous day. There was a small restaurant nestled in the strip called “La Cohue” or “the crowd”.
It was nearly empty besides me. I was promptly served coffee and orange juice, as well as one of those weird yogurt shooters that every restaurant in Québec give you for some reason.
As you can see I slopped my parfait everywhere before I managed to take a photo…
Also I just realized that parfait is french for perfect, and in retrospect this is the perfect way to have yogurt!
For lunch I ordered a crispy leg of duck with hashbrowns and a side salad. I ate most of it, because being french is all about stuffing your face, right?
I walked lazily home, to take yet another bath and plan my evening.
It was saturday night after all. Earlier I had purchased a trip advisor pub crawl, so at 8:30 pm I headed to the bus so I could meet the “crawlers” at the pub at 9.
The problem was, apparently this pub has been shut down for some time now. As I stood outside in the minus 10 degree evening angrily calling trip advisor and everyone else I could think to blame, I received an email telling me “the trip had been cancelled, and I received an email earlier today saying as much”. Well excuse me, but if I had received this email why would I be standing out in the cold like a moron?!
I’m all for partying my face off in another province when the occasion arises, but I’m not going to just randomly go to bars and find people to hang with… (ok I did this twice already on this trip but WHO is counting?) I was excited about the pub crawl because it is made (or so it said on the description) for people like me, travelers who want a fun night in Quebec without the whole being drunk alone in a random city.
Sooooo I took the long UBER ride home (my first time using Uber by the way!) and went to bed. Kind of an anti-climactic ending to such an action-packed day, but I did get a good french conversation in with the driver, and I got to see Québec city by night, and it’s très très belle.