Over Presidents’ Day Weekend, students took a trip to Quebec City for a short break from the academic atmosphere. The trip, hosted by Student Activities, was a wonderful way to relax and have some fun. Students were able to explore the many restaurants, shops, and beautiful sights that Quebec City has to offer and got to experience the 60th annual Winter Carnival. With a parade, dancers, and snow and ice sculptures all around, Quebec City and the Carnival were a wonderful way to enjoy the long weekend.
Student Jacob Moberg went on the trip and had a lot to share about his adventures.
I had never been out of the United States before, so I quickly made the choice to take the trip to Quebec City. Although Quebec is only about an hour or so away from the U.S. border, it was a new experience for me, so I was very excited. As I sat on the bus on the way there, I began picturing how the city would look. I didn’t know much about the city at all, so I was left picturing something that looked a little like Boston. I have always been a fan of Boston, so I was excited to see how Quebec would look.
We reached the outskirts of the city and I could already tell I was going to have an amazing time. The tall buildings and the drastic change of scenery were a nice change of pace from the scenery I have grown used to at Saint Joseph’s College. Of course, Portland is only about half an hour away from SJC, and so the view of tall buildings and the fast pace of being in a city are easily accessible. However, I have had to spend much of my time on schoolwork and other projects and have been unable to travel to Portland much. I was accustomed to being in a woodlands atmosphere, so being in a city was a nice change.
The bus pulled up in front of our hotel and my heart started pounding from excitement. The hotel looked very nice and the many of the other buildings that were in the same square looked so interesting. One building immediately caught my attention, for it looked liked the walls that one sees outside of an old castle. There was a blend of old Quebec and new Quebec, and the sight was so intriguing.
I got settled in my room with my roommates and I looked outside to see the view. We had been put in a room that looked out into the patio area of the hotel, so there weren’t many views to see. However, I spotted hot tubs and thought to myself, “Relaxing in a hot tub after a long day of exploring the city? I can’t wait for that!” One of my friends that had joined me on the trip began explaining to me what places we could go explore. He knew his way around the area that we were staying in, since he had come on the trip last year. We got our coats on and headed out to explore.
The first thing that caught my attention was the many ice bars that were set up in front of the small stores and pubs that were on the same street as our hotel. The designs of the bars were so elaborate and beautiful to look at. We continued down the street and ended up at the fairgrounds for the Winter Carnival activities. There was a massive ice block building, a small concert stage, snow sculptures, and a small toboggan race track. There was so much to do! Since the area was crowded, we decided that we would check out the carnival the next day. At this time, it was about 5pm, and we were hungry. We went into the old part of Quebec and there were so many different restaurants, all focusing on foods from different countries. We walked down to an Irish pub and I could see an Italian restaurant across the street and a Mexican restaurant up another street. We eventually went into the pub and were seated quickly. I ordered food and it turned out to be one of the best burgers I had eaten in a long time. Many of the people, who worked in the restaurant, though they spoke French as their first language, also spoke English which I was very thankful for.
After eating at the pub, we made our way back to the hotel just in time to see the Winter Carnival parade floats pass right by our hotel. Seeing these floats reminded me of Disneyland. Each float had a different theme, with my favorite probably being the float that had an acrobat jumping off of a platform, landing on a trampoline, and doing tricks in mid-air as he made his way back to land on the platform. Although it was relatively cold out, the excitement of everyone watching the parade definitely created a warm and entertaining atmosphere.
After the parade and a long day of exploring, we decided to relax in one of the hot tubs at the hotel. It was nice to start winding down from the day and to talk about how much fun the trip had already been. Once we got back into our room, and realized that we still had some energy left, we decided to go out again and burn off the last of the energy. Right down the street from the hotel, only about 50 feet away from its exit, was a small basement pub. We made our way downstairs and entered the pub. It was a little crowded, but we managed to find seats. We sat and listened to a pretty decent guitarist sing different ’90s rock songs. It was so much fun to see how into the music everyone was getting. Some people were dancing and others were singing along to the songs. The atmosphere was so welcoming, and I left the pub knowing that I definitely wanted to come back to Quebec City as soon as possible.
This is just a glimpse into some of the activities offered here at Saint Joseph’s College. If you would like to see more of what Saint Joseph’s College offers its students, visit www.sjcme.edu/student-life/activities.