Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ice Hotel Experience

Because you see that I have written this entry, you know that we survived our night in the Ice Hotel. At least Jim and I did. Bob and Sally had to leave very early this morning so we do not know how their night went.

We drove the 5 hours from Ottawa to the Ice Hotel, just west of Quebec City, leaving the clouds behind in Montreal and arriving in sunshine. I am not going to tell you too much until I have my photos to add to the descriptions. You know, a picture is worth a thousand words!

We took a tour of the Ice Hotel, where our guide told us that you should not come to sleep in the Ice Hotel, but to rather, experience the Ice Hotel! I can vouch for that!

We had to attend an orientation session about how to use our fancy sleeping bags and how to dress for sleep so that we would be warm, not hot or sweaty during the night.

Bob, Sally, Jim and I went out to dinner at a local restaurant and stayed there for over 2 hours, sucking up heat and waiting until the tourists were out of the hotel and it was exclusively for the overnight guests.

We arrived back at the hotel around 8:40 PM and put our stuff into our rooms, and checked out the rest of the place. We did the ice slide, hung out in the disco, played some games with other guests and Jim and I tried our hands at ice-carving. We made a football out of a rectangular block of ice! Before turning in for the night, we joined Bob in the hot tube, to get warm all the way through.

I was warm all night, even though I had to get up and go to the heated bathrooms around 4:30 AM. I did not sleep much, but that was OK. We were up at 7:15, packed up our stuff and went to the Inn for a buffet breakfast.

The Ice Hotel is constructed on the grounds of a park that includes 70 km of groomed XC skiing trails. After breakfast, Jim and I headed to the lodge to get our maps and ski passes. We then skied 17 km, on beautiful, almost private, trails. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the skiing was great! We made one more trip back to the Ice Hotel before heading for Montreal.

We just came back from a lovely dinner at a French Restaurant within walking distance of the our hotel, Fairmont's Queen Elizabeth. We took the long way to the restaurant by walking through the extensive underground shopping mall. Most of the shops were closed, but it was enjoyable to look in the windows.

Tomorrow we go home, after a wonderful Canadian adventure. Others may go south for February Recess, but coming to Canada for skating, skiing and general outdoor winter fun is my first choice.

I will try to get a blog done in the next few days with lots of photos from our trip. It may take 2 or 3 blogs to get all the photos in.

Hope all is well.

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