I know I haven’t blogged in a few weeks! I have a good excuse, Dad and his taxi of life was en vacances in Canada this month!
Last week we took a road trip to Quebec and Montreal respectively. Feel free to comment if you have anything to add!
Driving to Canada takes about 8 hours, well actually 10 if you count the health and hunger breaks! This was the first time we didn’t rent a mini-van (to be a frugal dad). Our Camry was fine for the 4 of us. Everyone was happy. Well most of the time anyway!
I had never really visited Canada before last week (except for a Punjabi Wedding in Toronto about 20 years ago!, but that’s another story for another day!).
I could talk about what we did, but my readers don’t pay to be bored with that, so I’ll give Dad’s perspective on the trip!
We saw two totally different cities in Quebec and Montreal.
- Quebec had amazing mountain ranges and outdoor activities, walking and lots and lots of history and culture. The Old Town area, the Gondola Ride, the amazing waterfalls, and the outstanding countryside scenes were truly breath taking. Of course I took lots of pics, but they are still on my iPhone and not published yet!
- Montreal felt like NYC, except it was clean and the underground city, the Basillica of Notre dame, Olympic Park, the Biodome, Old Town, were just magnificent. I’ve decided that this will be another road trip next year here to truly get the impact of this city. Oh! I forgot the Metro trains! So efficient!
- Canada is truly breathtaking and worth the trip. The immigration into Canada is a lot faster (minutes) as opposed to the return to US (over an hour). If anything the return delay coming to US was the only negative thing I experienced during this trip.
- The natives are just amazing with their hospitality and their kindness. Even if you don’t speak French (I speak high school level of course!), you are not at a disadvantage!
- Take along a credit card that doesn’t charge international fees! American Express or debit cards just don’t cut it. Be prepared to be hit with conversion and fees! Boo! I’d recommend you take cash.. and try to find places with minimal or no currency exchange fees.
- Canadian $1 and $2 coins, are the norm.. so be prepared to jingle your way through Canada with your spare change..
- The US Dollar is accepted everywhere! Since it’s only a few pennies difference, many establishments will give you a one-to-one conversion. Try giving Canadian currency anywhere in the US and see what happens!
- Be prepared to spend, spend and shop! The artisans, the tours, and the things to do in both Quebec and Montreal is endless! Now I know why they say Oh Canada!
- In Quebec, you quickly learn that “Demi Tour” means U-Turn and “Arret” means Stop.
- You quickly realize that when the speed limit says 90 it does not mean 90 MPH. that’s 90 Kilometers per Hour (about 55 mph).
- Do not leave home without your GPS! We lived on our GPS, as Quebec is all french when it comes to road signs (Nord is North, Sud is South, Est is East, what’s west again?)
- We even saw our first “one day strike” in Montreal at our hotel! Oh gosh can they be loud!
- Don’t take the Grey Line bus tour where you don’t hop-on, hop-off. The bus only tour (which we took) is a total waste of time and money! Hop-on and Hop-off double decker (like NYC) is the way to go..
- Wear comfortable walking shoes, because you will be walking everywhere! We averaged about 5 miles of walking per day!
- Make sure your iPhone is “Juiced”, you will take many, many pictures!
- Wireless and/or internet is NOT free and available everywhere. Be prepared for some frustration here. In Montreal, our room was wired not wireless. Of course they had plenty of free computers in the lobby, so that took away this pain.
- Plan, plan, Plan your trip. Trip Advisor is the way to go if you want to plan your trip.
- Be prepared for delays on return to US, if you are going through customs/immigration. Please do take back the same children you bring into the country. Our immigration officer at the border didn’t think my younger daughter was mine, and wasted quite a few minutes of looking at her “NEW PASSPORT” and her to ensure, I didn’t trade bring back the wrong 13 year old! Perhaps she was kidding?
Well that’s all for now, I’m sure I’ll think of more Dadism’s to add..
I could go on.. as many know, I love to ramble!
Au Revoir mon amis! Je suis fatigue maintenant!