There is something to be said for experiencing a ‘seasonal’ vacation destination. Mountains and skiing in the winter, gardens in the spring, beach in the summer… etc. Which is why I was so surprised by people’s reaction when I told them I was going to Quebec in February. They thought I was nuts.
It was by far the most snow I’ve ever seen. I immediately freaked out to my uber driver while leaving the airport about the mountain of snow they built by clearing the parking lots, or the fact that there were 6 feet tall snow walls on either side of the road! Front yards and steps up to houses were nonexistent if there was a backdoor and a drive to use, and this Tennessee girl was just in complete shock of it all. Even though my driver was actually from the middle of Africa, he was laughing at me.
It was soo beautiful tho!!! The town feels very European, which makes sense given the French roots. We stayed and strolled through the old town hopping in and out of shops and enjoying the Canadian maple syrup whiskey or local caribou wine to warm up.
The highlight of our long weekend trip was the Siberia station spa. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I found it to be completely ‘magical’. I know I used the word a minimum of 5 times while there.
This outdoor Scandinavian style spa has 8 hot pools, multiple styles of saunas, and 3 cool pools plus the partially frozen stream/creek. If you’re wondering how all that works together to create a relaxing experience, here is how you should optimally use the pools annnd why I was dipping into a frozen creek.
It is a Scandinavian concept that alternates hot, cold, and rest, until ‘profound’ relaxation is reached. Thermotherapy provides numerous benefits: reduction of stress, elimination of toxins, soothes muscles, stimulates cardiac functions, improves blood circulation, restores elasticity and firmness to the skin, considerably improves quality of sleep, and strengthens the immune system. This is a spa package that you don’t have to plan around the weather to utilize :). It’s recommended to plan between 2-3 hours for an optimal experience.
It was all of 15 degrees outside, fresh snow was falling, and while there were banks of snow all around, they keep the walkways clear and every building and pool easily accessible. The pine trees hanging above all had fresh snow balancing on the branches, and the pools and saunas were just far enough away from each other that you felt the silence and seclusion needed for real relaxation.
All of the above plus adding an hour massage into the mix made for one of my favorite spa experiences to date. It beat the Turkish bath in Istanbul, the volcano mud massage in Colombia, and at least tied with the beachfront Thai massages in the Phi Phi islands. Just sayin, the spa as a whole is unique and I believe in the thermotherapy methods now! I felt so refreshed after running from a hot tub into a frozen creek!
While this is a short post, majority about a spa, I also adored Quebec City. It was freaking cold, like 7 degrees for a high the day we were out wandering around the Winter Festival that was going on while we were there. It’s interesting to try to adapt and understand that this is someone’s norm and they go to the bar on a Sat night regardless. Which we did, and when we left 6 inches of snow had magically fallen. There I go using the word magical again, I suppose it is my best description for my winter wonderland long weekend then.
I would recommend QC in the wintertime to anyone wanting a seasonal vacation, I would have loved to have seen it all lit up with christmas lights and decorations, but the big Winter Festival is also a great time to visit! Also, look into Scandinavian spas any cold weather destination you may be considering! As always, hope I’ve inspired you to book a trip, for my American friends/readers… this is an easy one! And since I’ve waited so long to post about it… you can start planning for this winter now :).
(and that’s how I felt about snow angels with no gloves on at -5 temps)