Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hotel De Glace

The Ice Hotel, thats where me and Romy spent Tuesday, March 21st, sleeping! It was the purpose of our trip to Quebec, Canada, the official french speaking providence to the east. It was like stepping into a different world, where absolutely NOTHING was written in English!

In Quebec, I thought that there would be at least an English translation under all the French, but no, and I was forced to remember all the French I learned. I understood a lot, actually! The funniest thing were the stop-signs, which did not say stop, but arret. They say "stop" in a lot of different countries which do not speak English, but not in Quebec! Even the McDonalds (which we called McCrap) was ALL IN FRENCH!!! How about a junior poulet avec frites et une beverage gazeuse? Did I spell that right?? Whatever. . . what was weird is that the Quebecois are supposedly bi-lingual, but they do not have to pass a English-proficiency test, only a French one. Everyone spoke French, and very little English, with a large Frenchy accent. But it was cool to go into a different sort of place, where it seemed like little France!

The Ice Hotel was of course awesome! I am posting many pics on my flickr account. So go check them out! The whole hotel ws made of ice and compacted snow, with support columns made out of ice. All ice was engineered to freeze from the inside outward, pushing all air out as it froze, so that you get a perfectly crystal clear block (fun fact of the day). It looked cool!

We got suite #9, which we figured was a kind of nature room, because it had leaves and stuff carved in the bed (which was also ice) and into the snow-walls. We got a -40C sleeping bag to sleep in, and a little pillow. The best part was that before bed, they open the jacuzzis and sauna, where you can really warm yourself up. It was snowing while we were relaxing in the jacuzzi, and below freezing!

Other rooms were themed, for example there was an egyptian room, a great wall of China room, and many other ones that just looked cool with creative carvings like a sled-bed with trees and a horse carved into the walls. The two most expensive rooms had a fireplace inside, but the fire gave no warmth, because it was insulated to protect the snow and ice from melting!

And then of course was the N'Ice Club, which was a bar that lit up at night with muli-colors. We got a shot of Absolute vodka with a bit of juice for color in shot glasses carved out of ice! The alcohol had a lower freezing point than the ice around it, so it was actually melting the ice shot glasses slightly. The longer you left the alcohol in the glass, the more ice kept melting around it, and I think eventually the whole ice glass would melt until the liquid would spill out. But that would probably take a few hours, so you were safe when using the ice glass for a few drinks.

The Ice Hotel was a truely unique experience. The tour guide told us that there is only one other in the world, and that is in Sweden!

We also went skiing at StoneHam resort, a few km north of Quebec City, and east of the Ice Hotel, in the small "mountains." That was a lot of fun!