Ah, where do I start?
How about when I first arrived – when I made the initial walk through the frozen, glistening hallways of the Hotel de Glace in Quebec City, when I had a few choice words for myself.
Idiot, I thought, adjusting my neck warmer. You really came here by yourself? This is about as romantic of a place as you can imagine and you’re going to sleep in temperatures below freezing (23-27 degrees Fahrenheit), yet you show up solo?
All fair questions, but of course I was being dramatic. I truly enjoy traveling alone, a chance to challenge my boundaries and push myself to interact with the world around me. Yet, sometimes, I stare at something that completely overtakes me, and it makes me instinctively turn to my left and my right: Hey, are you seeing this? Are you as juiced as I am over this? I suppose that’s why I enjoy running Wake and Wander at a daily pace – a way to theoretically tap you all on the shoulder and put my arms up, ask you if you’re as impressed as I am.
I was far from lonely last night – I eventually caught up with a few other writers traveling alone as well, and while couples cuddled in the corners of the steaming hot tubs, we took turns laying down in the snow for as long as we could, then jumping back into the tub, feeling the burn on our skin and the deep relaxation that comes along with the abrupt temperature change (you can always spot the travel writers, we are an interesting bunch).
But that was later, after the bar had shut down and my feet were complaining about the cold. I spent about forty-five minutes annoying a staff member with Canadian-related questions (nice to meet you Audrey), then made friends with a few of the other guests, some from Canada, others from Mississippi (cheers guys).
The writers and I now have to pay 50 cents into a kitty every time we use the word “cool” in reference to the Ice Hotel, so I am not going to describe it as such. However, it is an awfully nice place to have an unforgettable experience, a story guaranteed to draw the attention of ears of all ages. The pictures will do all the talking, and my only issue was that the ice glasses were difficult to drink from – a child’s nose and mouth would barely fit. Instead of complaining, I took matters into my own hands and made productive use of my ice-sculpting opportunity (seriously, see photo).
Here are a few overview photos to get you started. Each room is different, and I spent the morning photographing most of the suites, including mine. Look for those in the days to come, as well as the details of what it was like to prepare for and, eventually, go to sleep.
Preview: It was the first time I’ve blow dried my hair in as long as I can remember.