Sunday, August 24, 2014

August so far

In case you were wondering what's going on now with the Holloways, and in case you aren't one of the people I call every day to bother because I'm bored and lonely, here's what's up. 

1. My in-laws and Haley threw a baby shower for me a few weeks ago! It was darling and I got lots of awesome presents, surrounded by friends and family and cute jungle decorations. 


2. This week I hit 31 weeks! Only 9 ish more to go! 
 3. Jared's in Chicago, meeting our new wardies, eating all the good foodies, and setting up our apartment and unpacking so I don't have to do that part later. I am missing him a lot since I'm still here in Utah. He has orientation next week and starts school the week after.

3. Haley and I get together sometimes and make messes. Sisters are the best. 


4. The biggest news, is that when Jared left, he forgot our vacuum. Not on purpose. I found it yesterday, and called the airline to find out if I could take it on the place. They said yes, as long as it meets regular baggage restrictions. I'm thinking that may or may not be one of the strangest things I've ever taken on a plane, but I'm more than happy to be a little odd to save the money we'd otherwise have to spend on a new vacuum.  





Canada Highlights Part Two

Or in other words, whales, local eats and relaxation.

One of the things that was on my list of must-do's for this trip was whale watching. We had been doing research on Quebec for nearly two months before we went, and all the guidebooks said that the St. Lawrence river is one of the best places for seeing whales. Our trouble in figuring out how to fit this into our trip was that we didn't have a car, and the whale watching place was nearly 300 miles from Quebec city in a place called Tadoussac. Well, when we found the tour that would take us to Montmorency falls and st. Anne de Beaupre cathedral, I saw that they also did a whale watching trip. We were in the Provo library at the time, and I nearly dropped my guidebook out of excitement. I did get some nasty looks because I was a little more vocally enthused than is appropriate at a library, but I didn't even care. We were going to get to go whale watching! 


On the bus. It only took 4 hours...


The tide was out when we got there. 


On the whale cruise ship. We actually paid for and were planning on taking the Zodiac cruise, which would have been a little speed boat close to the water, but because I was pregnant, the tour guide wouldn't let us go. Too much choppy water he said. 


Us and 700 others on the ship. It was still pretty awesome. And it got cold fast! 


Looking back at the coast, there was a big storm rolling in, turns out it was better to be on the ship--we stayed a little dryer. 


I have to brag. I was the first one to spot the whale spout. That puffy cloud between the heads is a humpback whale spout. 


I'm not sure if this video will work. Or which video it is, but it's a good one. 


Another whale, just below the zodiac boat. That sky makes it look like night time. It was 2 pm. 


Then the mist came in and we couldnt see anything! Plus it rained. I was loving every minute. 


I think this is the video where the whale dives. We saw 2 humpback whales, a school of  25 belugas, a minke whale and a fin whale. 


Boating into the fjords of Saguenay. They were stunning. 


Look at that view! 



The little town of Tadoussac. 


The bus. 


Off sails the ship into the mist for another tour. 


That night we finally got Poutine for dinner (with burgers too) Poutine is the classic dish of Quebec--french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. The place we got it from looked sketchy, and honestly we were a little let down, but we only paid $3.00 for the poutine, so we weren't expecting much. 


This place was awesome, it's an old cathedral turned into a second hand bookstore. All those boxes are FILLED with books. I bought Harry Potter in french. I still haven't started it...



This is one of those cute shops that you have to take pictures of for no good reason other than it's different from everything we normally see. A soap store. 





We spent the last three days with a couple who were renting out their spare bedroom. This couple was so much fun. They are both 26 and have been married for a year. They gave us great recommendations on places to eat and we stayed up late chatting with them every night. 



This little restaurant was one of those local places. They had old board games and a retro version of nintendo and tetris on game consoles next to the tables. We spent the evening (maybe 3 hours) at this place playing chutes and ladders, enjoying our meal (Jared had a white pasta and I had a beef stuffed cabbage roll with sweet potatoes on top ) and classic French Canadian maple sugar cake dessert. It was one of our favorite evenings. 



This dessert counter we found the day before we left at a local patisserie. The line was out the door when we went at lunch time, and we went back a little later. We ended up going to this counter three times since we got one thing to split and it was so good, we had to keep going back. That chocolate pear ganache torte above was the first thing we got. Mmmmm tasty. 


All said and done, Jared and I had an amazing trip and we were so sad to come back to Utah/go back to our old routine. It was a much needed retreat, and we felt like the combination of city, wilderness and city again was a good one. We saw some amazing things, and eventually (after about a week) felt like we were able to feel like we were in a different country. We took lots of notes so anyone who wants to go to Quebec, let us know and we will give you the scoop! 




Canada Highlights Part One

Since I already put lots of pictures from our Canada Trip on Facebook, and since it's been over a month since we got back from our trip...oops...I've decided just to put some highlights on here.


Highlight one: we got some awesome gear. I've ALWAYS wanted to do a rugged backpacking trip and now we have the backpacks. This was the night before we left and I was obviously excited that all my stuff fit. 


The Hotel Frontenac was an impressive sight on the outside. The inside was a bit of a let down--nothing more fancy than a nice hotel in SLC. 


le Marche de Vieux Port was pretty cool. This isn't the Marche here, we sat on the riverbank for a picnic lunch. But those strawberries were local and my my my were they tasty. 


Street artwork. This is somebody's garage door. Cool huh?


The OLDEST grocery store still in business in North America. Circa...can't remember. But it was delightfully quaint and overpriced inside. 


In the Plains of Abraham we discovered this cute little trail. It was nice to be in the middle of the city but feel like we were miles away. We went to the plains a few times, just for the peace and for the nice views and the chance to take a walk together. 


Inside the citadel--the huge old fort the protected the city from possible invaders. Those invaders never came but this fort is still operational. 


Tour group picture. Always classy. 


THIS!! Le Paillard is the best, and almost the only patisserie/boulangerie in the entirety of Vieux Quebec. This mille feuille was the perfect follow up to a lunch of bread and cheese and olives. 


Happy Girl. 


Montmorency Falls. A rather spectacular waterfall. 


We loved this cathedral-St, Anne de Beaupre-It was on Jared's list of must-see's as we were planning our trip, and we are so glad we found a tour group that took us there since we had no car. The falls was part of that tour. Both of us have had the chance to go to lots of cathedrals all over the world, but there was definitely a special spirit inside this one. We both spent a few minutes just sitting and pondering on the pews before walking around the inside of the building. Legend has it that this cathedral has healing powers--people come from all over who have ailments of various kinds, and they leave their ailments behind when they go. The front doors are littered with old canes and walkers and crutches that people discarded because they no longer needed them. 


Our hostel room. This picture is one of my favorites for the whole trip. I call it "Jared meets humidity"


Also I love my keens. They were perfect for this trip. I wore them everywhere. 



Okay this was the BEST LUNCH EVER!! This is a pita the size of Jared's forearm. So how did we pick pita/kebab when in French canada? 1) French Canadian food was hard to find. 2) The whole city was overpriced 3) we hate paying tips. Therefore: Lebanese takeout and guess what: it was incredible. You know that old Geico commercial with the vampire at the blood bank? Well, after we ate this, Jared goes, "mmm I love the Lebanese." 


Horsey Artwork. Each horse had different historical shapes carved into it. 


Jared's birthday dinner. Lasagna. What else? It was so fun getting to celebrate his birthday in Canada. I'd say it was a huge success. 


Also, the night of June 23 there is a HUGE festival to celebrate St. Jean Baptiste day. We were lucky enough to attend for a few minutes before catching our bus home. The smell of pot and loud music and fireworks lasted until about 3 am that night. So much fun. 


Next day, it was pouring. I taught Jared how to set up a tent in the rain. Here is Jared celebrating his success. 


Rain. All. Day. 


Happy Birthday Jared! June 24. Store bought coconut cake and a little shelter from the rain. 


A nice day and a beautiful view! 


Great hiking in Jacques Cartier national park. 


The best hiking partner. 


GORGEOUS!! 


Since we weren't able to buy fuel for our stove--since everything was shut down the day we left for the park due to the holiday, Jared and I used the hot water machine in the visitor center to rehydrate all our meals. And we kept our food in their fridge so the animals wouldn't get into it. We got really lucky to have staff that were so flexible. 


This is where we spent most evenings, facetiming with family, reading library books online, drinking hot chocolate and finishing dinner. 


Jared's hat. It's his signature. 



Les Loupes summit. It was spectacular up there. Can I tell you how much I love nature and hiking and camping and outside and wilderness? A lot.