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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's probably a story best told through pictures, but last week A and I spent a night at the
Hôtel de Glace in Québec. Was it cold? Oh my, yes. Was it sort of a goofy thing to do in the heart of the coldest winter I think I've ever seen? Well, one way to think about that is to say that the best way to live in a cold climate is to embrace the cold. In Ottawa the river freezes, and people commute by ice skating. Maybe Buffalo isn't cold enough!


Shown here, one of the rooms. They build the thing using big molds, like concrete forms, so it's solid ice all the way through. The beds are slabs of ice, with insulating foam pads, and the guests sleep in sleeping bags-- North Face, a sponsor, provides the sleeping bags, and will be outfitting my Antarctic expedition.There's a disco, and a bar, but it's not a big drinking scene-- or it wasn't for me, in any event, because the bathrooms are in another building, and once you are in bed Admiral Byrd couldn't order me out. We went off campus for dinner-- the dining options on premises were limited, and returned to the bar to find that the property had set up tables with blocks of ice and small hand tools for guests who wanted to have a go at ice carving. Over at one a pair of Canadian sisters (there seemed to be a lot of sisters, and women who'd come with friends because their husbands wouldn't come with) diligently hacking away to make a bigger ice glass for cocktails than the small ice glasses which the bar provided, one of the most Canadian things I've ever seen.Following cocktails with the cuccoo Canadian sisters we changed into hot tub kit and spa'd and saunaed awhile to get our body temperatures up, and thus to bed. We woke up to a dazzling morning, breakfasted and went snowshoeing, a first for me. It is basically pokier cross-country skiiing, with less falling down, which was fine with me. There was also tube sliding. A's "whoo", captures that nicely.
video
I'd go back. 


| Comments:
This is fascinating! I remember reading about a similar building (I think it was a palace) in Clive Barker's "Sacrament" and always thought it would be amazing to see in real life, but I didn't think it was an actual, possible thing.
 

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