As most of you who read my blog posts semi-regularly, my wife and I were celebrating our tenth anniversary this year. Ten years! We had decided on our anniversary plan about nine years ago – an epic two-week trip, along with my brother and his wife, to Disney World. The reasoning being that our anniversary coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom. Eight years of putting money away week by week so that we would have a nice little nest egg to use for our trip. It was going to be amazeballs.
You can likely guess by the tone that the trip did not occur. Thanks to COVID-19, our plans were quashed. But we would not let this disappointment ruin our big anniversary. Given the travel constraints we faced, we instead opted to do a smaller-scale trip, but a fun one, nonetheless. Rather than head south to Florida, we headed north-west towards Quebec.
This was the first time that we had left our little Atlantic provinces bubble in just shy of two years. Excitement filled the car as we made our way to our first of two destinations.
We spent our first few nights at a lovely hotel and spa near Trois-Rivières. The Auberge Godefroy was a definite splurge in terms of what we would usually pay for a hotel, but as this was our anniversary, we decided to treat ourselves. And treat ourselves we did! Our package included a four-course meal for each of the nights we stayed, along with a gourmet breakfast the following mornings. The food was nothing shy of exceptional, as was the service we received. In addition to the food, we decided to continue with the splurge and booked ourselves each a multi-hour treatment at the spa. It was luxurious.
One of the features of the hotel is that it has a few outdoor heated pools and hot tubs that are open year-round. Despite it being a bit cooler during our stay, we availed ourselves of the facilities for extended periods of time. Although we were only at Auberge Godefroy for a brief two-night/three-day stay, we did nothing but relax, eat, and sleep, so we both felt like we had been there for twice as long. A perfect way to begin a vacation.
Upon leaving Trois-Rivières, we decided to take a little detour and headed to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré to visit the renowned church. I had not been here since I was a child. The church itself is magnificent and is no wonder why it is a tourist-magnet.
Then, it was off to our end destination – Quebec City. My wife and I have visited Quebec City several times over the past four or five years (and that’s not counting the two-year gap due to COVID-19). It’s become one of our go-to vacation destinations, particularly Old Quebec. Being able to walk around one of the oldest cities in North America is a real treat for a couple of History students. Even with COVID restrictions in place, the city retained its charm. In reality, because of the pandemic, the number of tourists was vastly lower than usual. Add to this our conscious choice to have early meals and it meant that we often were the sole diners in the restaurant. Nothing like private dining!
We did lots of walking around, some eating, some resting, but overall, having lots of fun. We spent the better part of a week in the area, so managed to do everything we wanted, at our leisure, and then some.
Although it was not the vacation we originally wanted, we made the most of the time we had and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The vacation did make us both realize how badly we needed to get away and add some “normalcy” to our lives. Two years of living in a Groundhog Day loop had taken its toll on us. It was only upon our actually stopping and doing something different that we realized how very tired we really were. Despite not doing a whole lot for the past two years, it still had a significantly taxing effect on our mental state. This trip was just the antidote we needed.
Our Quebec holiday has helped us put things into perspective. We realize how good our lives are here. Yes, we have pandemic restrictions in place, but none of our family and friends have been directly impacted by COVID-19. We are both healthy, with good jobs that we appreciate and enjoy; we have abundance in our lives in every meaning of the word. But we also both recognize the importance of taking downtime. We will be more conscious of our mental states, our energy levels, and our health, and will take some well-deserved breaks periodically. Whether it’s just a quick daytrip somewhere, an overnight in a nearby city, or a full-blown holiday, it’s critical to give ourselves that time to reset. I hope you will do the same.
And you, Dear Reader? What are your favourite vacation destinations, whether near or far? Where do you like to go when you need to take a break and recharge your batteries?