We left Montreal in the pouring rain and made our way onwards towards the historic city of Quebec. The sky was so stubbornly grey, it leached the life and colour out of the landscape as we sped on down the motorway.
Spirits on the bus were pretty low too; as we'd pulled away from our (relatively) cushy hostel in Montreal, we'd waved goodbye to James and Rachel, the honeymooning couple of the group. It had only been three weeks since we'd first been thrown into the van together but as with all roadtrips, our group had become a family. Moreover, their absence signalled the impending culmination of our journey.
(Which isn't too horrendous when your final destination is NYC but you know what I mean).
Our first stop of the day was Montmorency Falls where we unloaded for a picnic, huddled beneath dripping shelters. The plastic ponchos came out in force that day as we battled against the odds to stay dry. Clare in particular rocked the used condom look...
The prospect of having to sit in the van for another couple of hours and then try and dry myself off in a tent resulted in a full-on toddler-style strop. I'm not the kind of person who can grin and bear it when I feel like a soggy pile of shit and much moaning was done at that point, I'm sorry to say. But happily everyone felt the same way so Chad organised it so we put our spare food budget towards hostel dorms in Quebec and everyone was instantly super happy again!
And then there was Quebec itself...
Our evening activity was a ghost tour around the old city. I'm a huge sucker for a good ghost story, even if they scare the living daylights out of me. There's nothing better than an eerie mystery, linked to a tragic tale with just the tiniest suggestion of danger.
We grabbed beavertails from, um, Beavertails (this time I went for the cinnamon and sugar classic which was much more manageable than the glorious Oreo beavertail I'd attempted earlier in the week) and waited around for our guide.
Who suddenly appeared with a swish of his cape and a tip of his hat!
I've been on a fair few ghost tours before and let's be honest, they're not exactly scary are they? They tend to be pretty kid friendly and leave you chuckling rather than trembling by the end.
This was not one of those ghost tours.
Some of the tales were suitably eerie; tragedies on the river, premonitions and witches. But some were absolutely terrifying (for me at least).
As we stood overlooking the city, we were told of the pair of red eyes that would come at people in the dark in one old house near the very spot where we were stood. A number of murders had occurred in that house as a result; family members and spouses driven to despair and killing one another - by mistake, as they defended themselves against the red eyes.
And then the bone-chilling tale of the shadowy woman seen in one old church.
Made all the frickin scarier by the fact that he told us this story inside the pitch black church, lit only be a very dim handheld lantern! My lord, I thought I was going to die.
He told us of her, the numerous sightings and the countless theories as to who she was. Perhaps she was the mourning mother who had lost her child and came to ask forgiveness in this holy building? Or was she the woman who, in the absence of her husband, had had a fit of narcolepsy and been mistaken for dead and buried in the churchyard... alive? Upon his return he had realised their mistake and disinterred her (now dead) body and her coffin, complete with scratch marks all up the inside of the lid...
Needless to say, the Quebec ghost tour experience is pretty damn creepy and worth every penny. We scarpered to the pub and drank (and ate) our fears away!