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winter

Day 2 – Club Med Charlevoix

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the day dawned cool and wet. But on the bright side, we had a bonus waterfall just outside our room.

Part of the bargain struck with our children was that – due to them staying up late the night before – we would all sleep in that morning. (“Sleeping in” is relative – and in our case meant 8 am.) To our surprise, the kids managed to make it to about 7:45 am. Well past time for breakfast.

Off to the morning buffet, which was just as good as dinner the night before – barring a few minor misses, like lukewarm hashbrowns. But I’m nitpicking – there were fresh-made omelettes, and local sausages and cappuccinos. Very tasty.

But it was time for the moment of truth – how long could we keep our family entertained when Le Massif remained exceptionally closed?

We headed off to the juggling class, and it wasn’t long before our kids were practicing devils’ sticks and juggling scarves. Then they set up a ‘circus course’ of obstacles, which was also a huge draw. Our kids were there for close to an hour before we managed to pry them away so that we could go swimming.

The Club Med Charlevoix pool was nicer than we’d expected, and we had no trouble getting a lounge chair – despite the impromptu rain day. The water was a bit cool when we first got in, but we soon got used to it. There were also a large number of beach balls, noodles, flutter boards and other water toys.

They’re multiplying

We batted around the beachball for a bit, and then moved over to the kids’ pool. It was a bit warmer, and the kids really enjoyed bouncing around on some oversized plastic rabbits. There were also a pair of splashpad elements which the lifeguards kindly turned on for us.

The kids were enjoying themselves enough at this point that my wife and I were able to duck out to enjoy the steamroom – and its clean, fresh scent of eucalyptus – for a few minutes. It seemed a bit cool at first, but then we realized the temperature increased dramatically the higher we were seated. Our muscles – stiff from all the driving – were soon loosened. The steam room is an adults-only space, which we deeply appreciated after the juggling class.

Beyond the pool, kids’ pool and steam room, there’s also a 16+ hot tub outdoors. It was still raining at this point, however, so we decided to give it a pass.

It was closing in on 11 am, so our son went off to check himself into Passworld while our daughter enjoyed the magical hammocks while we enjoyed the exceptionally comfortable lounge chairs. I think she would have spent far longer there, but it was time to head back to the room so that my wife, daughter and I could shower and get ready for lunch.

(We tried to bring our son along too, but he elected to dine with Passworld instead. You might be noticing a theme here…)

The lunch buffet was excellent – I had mushroom ravioli, fingerling potatoes with hot raclette, fried catfish, breaded fish balls and lemon meringue pie. All delicious, and table service was once again prompt and efficient.

I went off for a bit to get some work done, and take a nap. My wife and daughter spent the afternoon at Le Chalet, watching the mist roll across the St. Lawrence river. She tried kids club briefly, but it’s not her scene – she’d rather hang out with us. Fair enough. We are pretty awesome.

Not pictured – the wading-pool-depth of water recently dumped on this scenic hillside

It was around this time that the news came down – Le Massif would remain exceptionally closed for Tuesday, too.

We talked to the excursions desk, but there isn’t much available at this point. We could catch a bus into Quebec City for about $35 a person, or do a guided bus trip for $173 (presumably per person, but at that price we weren’t enquiring further).

We could drive ourselves into Quebec City, but that’s about an hour and a half away, and frankly none of us are feeling it. Dog sledding? Closed. Skating? Closed. Hiking? Enter at your own risk.

The logical option would be to visit the nearest town of Baie St. Paul.

So naturally, we’re going hiking.

There were more activities available in the afternoon – including trivia, one of my son’s favourites. But to the surprise of all, he elected to stick with Passworld. We stayed in Le Chalet, and once again tried the food – this time opting for an order of poutine. It was excellent, as were the shifting moods of the St. Lawrence.

It was then time for Aerial Circus Lesson – this time with silks and a trapeze bar. My daughter gave it a shot, and really enjoyed it. Then we enjoyed the live band for a bit, as well as the pre-dinner mini-spread of chips, cheese, guac, and crackers.

We managed to pry my son out of Passworld long enough to head to dinner, where we enjoyed tandoori chicken and leg of lamb, followed by a gluten-free chocolate caramel dessert that I forgot to photograph. (Sorry. It was delicious.)

Teens’ club were off to dinner until about 8 pm, so my son and I went off to play some table tennis – except that his friends were already there playing. I stayed for a single game, and then left him and his friends to their own devices.

There was a family-oriented dance party that night instead of Just Dance. It included some fun activities, like freezing when the music stopped and joining up into groups of 3, 5, 10, and even 25.

The dance party was unfortunately marred by the large number of children who were treating the lobby bar couches like their own personal jungle gym. This is mildly annoying if no one is sitting there but outright irritating when they are climbing between tables and under legs that were carefully maneuvered to prevent children from passing through. We’re not trying to claim vast swathes of territory here – perhaps 6 linear feet? – but still, they tried to run through.

Some parents caught the hint and spoke with their children. Others… not so much. Assuming the parents were around somewhere?

This is perhaps my biggest gripe with Club Med – it seems to be popular with overly-permissive parents who are all too happy to let their kids run wild – and into people. (Though these same parents might view us as grumpy sticklers with no sense of fun.)

Anyway, that’s my rant for the day. We’re now sitting at the raised bar tables instead, which we’re hoping will keep us out of the line of fire.

We closed out the dance party, and then it was time for bed – having officially survived our first rain day.

Ready to check out the Club Med Charlevoix? Contact me at ryan.aldred@gmail.com for a friends and family invitation that will save $100 off the cost of your trip.

(Not available for Last Minute deals. Other limitations may apply.)