Today I got to experience some beautiful sights in this city, led by my fearless host Aurelie, and joined by new local friend Paulo… and all of us on our Bromptons!
First, Aurelie and I took a picnic lunch to nearby Parc Jarry. It is a beautiful big city park nearby with a lake, a swimming pool, and lots of greenspaces where families were hanging out, barbecuing, etc. We dined in a lovely gazebo, which happened to be uninhabited when we arrived.
We met up with Paulo, and the three of us set out on our adventure.
First we visited St. Joseph’s Oratory of Montreal, a gorgeous cathedral which was unfortunately undergoing construction, but which still looked beautiful from the outside. (There are so many architecturally amazing churches here!)
Then we thought we would visit a large cemetery on Mount Royal, but after scaling a challenging hill (which appeared on the map to be a “shortcut”) we found ourselves at what seemed to be a dead end. But then Paulo went to investigate a bit, and found a narrow, leafy path into the woods. It was a very hot and sunny day, so although we weren’t sure what we would be getting into by following the path, we decided the shade and uncertainty would be a worthwhile adventure.
And it was! We ended up having to walk our bikes most of the way, since the path was narrow, steep, and/or full of roots at times, but before too long, we found ourselves at an incredible viewpoint, which amazingly neither of them had visited before.
We stood at the top and reveled for a while, enjoying the view, and then began a slow descent, also on a tricky path. Very shortly after the summit, we found another amazing view, just off to the left: we were now facing east rather than north.
The descent after that was pretty challenging. (See the photo of Aurelie carrying her bike with a full front pack.) But we all made it without injury, and reached the entrance to the cemetery. As it turned out, though, the cemetery was not really passable by bike, so we ended up turning around and heading instead for a lovely restaurant with a beautiful enclosed patio.
Some Americans who waited with us in line outside struck up a conversation about our “cool” bikes, which was fun.
Over the meal, we enjoyed some good conversation about traveling, and then Paulo had to say goodbye because he had to tend to his “ducklings”—the three 20-something American Warmshowers guests sleeping on his living room floor. They were planning to awaken at 4 am to bicycle all the way to Ottawa in one day(!!) so he wanted to have a chance to say goodbye before they went to bed.
Aurelie and I then meandered slowly back to her place, through perfectly golden-hour-lit streets. We have been relaxing on the balcony ever since.
I’m not sure yet what tomorrow will hold. I had been loosely planning to visit Quebec City, but between my concern about the cost and logistics of the train travel, the fact that English speakers are more scarce there than here, and not having been able to find a host, I’m thinking I may stay here in Montreal instead. I have several local friends I’m hoping to see, so perhaps I can meet up with one or more of them tomorrow.
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