My last two days in Montreal


Wow. My time here is wrapping up. It is so hard to condense the past two days into just 15 photographs. I’ll do my best.

The Marillion Weekend wrapped up last night, after three nights of absolutely wonderful concerts. I’m so grateful that this event happened to coincide with my timing here in Montreal—what are the odds? Talk about magic!

Yesterday, my Servas host Gabrielle took me on a wonderful walking tour of Montreal, including the Old Port area I had been wishing to see.

First we got on the metro, which was my first time on it for this trip. (Last time here, I was staying farther from the concert venue, so I took the metro home each night.) Although I didn’t have my bike with me, I was pleased to see that they had good bike access in the subway station, and a dedicated car on each train for cyclists. Wow!

I posted a photo the other day of the outside of the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral. Well, yesterday we went inside! It is a 1/7 size replica of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Just gorgeous. I tried to be very respectful as I photographed it, because there was a mass in progress. (And the chanting was incredible!) But the interior was breathtaking.

Afterward we went to the Bonaventure Hotel, and a few other downtown buildings. The Bonaventure (no photos here, sorry) has a heated outdoor pool that guests can swim in during the winter! The water is warm, but there is often snow around the pool.

We went into a few other buildings, including one containing an amazing water feature that you can barely tell is water (see photo) and also a large chunk of the Berlin Wall.

After that, we made our way to the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, which was crowded at times, but very beautiful. The architecture is very European.

In one modern building there, we were able to take the elevator up to a very small but cool outdoor observation area, with scale models and plaques about many of the city’s attractions you could see from there, including the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and the Habitat 67 structure. (The plaque for that one indicated that, indeed, the average selling price for one of the apartments is a million dollars, Canadian.)

It got to be a pretty hot day, so after three or four hours of walking, Gabrielle (who is 80) took the metro back home, while I stayed to walk around a bit more. I saw a few more beautiful sights on the walk back home.

Then today, I decided to make the effort to scale Mt. Royal, right in the middle of the city, on my bike. I was intimidated, since the mountain is 764’ tall (233m). But the particular pathway I chose was long and extremely gradual, so I never had to walk the bike, nor even to pause and rest. In fact, I was able to avoid even using my lowest gear, except for a very short portion near the top. When I arrived at the lookout, I wasn’t even winded!

That park is another incredible one. The views at the top are amazing (see the Jacques-Cartier Bridge again, in the cover photo?) but the way up and down is a forested wonderland, with many hiking trails, and even a small lake. I spent a bit of time lounging on shady benches on the way down, but it would be so easy to spend a whole day or more exploring that park.

When I reached the bottom, I headed back to Resto Vego for my fourth(!) meal there. I love their buffet! On the way, I passed more picturesque alleyways.

I also stopped again in Parc La Fontaine, right near Gaby’s place. It is another very large and beautiful park, with a wonderful reflecting pond in it.

I will miss this city. Many friends have asked me, after these last nine months of travel, if I have a favorite place so far. I have always said no, that I have enjoyed almost every place I have visited, and thoroughly loved many of them. That is true. But now I have a new answer: my favorite place is Montreal. If you haven’t visited here yet, I highly recommend it. (Not outside of summer, of course, unless you really like cold weather and winter sports. But if you do, it’s apparently wonderful for skating and sledding and other fun winter activities as well.) But it’s really a special city.

Tomorrow: the Canadian capital city of Ottawa!

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