Hi All, Bonjour, Written: May 30, 2009
Well, this is the last blog of our New England/Canadian cruise, “Montreal, Quebec”. We’re been home since Tuesday and now it gets hard to recall all the wonderful memories of our last stop in Montreal. It’s hard to appreciate this city when you have been gone from home several weeks and are looking forward to returning, but I’ll do my best to try and describe the three days we spent there. By now you have read my “Guertin” blog and seen the related photo album, which covers the people during the first day, but now I want to show you two photo albums, the first covering the site-seeing of Day 1, the old city and port, and the second the site-seeing of Day 2 and 3, more of the old city and port with the addition of the shopping area of Montreal. Montreal is a city of over 3 million people, located on an island called Montreal. As I mentioned in my first blog, the city started as the village “Ville-Marie” in 1641 the site of which is located in the old port. This will be a long blog because I’m going to cover two photo albums, so you might take a couple of visits to get through it all.
Let’s start with the first photo album, “Montreal Quebec – Day 1 Photo Album” above. The first photo is a very wide panoramic of Montreal from the boat. Since we were at the south end of the old port looking from the middle to the right you see the old port and city ending way over on the right with the bridge, the “Jacques-Cartier Bridge” and those yellow and blue striped tents in front of the bridge which is the winter headquarters of the Cirque du Soleil. The second photo is our port sign, this time on the exit ramp from the ship. The third, fourth, and fifth photos give you a feel for the streets as we walked around the old city and port. The sixth photo shows you a typical sidewalk café. I can’t tell you how many of these café’s we came across as we walked throughout the city. This was so typical French and Paris it was hard to believe we were in North America. The seventh photo shows “Jacques-Cartier Square” with City Hall in the background. This square is the center of the old city and was packed with sidewalk cafes, strolling musicians, street acts, stalls selling handcraft, etc. and beautiful flower beds. Off the square you see in the eighth photo the “Rue des Artistes” and in the ninth photo Susy trying to pick up some techniques for her next paintings. In the tenth photo you see the famous “Bonsecours Market” building with one shop after the other covering its three floors and one city block. This market building is right on the old port and across the street, located on one of the piers, you see in the eleventh photo the tents of the winter headquarters of the “Cirque du Soleil”. Susy and I thought about going to a performance, because they were in town, but decided we could see then anytime and it was more important to spend the time touring the city (or resting from touring the city). In the twelfth photo you see some more buildings along the old port and in the thirteenth you see the entrance to one of the inner courts or gardens, which pops up from time to time. Finally at the end of the day, after passing a wonderful time with our cousins, Susy and I had dinner in a typical old city restaurant and jazz club, which I will show you more photos of in the next album. I have to show you in the fourteenth photo, the flower lady who passed through the restaurants at night selling flowers. The fifteenth and last photo of this album is a picture of Susy relaxing and enjoying her glass of wine at the end of an exhausting first day in Montreal.
On to the second photo album (see Montreal, Quebec – Day 2 & 3 photo album above) you see in the first photo a shot of the “Place d’Armas” with its statue of Maisonneuve, the military officer who recruited “Louise Guertin”. We started out the second day of touring the city, by retracing our steps of the first day. The “Place d’Armas” was right in front of the Notre Dame Basilica, the front of which you see in the second photo. In the third photo you see Susy in front of tulips and Basilica. The fourth photo shows the inside of the Basilica and here I have to stop for a little story. The day before with our cousins we didn’t go into the Basilica because they mentioned it cost $10.00 per person to enter and Susy and I could go in anytime in the next few days. On the second day as we passed by the Basilica, it sunk in to Susy what they had said. Well, no way was she going to pay to walk into a Catholic Church, even the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal, which had just been redecorated and was said to be beautiful. So what did she do, you guessed it, she waited until a Mass was letting out and went in one of the exit doors (of course pulling me into her little crime) without paying. Our next stop, which you see in the fifth photo, is the “Pointe-a-Calliere, Musee d’archeologie et d’histoire de Montreal”. This is the birthplace of Montreal, the site where the village of “Ville-Marie” was founded. In the basement of this building, which you see in the sixth photo, are the archaeological remains of the original village. We next went back to visit the main square, the “Jacques-Cartier Square”, and in the seventh photo you see Susy looking at the menu of one of the many sidewalk restaurants around the square. After walking the old city and port we went back to the hotel and took a rest until dinner, hoping to again have a wonderful steak (the best steak we had eaten since Argentina) and some good jazz. By the time we got back to the old port district it was a little after ten o’clock on a Sunday night and low and behold all the restaurants were closed. The eighth photo shows our Sunday night eating hole, even in Montreal McDonalds was open 24 hours. The next day, and our last, we started out for the shopping district of Montreal. As we left the hotel we passed by the edge of Chinatown, and in the ninth photo you see one of the streets of that district. After a few blocks we started up Montreal’s famous shopping street, Rue Sainte-Catherine. For a city this far north you wondered at the number of sidewalk cafes and restaurants, so again in the tenth photo you see one of the sidewalk cafes along Rue Sainte-Catherine. The street was lined with cafes, museums, and churches like the one you see in the eleventh photo, St. James United Church. St. Catherines has a number of gigantic (occupying a whole city block) department stores, one of which you see in the twelfth photo on the right, “La Baie”. Along the street I have to show you one of the street flower shops (the thirteenth photo). Walking a little off of St. Catherines you see in the fourteenth photo one of the cross streets with a church nestled among the cities skyscrapers. The fifteenth photo shows a group of beautiful stone statues outside a skyscraper in the area of McGill College. As we started back we stopped for a café and asked the waiter if we had missed anything in the shopping area. He asked if we had been to the “Underground”? Well, we hadn’t, so back we went to the “La Baie” department store and to the basement where we entered a huge underground shopping plaza between the basement of “La Baie” and the basement of “Les Ailes”, another gigantic department store a city block away. In the sixteenth photo you see one of the corridors of the “Underground”. Susy was in seventh heaven, because she said the “Montrealers” were very civilized, having a shopping plaza underground so you didn’t have to brave the freezing cold during the long winters. The only problem she could see was how she could get there from her home without going out in the cold. To end the day I want to show you a picture inside the Restaurant Modavie, our “hangout” at night for the second time. In the seventeenth photo you see the jazz singer and guitarist next to paintings of Jazz greats. This restaurant had the great jazz and steaks that tasted better than Argentina (today, not years ago).
With that we ended our evening, and the next day we were back in Highland Beach.
Everyone asks, “How was the cruise?”? I would have to say it was a good cruise. The highlights were meeting my cousins, seeing Quebec City, and learning a lot about French influence and history in North America. The bad part was the cold, especially in some tender ports, so Susy couldn’t experience all of the stops we made. Don’t ask me when we cruise again because that’s all in Susy’s hands, but until then,
Love You All and Au Revoir,