Last week I posted about the amazing food in Montreal from my recent trip. But Montreal was more than just old buildings and good food! This week, I thought I’d tell you about some of the fun things we experienced.
Let’s start with the walk we took along the river originating from the port. We have a bayou in Houston – this is a river big enough to accommodate cruise ships. There were lots of people out and about picnicking or sunning in the grassy areas, trekking up the many flights of spiral steps in the Montreal Clock Tower (I easily hit my stair goal for the day), or lounging on the faux beach at the Montreal Yacht Club. Because it was grand prix weekend and people that like fast cars also tend to like fast boats, there were a lot of speed boats racing through the river. I got very used to the sound of revved up engines on the street and in the water during our stay.
Later on after dinner with our new friends Pasquale, Angela, Yaffa, and Louis, we went for an evening walk on the pier where we encountered this 12′ tall puppet – it took two puppet masters to operate him, but he was extremely cool! Apparently there was also a science festival in town and Montreal is in fact a center for aeronautics and aerospace technology. I had no idea! For a city with so much old world charm, Montreal does have a lot of cool high tech mixed in. For example, many of the streets in the old port are being converted back to cobble stone while at the same time, there are several of these light displays in the narrow alleys between buildings. Not sure exactly what was going on in there, but the effect of the light show was extremely cool. In other alleys, there was a pattern projected on the building walls. I’ve got a videos of one of the light show and puppet walking that I’ll post on my Instagram next week since they don’t seem to show very well here.
We did not have tickets to the grand prix, but we still got to check out the cars that were lined up and down Crescent street. I’m not a huge car person, but even I could appreciate how cool and funky some of these cars were. We also passed a little mini race track while walking home from the old port area where the drivers looked like they were having a blast. The city was packed with people who had come to watch the race which made for long wait times in the restaurants and difficulty in finding available hotel rooms, but the extra festive atmosphere from the myriad checkered flags hanging off balconies or inside lobbies made up for it from my perspective.
I could have spent hours just wondering around photographing old buildings and even some of the new ones. One of my favorites was a newer building on Crescent Street with a mural of the late Leonard Cohen painted on the side. I actually purchased a painting of the part of Crescent street with this building from a wonderful artist we met on a square in the port area named Lucien Gobeil. Lucien was lovely and I’ll be posting a short video he and I made together on Instagram in the next few weeks as well. On the way up to Mount Royal, we took a detour walking along beautiful Sherbrooke Street which was lined with elegant shops and galleries in addition to the Ritz Carlton as well as the Fine Arts museum. Check out the cool glass sculpture called “the Sun” in front of the Fine Arts Museum – it’s truly stunning!
One of my favorite parts of our trip was the walk up Mount Royal in the center of the city. You have the option to either follow a path winding around the mountain or take several sets of steep stairs from the edge of McGill University campus up to the top. Either way, the view from the top is well worth the trek! As if that weren’t enough, we met a lovely German couple while we were up there who took our picture and spent well over an hour chatting with us about life back home and their travels all over the world. I found the open conversation with this couple as well as the native citizens to be thoroughly refreshing. We agreed on a lot of points, but even on the issues where we had different perspectives, there was an open, honest, and informative, yet respectful exchange of ideas that just doesn’t seem to be possible in the highly polarized United States right now. I love my country and am grateful for being born here, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a few things from our neighbors.
I so wish we had planned a few more days to keep exploring or to slip off to Quebec City for a day. Not this trip, but I would definitely love to go back! Next Thursday I’ll be posting about the fashion and one of my favorite new dresses acquired from a boutique on St. Paul Ouest. In the meantime, do check out my last wardrobe planning video on the Closet Reboot YouTube channel where that dress is featured and you can enter yourself in a drawing for lovely Premier Designs necklace!