Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Montreal, Canada -- September 2010

Port of Montreal
     Having never gone past Niagara Falls in Canada we have always wanted to venture further. We took a few days in September to explore Montreal. Finding a weekend in fall without football was the biggest hurdle, getting there is a quick flight. We spent our days walking the whole city but found ourselves really drawn to Old Montreal and ended up there at some point each day.  One of the most interesting things we encountered was listening to the local conversations, they roll from English to French speaking mid sentence.  Now I can understand going between both languages but it is as if they have just blended the two.  It was fascinating to hear, I have always wished I had a second language.  The weather was a bit cool, a little breezy but only one afternoon of rain so we enjoyed getting around on foot.  

We stayed at the Inter-Continental near the business district but a short walk to Old Montreal.  The hotel was lovely, the staff pleasant, and  a good price.  Montreal is on the expensive side, I  research, google, & compare web sites to book our travel.

interesting wall of white birch bark and fur along the escalator to the lobby
hotel lobby

spacious comfortable room
 Upon arrival we had lunch in the hotel, it was early afternoon so we were one of only 2 tables at the time.  We had steak tar tar, frites, and mushroom risotto with a glass of red wine. It was very good, although I always hesitate to judge food after traveling when you know you are tired and hungry.

We then ventured out for a walk down to the Port of Montreal, into an old church, and through Old Montreal to get our bearings.

bike rentals 
We had scouted out a place for dinner and later went back to "Stash's Cafe" looking through the window and watching the piano player we couldn't resist.  He played all through dinner which we thoroughly enjoyed.  It was a Lithuanian/German/Austrian restaurant with a large menu & fun, bustling atmosphere.

After a coffee we were on our way to explore this quaint area with its cobblestone streets, historic buildings, inviting restaurants, artists, street performers, & horse drawn carriages.

                            Excavating being done to uncover the original walls.

The magnificent Montreal Notre Dame Basilica!  When you walk in and see these colors you are amazed.  The stained glass windows depict scenes from the history of Montreal instead of  religious scenes.  The church has been at this location since 1672 with its Gothic Revival style it is a must see if you get to Montreal.

A smaller modern chapel is behind the alter area of the Basilica where more intimate ceremonies are held.

A visit to the Mariners Church, The Old Port Church with a climb to the top of the belfry lets you have a complete view of the Port.

models of ships hang from the ceiling

dinner being served while hanging from a crane

A delicious breakfast at Le Cartet a general store/restaurant, it was Sunday when we went and the line was out the door--but worth the wait.  The tables are close together, the servers move quickly though once seated we didn't wait.  Serving the breakfast in the cast iron pan was a great presentation, the whole grain toast was excellent with the omelet on top of it.  Nice selection of tea served in your own little pot......that will always make me happy.

We took public transportation up to the Little Italy area this market is just a few blocks away, there was live music and lots of activity.  Any food item you could think of was there.
We walked through the would I love to have this in my neighborhood!  Every stand was displayed like a work of art.

We then went on to Little Italy stopping for a late lunch, you can't go wrong in this neighborhood.  It was a nice day so we enjoyed our meal at a table outside.

We had a beautiful day to walk back towards our hotel through many different neighborhoods, stopping to check out shops and parks.  We had walked about 6 miles but had plenty of stops.

This housing area was very eye catching.

What a beautiful city to spend a long weekend in, for us just a short flight and not a bad drive if we had an extra day.  I can never resist flowers, and the colors were so vibrant.