Easter Sun Shines in Montreal

Happy Easter all!

Last night we had a fun night at Modavi in old Montreal. The food was good, the wine delicious, the live music great (after we asked to be moved away from it) and the waiter friendly though somewhat disappointed in my tip. I thought it generous – he obviously didn’t!

What do you tip when eating out? It’s stand practice here to start with 15% and work up! In Australia, where the wages are higher, tipping happens, often generously if the service is great, but not to the amounts that are expected here!

We woke to Easter Sunday bells ringing from Notre Dame Cathedral and sunshine outside our windows. What a gift.

We headed off to explore other areas of Montreal. We took an Uber to Fairmont Bagels. THE place to get your perfect bagel. It’s in Mile End, an arty, hip area to visit in Montreal.

We joined the queue and ordered our bagels and a tub of cream cheese, then we walked two blocks to Cafe Olympia where we joined another queue for coffee, then sat outside in the SUN and spread cream cheese on our bagels and enjoyed with hot coffee. It was so good.

We joined other church goers and went to the “modest suburban” church opposite for a part of their Easter Mass – in Polish.

Then we walked towards Mont Royal. The day was fine , the sun shining and lots of others had the same idea. It was like a pilgrimage to the top. And up we went – taking the path less travelled as son Rob likes a challenge- not to mention a short cut. And it was beautiful.

We made it to the top, stripping off layers as we walked – and the view was great!

It was wonderful being with Rob and Jordan and to be celebrating Easter. It’s also almost one year since their wedding in Santa Barbara. How time flies.

We headed back down the mountain and once again took a cross country route.

We crossed a running stream – the snow us melting.

Fortunately I have a strong son who helped me on the steep parts.

We made it ! and walked through the street looking for a lunch place.

We passed a squirrel and the Grey Nuns House which is now part of Concordia University.

Lunch was a well deserved beer and a salad and Poutine!

Another Church stop

Some sculptures – we still were walking !

Back to old Montreal past Notre Dame and back to our apartment.

A short rest, legs up ! We walked many kilometres!

Then to a wonderful restaurant down behind the Cathedral. Jordan picked it on recommendation from friends. It was behind an unmarked door.

And it was good. Very good.

http://www.gardemanger.ca

Delicious food and wine & great company are the best ingredients. And the waiter was happy at the end of the meal!

We walked back through the streets and enjoyed the cities initiative on bringing history alive. Images projected onto walls each one telling a story. Absolutely beautiful.

Back past Notre-Dame to our home away from home.

Tomorrow the kids leave us. Back to work in New York and we get a car and head for Woodstock in Vermont.

Family Time in Montreal

Fortunately the weather Gods are with us and Rob & Jordan are on their way from New York.

It will be fine timing but we’ll make our 11am walking your. Luckily it starts just 2 minutes away outside Notre-Dame Cathedral.

We got George as our guide. He’s local, older and very knowledgeable about the area.

We started inside the Cathedral which we hadn’t entered as yet.

It’s beautiful.

It’s gothic on the outside and French inside with its blue ceilings with stars. It was originally built in 1672 it became too small so was enlarged and rebuilt in 1830’s.

George gave a very good tour of the Cathedral and included that it’s famous for Pierre Trudeau’s funeral and Celine Dion’s wedding!

The tour continued through the streets of the old town past some of the buildings Steve and I had seen on our own walk yesterday. I had time to notice a few of the smaller finer details. The chattering ladies sculpture, the iron crosses and the flags, Montreal, Quebec and Canada.

We finished the tour near the Marché and decided it was lunch time. Poutine was selected as it is local, warm and filling!

By now it was not raining and not quite as cool – after eating and a very good hot chocolate and coffee mochas from Cacao70. Apparently the best in the city!

So we continued exploring before heading back to the apartment for a little rest!

It’s now almost 8.30 which means time to go out for dinner.

Tonight it’s Modavi. http://modavie.com/en/

Montreal. In the Rain

After travelling a few days and staying in an apartment it’s nice to have breakfast ‘at home’

I scrambled some eggs and it was lovely!

We set off walking around our area Old Montreal East.

Follow along with us.

Note the temperature. It’s not warm! I think we’re not seeing Montreal at its best. It’s s bit grey and damp but we are making the list of it.

We walked to the Bonsecours markets which is in a magnificent building

Inside it is now home to little shops selling all products from local manufacturers. Clothes, artefacts and food. And maple syrup of course.

We enjoyed a coffee at Cafe Sea Arts before heading next door to Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys. Unfortunately it was still closed so we headed up the hill and visited one of the historic homes Château Ramezay. It’s a beautiful home built by the first Governor of Montreal. Fortunately it was saved and exists today as a museum. It’s set out well in the elegant rooms of the house and has some very good multimedia interactive displays with stories from people who lived in the house over the years.

Back outside we stood and watched the long Good Friday procession of at least 500 people led by a young man carrying a simple large cross. They were on their way to Notre-Dame. In silence.

As it was raining we decided to do a bus tour of Montreal. Not on the big red bus! But on a Grey line tour bus.

Before it started we visited Mary Queen of the World Cathedral. It’s beautiful. And who should arrive but the walking pilgrims. They had walked across the city from Notre-Dame to here. We sat and listened to the music.

It was a good decision.

Then it was time to join the tour.

It took us around the main sights of this lovely city. The main boulevards, the Stadium from the 1976 Olympics, the Grand Prix race track, the charming houses with their external stairs. They must be hard in snow! But they saved room in the houses.

We drove up Mont Royal past Justin Trudeau’s house in the hill – when he’s in town. Also past Céline Dion’s house.

We were entertained not only by our guide, a lovely lady named Marie Clare, but also by one of our fellow travellers – a young man who had much to say – asked and answered questions, commented on everything and spoke to everyone around him. He was harmless, likeable and on the spectrum.

We drove on through the rain and were grateful we were dry.

Unusual apartments of world renown

A rain soaked St Joseph’s Oratory getting ready for Easter celebrations

We finished back where we started and headed for the underground city. There are 20 kilometres of underground tunnels that connect the city and shield the locals from the harsh weather in winter. They are like shopping malls with all the shops, restaurants, Church, Theatres, a wax work museum….. with access to office blocks, apartments, metro stations. Everything you need to keep out of the weather. Brilliant! And it worked for us today.

Part of the 20 km underground city

We somehow got a taxi back to our apartment where we had R & R until an early dinner at Brassiere 701. A very smart place to eat.

We were meant to be eating at Moldavi with Rob & Jordan but their flight from NY got cancelled due to bad weather!

So we are eating without them and hoping they make it tomorrow.

We have a walking tour booked for 11am so fingers xxxx

Montreal – in the Rain

Our trip from Quebec to Montreal was great. We took the train. No airport queues and security.

It was very relaxed and lovely viewing the snow covered countryside. There’s still so much snow around.

A cemetery viewed from the train.

We arrived at midday and got into our apartment with no problems. It’s huge!

For the moment there’s just two of us so we are rattling around! It’s an old warehouse space with high ceilings and creaking timber floors. You can hear the upstairs neighbourss moving around. I hope they aren’t party people!

We left our bags and went walking. I think we’re a little too early for spring. It’s grey and cold and rain is threatening.

City Hall

There is a lot of building going on – platforms outside restaurants and bars being constructed in anticipation of the warmer weather.

We went to Notre-Dame Cathedral – a 2 min walk away. Unfortunately their evening light show Aura is not on for the next few days due to Easter celebrations. And the red tour bus starts at the end of the month!

So we ate lunch at a French style bistro – soup for me and a croque monsieur for Steve – and then walked.

We covered a lot of streets, popping into shops and galleries as they took our fancy. Two streets down in Rue St Paul there are many galleries.

By late afternoon it was cold and damp so we headed up our warm apartment and relaxed.

In fact we relaxed so much we bought wine and then slid across the road to a great little pizza place for a take away. They had the best crushed cauliflower gluten free base for me.

It was time for a night in and we really enjoyed it.