23 January 2012

Montréal's wishing you'd come play ... why wait?

Canada: Montréal, Quebec (July 2008, part II)

...but seriously, who goes to 
Montréal and sleeps in a tent? hahaha.

Ahh morning :) the time of day when the sun first illuminates the sky and you remember that summers heat is simultaneous with the appearance of this glowing star. You also remember what 'hot' really feels like as your tent (and all its contents) heat up under the lack of protection of the direct rays. Wow.


While you experience this 'heat', the family of 2 adults and 17 children (exaggerated, okay not 17...but sure sounded it lol), next door must have forgotten that sleeping in a tent isn't at all soundproof. After seemingly endless hours of shouting demands "no!" "No!" "NOOOoo", they finally unzip their nylon pegged house and release all 17 of their screaming little people into the park. Ay yi yi!!

No time for a test of patience today my friends, slap on that smile, we're off to explore Montréal. :) Up, ready and out of there. A short 30 minute drive (or less), weaving in and out of 2-4 lanes of fast paced traffic, we then take our exit to city centre. A blur of people, buildings, traffic lights, cars, pavement, signs, flowers...that eventually flowed into a comprehensible and beautiful scenic tour of  Montréal: East, West, North and South (or rather, Old, New and all places within the grid). 


Streets lined with row houses (mostly brick) with happily painted front doors and trusting fire scapes. Pretty flower boxes amongst the lush tree canopy.

People walking dogs, jogging and peddling their bikes along sidewalks, sidewalks that never seem to meet any hills, only slight inclines. There were Churches, office buildings, stores and so many people.

Finally, a parking spot and what luck, we found one right on Ste Catherines Street...this is THE street in Montréal "anything you want". Without hesitation, we were game to leave the views of our moving vehicle and explore this City on foot. By 'explore', I mean walk down Ste Catherine’s Street, all 11.5 km's of it, to see what we could see. It was endless :)

Shop, eat, drink, sightsee...this street had everything we'd need (and everything we didn't know we needed haha).

Within the first few minutes the temperature started to rise. Not only from the sun's heat, as we had lucked into a 43 degree Celsius day (great for roaming crowded, paved streets lol), but there were sex shops, signage, patios and clubs interlaced very tastefully amongst stores, Churches, people and restaurants. 

There were people strolling the streets wearing leather outfits, go-go boots 
and donning hair of many shades and styles. Churches (so many extraordinary Churches) and other buildings of historical significance were the backdrop scenes of these same sidewalks. They were shared with folks wearing suits, dresses, tourist garb and just plain everyday clothes. None of this seemed unusual, nor did it justify a reason to shy away, to stare or to judge. The combination of it all was consistent, in abundance and comfortable, such a natural fit for this City. 

Montréal was very different from my upbringing and all things in my current world.  It was beautiful. I had just entered the gateway to a Cultural Haven. We walked a little further only to learn that on this particular Saturday there were extra events to partake in.

Ste Catherine's was hosting a 2.0 km (no vehicle access) sidewalk sale, off on a little side street (Crescent Street) would be the excitement of a Corona Beer Festival and along the way would be many, many street performers, parades and artistic displays to entertain the droves of passer-bys. 










Here's a short video clip of an incredible drum band performing on Ste Catherine's.

video

We spent the entire day outside observing, living and shifting our way through the crowds. We stopped to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe (which I believe it sadly closed back in 2009), we had caricature pictures drawn street side and we shopped. Then we sat outside near the fountains of the Place des-Arts, rather enjoying the heat of this summer day. The people were friendly, the smells were (mostly) delicious and the sounds were captivating.

On this very day, I fell in Love with Montréal!!!








  









And that was that.

Night had fallen.  We made our way back to our parked car and navigated ourselves out of town to Hudson.  Once there our campsite beckoned us to have a seat, light a campfire and stare into the starry sky while we recalled the adventures of the day.  Weekends never really do last long enough and my time with Sister would be over when we awoke the next day.

The drive back was quiet and rainy, very fitting of the bleakness within the car.  It wasn't all somber. Silently I kept thinking that it takes less than a day's worth of unshared driving to return.;) And since I knew the second we drove pass the Welcome sign when we arrived Friday, this wouldn't be the first and only time I'd come here to play.  Plus, we really had just spent some great quality time with Sister, short as it was.

Next time I think we plan to visit Montréal for more than a day?!   We need to sightsee, live next door to Ste Catherine's for a night or two, experience the night life, visit the Old, the New and the Underground and step into explore these places of historical significance, such sound architectural masterpieces. We need to talk to more people, happen upon other festivals and markets and enjoy thoroughly Canada's adult playground.

Montréal truly is a City that doesn't sleep, I'm sure we can find a few pals who'd like to join us for a weekend roadtrip in the future? (>>>fast forward to 2011). Let's rebook our next adventure shall we?

Weekly Survey Question: when booking your vacation, you...? Ready to book?  33% of you will call your Travel Agent, while 46% of you will take the time to search online first, determine what you want and then call your Travel Agent and  only 21% will search, plan and book your entire vacation online yourself.  Regardless of your method, I hope that you've added Montréal to your list of must see City's.

Share your comments, your stories, your travel advice etc. in the section below (comments or reaction section) and give your answer to the weekly survey (top right of this blog page). No sign up necessary, just a simple click :) A little shy?! Why not
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~Holiday Heidi
(be sure to check out
Your Adventure Map (at the top of this page) so you can read all previous adventure posts leading up to this one).


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