Everyone has his/her own sense of what travel is all about. When it comes to us, it is not so much the adventure of discovery as it is the routine of the well-known. David and I are both incredible creatures of habit which is why we are such a good fit. We spent a long weekend in Montreal and celebrated Canada Day for the very first time. Here’s the drill for our usual trip in pictures.
Most times the worst part of the trip is not the six-hour card ride, but saying goodbye to our pooch, Mister B, and dropping him off at the kennel. Although he seems to like the place and the people who work there, it’s always a heart-tugger the moment they take him to his run. You might detect I’m a bit too attached, so four days apart is healthy for all of us.
We were excited to be in our favorite city in July so we could take advantage of the summer closing of rue Ste. Catherine from St. Hubert to Papineau to make way for a pedestrian take over. All eateries and bars build ‘terrasses’ to serve at tables outside their establishments. Montrealers spend so much of the year indoors and underground that the city has extended the festival from May until the beginning of September to enjoy the good weather.
In the last few years the Gay Chamber of Commerce has added the draped ceiling of les boules roses - nearly 200,000 pink balls of varying sizes strung overhead, forming a pink canopy over the main street of the Gay Village. “Oh Mary, it takes a fairy to make something pretty.” (Emory in BOYS IN THE BAND).
Are we sensing a theme here? The name of this store, by the way, is PRIAPE.
We checked in at Le BBV, staying in a new room for us. As always, the owners were warm and welcoming. We met some really neat people from everywhere: Toronto, Virginia, PA, Boston-as far away as Australia and as close to home as our very own city! Breakfast around this table is a great start to each day. Philippe is always disappointed that we don’t eat in the morning, as his table is filled with all sorts of wonderful breakfast goodies.
Each morning we start out at our local Second Cup where we enjoy a cappuccino as we plan the day’s itinerary.
Further up Ste. Catherine was the Jazz Festival. This brings in huge crowds and takes over neighborhoods throughout the city. We walked through as they were still setting up for the festivities that day.
The main stages are centered around the Arts Complex. One of the women we met at the bed and breakfast was covering the event for her Public Radio Station and was really excited by the talent she was able to hear.
David calls this ‘his store’, because he stops at least once a day for a bottle of soda to take back to the room each night. The chain is Montreal’s version of a 7/11.
We go to the Casino every visit and never leave with any of the money that we feed into the penny slot machines. One visit, many moons ago, I hit for about $200 and we ran around any shop still open on a Sunday night to spend my Canadian $$ mini windfall. So this trip we went on Sunday afternoon just like always……
Except that this time David was playing this machine, frustrated that he wasn’t getting any of the bonuses that everyone around him was. The bonus ranged from $13 to $20 maximum. I was standing behind him watching for about fifteen minutes. All of a sudden he hit an obvious big “something” and we stared as the counter went past $50…past $100. At $500 I was pissing my pants. P.S. it stopped at $1,109 Canadian. From then on, everything we did/ate/drank was on David!
We ate dinner that night at our favorite pasta restaurant La Strega. They serve fresh pasta with a selection of about a dozen different sauces.
We ordered a bottle of Valpolicella, shared a Caesar salad and ordered our own favorites. Here is David’s farfalle with sauce Rosee.
Our last day we did make a discovery while exploring a different area of the city along rue St. Laurent-a very ethnic neighborhood. We happened on this incredible store filled with foods and relishes from all over Europe.
We had a great time shopping and studying the wonderful selection of jars and bottles and boxes of great stuff. There are over 300 different cheeses, alone. I chose three varieties of fromages Quebecoise….which I managed to leave in the refrigerator at the B & B so they became gifts to our hosts.
Our last evening we went for something light and enjoyed white sangria and gourmet sandwiches at Le Saloon Bistro Bar, accompanied of course by frites and mayo. Montreal, je t’aime.
I leave you with a picture of the two of us dining in the dark taken by a very young and handsome waiter. The weather was perfect for our entire perfect stay. We only hope that autumn is kind so we can make one more trip before Christmas to spend the rest of our Canadian funny-money.