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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

A Hop Across the Pond - Montreal

I missed a post last week, work has been keeping me more than busy! This month is a bit insane for me.. I was working last Saturday (a teacher conference), had an evening event on Monday, drove to Bangor (North Wales) on Tuesday to run a workshop and attend a Local Section meeting, had to be in Brecon (mid-Wales) by 9.15am on Wednesday and then back to North Wales for a Skills event that ran for Wednesday evening and all day Thursday. I finally got home on Thursday night and after three very, very long days, I did very little yesterday!
If I'm lucky, then this map will show you where I've driven this week.

John & Gwen are visiting this weekend (it was Gwen's birthday earlier this week) and I'm working in Swansea tomorrow - but I'll keep that until next week. The bottom line is I'm spending way too much time working and need to find more 'life' balance.... somehow...

Anyway, time for the next installment (as the holiday fades in our memories)...


We didn't really have much of a plan for Montreal - we wanted to catch up with Max & Malika (I knew Max from Canberra) and we had a list of 'recommended activities' to do if we had the time and inclination. After the bustle of New York, it was really good to have a few days to just relax in this laid-back and arty city (check out some of the wall art - it was really cool and it's everywhere!).

Arrived in the afternoon and after finding our apartment, went for a very tasty vegetarian meal with Max & Malika. They gave us a whistle-stop tour of the area and pointed out a few things that we could do.

Monday (Labor Day)
Walked up many, many stairs to the top of the Mount to check out the views (along with everyone else who was visiting Montreal!). We found a new band playing one of the "Pianos publics" (pianos just left around the city for anyone to have a go at). Was pretty good but I've forgotten who they are - I think I have a business card for them somewhere. :-)

Descending the mountain, we wanted to check out the "Underground City" (a bunch of shopping centres joined by tunnels so locals can still shop during winter). Unfortunately, being a public holiday... nothing was open! :-( So we just wandered around downtown for a while. Had dinner with M&M again (they cooked very tasty BBQ salmon).

This was our 'culture' day - we headed down to Old Montreal, wandered around the Old Port for a while and then headed to the Pointe-à-Callière Museum to discover the history of Montreal. It was really interesting - but we spent so long wandering around the museum that we got a little tired... (told you that B could sleep anywhere!). Once we pepped up again, we learnt how to be a pirate, found out a little about Marco Polo and then continued exploring Old Montreal.

The Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica is incredible - the columns, paintings and altars inside are beautiful. But the Chapelle du Sacré-Cœur (Chapel of the Sacred Heart) is even better.. all carved out of wood! Such a lovely and calm place.

Decided to head to the islands - we started on Île Sainte-Hélène and Bruce walked on the Grand Prix track (oooOOOOoooh - it's used as a cycle track when it's 'off-season', so even taking a photo on the track was a little dangerous). We investigated the Biosphere, which was created for the 1967 World Fair Expo, took some photos and then relaxed in the park for the afternoon (I managed to write some postcards whilst B had a nap).

After relaxing, we decided to find Habitat 67, which was also created for the Expo. It looks incredible.. and the crazy box-shaped flats are now just people's homes! Unfortunately, Habitat 67 is on the other island, Île Notre-Dame and we decided to walk from there back to town... it's a LONG way! We got to a main road eventually and managed to get on a bus instead. Phew!

After a relaxed morning, we headed out to the airport for our short hop to Toronto.
Stay tuned for next-time..

p.s. Dee, I had to take this photo for you.. ;-)

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