Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Long Week-end in Montreal

We spent Friday morning tending to the boat--it's amazing how quickly things get cluttered and misplaced. I told Louis I thought the inside of our boat looked like a dorm room--so we spent an hour trying to make it look neater! Maps, charts, guidebooks and fliers needed to be organized and left either out for use for what's ahead of us these next few weeks, or stowed under the bed for much later. I think before we left we had over 120 pounds of that paper stuff--and Louis has added to it often since. We need a bigger boat!

Friday afternoon we took a 3 hour tour by bus of Montreal. We got a wonderful overview of what this city has to offer--plus a look "up top"--from the mountain of the city --to below. WOW--that's definitely a different perspective than being on the water! There's so much to do here, we could spend two weeks here alone and not see it all . The people here are so friendly and have been so patient with us English--as most here are bilingual. The currency here is different, but most everyone has just taken our American dollars and given us back Canadian currency. The exchange rate last Friday was $200 American = $198 Canadian. Food and drink here in Montreal are expensive too. A beer is @ $6.00, and a simple lunch meal of hamburger and fries was $16.00. Interesting, n'est pas?

Saturday morning, I went to China Town with my friend Pat, from "Prime Time". We walked up and down the streets, going into shops and markets, bakeries and butcheries. With hundreds of other people in about a 3 block square area, we experienced such beautiful and interesting colors and smells! We wound up eating lunch there--color Diane very happy--my Chinese fix for a while--and so, so fresh, crunchy, and delicious. I don't know how they can cook all that food and it still remain so colorful!

Saturday afternoon around 2:30, it started raining again. Nap time! We awoke just as the rain ended, and got ready for "Saturday Night"! We walked just a block over to Old Town and had dinner at The Spaghetti House--a bustling fun place, and again, another sumptuous meal. How do all these French women up here stay so thin?! Not fair. We returned to the boat just in time to catch the 30 minute fireworks and music show--given right here beside the marina every Saturday night until August 3rd. We're told it's a competition of nations, with judging going on every week and the grand prize winner announced after the last show in August. Last night's show was Italy, and since it's the only one we'll see, we vote for Italy! Spectacular.

Louis told me Friday to pick a day and plan it--he would do anything I wanted to do! So, I picked Sunday--we would go to Mass at 11am at the Basilique de Notre Dame, afterwards have a lunch of crepes. Then we would take in a museum and go to the IMAX theater--both nearby. Bless Louis's heart, he didn't say a word! And I got 2 out of the 4. Not bad.

Mass at 11am was breathtaking, to say the least. With a full chorus, an outstanding "high-up" organ with over 7000 pipes, 6 priests, maybe 8 priests-to-be, and a congregation of well over a thousand--I sat down at my first Catholic Mass--in French, no less. The basicillia was maybe half full--and closed to tourists during the ceremony. We had visited it on our tour Friday, and I wanted to come back. Candles were lit everywhere--hanging from the enormous guilded dome, on the altar, behind the altar, and at the numerous "stations (14?)" all around the inside. The whole service took about an hour and 15 minutes, including Communion, and it will forever stand out in my mind as one of the more beautiful experiences I've had in my life. I didn't know what was going on, but when everyone stood, I stood. When everyone sat, I sat. I think at one time they said the Lord's Prayer. But the sheer beauty of sitting quietly in that amazingly stunning place was pure joy for me. I'm glad we were in Montreal on a Sunday.

After Mass, outside with the two, old, huge, steeples happily chiming their bells almost to the deafening point, we walked down 2 blocks to Suzettes'--a creperie! I had crepes, Louis had quiche. Both delicious. After lunch we walked over to the IMAX, only to find out that the only two "English" movie times were at 11am & 7pm. We would have to forgo both. Then we walked over to the museum, only to find out that it really was not worth $36.00 for us to tour that particular museum--it just didn't interest either one of us that much. Oh well, c'est la vie! We walked back by La Place de Cartier--where the street is permanently closed to vehicular traffic and lined on both sides by restaurants. All kinds of "street festival" events were taking place--it's their holiday now! And by then we both were tired, and so we just walked back to the boat. Louis is studying the charts for tomorrow as we head to Ottawa, and I'm doing the laundry--free machines here at this great marina. Thanks Debbie! And Buddy's been on two walks already today, so every one's happy. We love Montreal!

1 comment:

Jay Stockard said...

Hey Guys! Glad your time in Canada has been as entertaining as you hoped it would be. I know Buddy is glad to have some grass time! Sitting in a church, not speaking the language, and just absorbing the majesty is a very moving experience. When I return to Mexico in August, we will attend the church of our hosts, and all you can do is listen and enjoy. Glad you had that experience! Keep up the great posts, stay safe, and know that you are missed! Love y'all!