Out and about
We left our hotel room at 9:30 this morning, giving us time for breakfast before we got picked up at our hotel for our bus tour. Our pickup was at 10:00 and the tour started at 11:00; we spent the intervening hour hopping from hotel to hotel, as the driver picked up other passengers. Not really a wasted hour, though, since we got to just look out the window and see different parts of the city (mostly downtown).
The tour itself wasn't bad; 3.5 hours, with four stops for photos or, as our driver put it, “pee-pee”. I really don't know if he was being cute, or if this was a result of his less-than-fluent English…he had a few other unusual turns of phrase too that he kept repeating. And it took a bit of time to get used to him switching back and forth between French and heavily-Francophone-accented English.
Regardless, it was a nice tour. Our first stop was at the Notre Dame Basilica, which we saw yesterday. Good thing too, because on the tour it's only a 30-minute stop, and that's not nearly enough time (we think). We wandered into the Bank Of Montreal instead, and visited their currency museum, which is small and well-presented (and included a photo of the big Bank Of Montreal building in Winnipeg – home!).
Then we drove out to the old port area, where we saw the port itself, Habitat 67, Olympic Stadium…a ton of stuff. I'm too tired to try to list it all, but here are some pictures! (Not the greatest pictures, sorry.)
Oh, and we learned about the exterior staircases! They started because they allow you to have more room in your apartment — you don't lose interior space to the stairs. But they're dangerous in the winter and you aren't allowed to build them anymore. Houses that already have them are allowed to keep them, but new buildings need to have interior staircases,
After the tour we went to the “underground city” — Montreal's network of shops, malls, and office buildings connected by tunnels. Very much like Winnipeg's skywalk/tunnel network and Winnipeg Square, but on a larger scale. We grabbed a late (3:00) lunch in the food court (where someone asked us for directions, saying that we “look like Montrealers”!), and did some wandering around and shopping (but did NOT buy the $300 cashmere scarf we found).
Afterwards we went for a walk down St. Catherine Street: the “Fifth Avenue of Montreal”, aka the main shopping drag with all the big stores on it. It was much nicer weather than yesterday, so it was an enjoyable walk, and then we tripped over “Lumino Thérapie”, which was a neat art installation made up of a field of reflectors, changing coloured lights, music, and projected images. Hard to describe but neat to experience, especially since it was unplanned.
We then took the Metro back towards our hotel, had our “nice meal” of the trip at a little Italian place called Pizzedelic, and took our (delicious) dessert back to our hotel room to enjoy with tea.
Good night everyone…and happy birthday, Katie!