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megaman croc

Nothing Short of Awesome III

So here it is, the third part of our great Canadian trip report from way back in September. Sorry for the delay on this one but stuff just kept piling up on me in the last few months, as a result of which this entry has been so ungodly delayed.

We left Calgary and our lovely hosts Copper and Dorn early morning on Sat (Sept 10th), heading for Montreal via Winnipeg. The first leg of the flight was mostly uneventful, much like the landscape of Manitoba - fields, fields, fields, fields and more fields, with the occasional pond or lake. And then, boom, we're suddenly over Winnipeg, the province's capital and largest city. I am also told the only true city within hundreds of miles.

To make our 3-hour-long stopover more productive, Xolani arranged to meet up with his long-time buddy Lucian. We also met his travelling Quebecois friend Celaveur and enjoyed a nice chat followed by a brief excursion into downtown Winnipeg. We did see the MTS Centre, home to the Winnipeg Jets, however time wasn't on our side and we had to scramble to make it for our bus the airport. Those were some tense moments, as we feared we were gonna miss our flight to Montreal.

On top of that buzz needed the restroom once we got to the airport, and boy, never seen him run that fast in my life. Following a tense secondary check at security (perfect timing, right?!) we actually made it with plenty of time to spare. As a matter of fact the flight was delayed...

Having arrived in Montreal we were met by our buddy Koviell, who kindly offered to guide us back to our stay in Ville-Emard. The kobold is bilingual, with his primary tongue being French, and as we soon found out his communication skills proved very helpful, starting with obtaining transit tickets for me and buzz :P

Chatting away on the bus and metro (the amazing rubber-tired Métro de Montréal!) we finally reached our destination at Rue Jogues, which was hard to get to with our heavy suitcases owing to some extensive roadworks. Having unpacked I discovered a smashed honey jar which, thankfully, hadn't caused too much of a disaster. We then retired, joined by Koviell in the morning for our first full day of adventures in the amazing city of Montreal.

Sunday (Sept 11th) started pretty late (!) and included a short trip to Walmart by myself and Koviell. We then headed off into town for our first adventures. The proximity of Station Monk on the Blue Line made travelling places so easy. The trip downtown took 15 minutes tops and from there our lovable 'bold took us round his enchanting hometown, starting with a visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica in the Old Montreal.

This was followed by a stroll through the genuinely old streets of Old Montreal and a quick stop at the liquor store. There was a souvenir shop as well where we purchased a little gift for our friend Tark, who was kind enough to keep an eye on our place in Liverpool during our trip. Being a history grad, he simply had to get an Ottawa Senators piece of merch.

Moving on we headed for the Old Port of Montreal (Vieux Port de Montréal), Chinatown, undergrounds of the Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center, and finally Centre Bell, home of the Montreal Canadiens. Owing to some event being held at the arena there were quite a few Habs fans walking around. We suspected it was a preseason game of some sort. Didn't get to see any hockey but on the flip side I was able to snap lots pics outside of the arena with player statues and memorial plaques.

Later in the afternoon we met up with Aevsivs, our spider friend from Montreal, and to make the best of his dinner break at work we headed out for some legit poutine. LEGIT. Best ever. I mean we haunted that place pretty much every day (forgot the name). The day ended in our rented apartment with drinks and BoJack Horseman!

Monday (Sept 12th) was more nature-oriented as we embarked on a climb up Mount Royal (233 m/764 ft). We can proudly claim to have conquered the city's tallest natural point entirely by foot, and the woodland walk and scenic downtown panorama was absolutely worthwhile!

On our way to the foot of the mountain we had also stopped at an Indian shop which Xolani found of particular interest. After a nice chat with a shopkeeper, who herself originates from India, the wasp bought himself a glass wall pendant in the shape of an elephant. The day was rounded off with a nice sushi meal, and then some more drinking and increasingly sad episodes of BoJack Horseman :P

Tuesday (Sept 13th) was by far the hottest day during our great Canadian adventure. With the mercury hitting close to 30 C (86 F) we headed for the riverfront. The mighty St. Lawrence River was just one stop away and made for a fantastic walk. The water was clear and warm enough to tempt me into thinking about swimming but the lack of speedos was the main obstacle. Plus the river current in some places would definitely carry me away.

We then headed into town, perusing Montreal's Gay Village. The place was drenched in rainbows and pink lanterns so I suppose it definitely lived up to its name. Made for a nice little walk for us, rounded off with me being a troll and sending a post card to my sister written entirely in French.

Following a little stroll through Chinatown and the Old Town, we ended up in the Old Port again, sitting on the bench and soaking up the sun for the best part of an hour. Being sat there with my bf on one side and good buddy on the other made me feel relaxed in the way I hadn't been in a good while. And so blissfully warm. We then climbed up the Clock Tower (Tour de l'Horloge) admiring the St. Lawrence River and the Jacques Cartier Bridge (Pont Jacques Cartier).

As with the last few days, we again wounded up crossing Old Montreal. Koviell took us past their very own Polish restaurant and then through the World Trade Centre Montreal, which happens to house an original segment of the Berlin Wall. Coming from a former communist state, you can probably imagine how that resonated with me. Being able to touch it with my own hands was something I will always remember and tell people about. To round the day off we met up with our happy spider Aevsivs again for some poutine and then slowly made our way home.

Wednesday (Sept 14th) was sadly our last day in Montreal but nevertheless we made the most of it, starting with a little tour across the Place des Arts. We then stumbled upon a public art performance by a student group which drew us in for about an hour or so. More picture snapping and strolling through the city followed, and some of the sights have been pretty memorable...

Sadly, our time in Montreal drew to a close. We retired back to our place earlier, circumstances forcing us to pack our stuff up. We did have a lovely goodbye evening with Koviell, which summed up our stay on a high note. It's been fantastic to meet the 'bold in person, and hopefully next time we can see Aevsivs more often too.

The next day, Thursday (Sept 15th) we embarked on a train journey with ViaRail to grand Toronto, but that will be expanded on in a separate post. Even though Toronto's poutine is inferior to Montreal's poutine, it does deserve some appreciation for how grand it is. There's also a family-related story from Toronto I want to include so stay tuned. This time it will not take me weeks to hammer this one out.


And there's still Toronto that needs writing up. It's just a single day so shouldn't be too much to cover. But there is an interesting family story to go with it so I decided to put it in a separate entry.

You're right, the lantern picture I am particularly pleased with. Snapped this one from a platform-art installation thingy they put together on the main walkway through the district. Didn't think much of it at first but then looked at it after a while and was quite surprised how nice it came out. That flow is what really makes it work!

Already had a go at making my own poutine, have to say it wasn't exactly like what we had in Canada but close enough. I'll have to make some again but this time will try to track down some proper cheese curds.

Meeting someone you've known online in person for the first time is always so much excitement. I love it. The older I grow the less excitable I seem to get but this always does the trick. Speaking of which, never met you in person so we ought to fix that sometime!