But Canada was so much fun! We were astounded at the friendliness everywhere. Not at all like gay Paree, where they make a career of being rude. We soon learned that when someone said ‘bonjour‘, we should respond ‘hello‘ — and then the conversation would proceed in English! It was amazing how they slipped back and forth between the two languages with no accent at all.
The one thing that was like Paris (besides Architecture) was the pastries. World’s best French Toast (all crunchy and cinnamon-y) showed up on my breakfast plate one morning. Along with maple syrup. And now we know why the Canadian flag has a maple leaf on it! (duh!)
So many lovely statues all over town, giving the local winged population a real bird’s eye view of the visitors! Montreal has got to be the cleanest city we’ve ever seen — in fact, one evening we witnessed a Zamboni-type machine with a long sucky hose that was actually vaccuming cigarette butts off the sidewalks! Hey! Bring one of those little hummers to Atlanta and it would choke within one block!
Can’t pass up a kitty posing like this one was! Le chat was exactly at eye level with me, just enjoying people watching from a window in the old Ville Marie area. My fingers are reflected in the window, as well as the lovely building across the street.
When we found a book on the history of Montreal, we were surprised to find that we were actually staying on the spot where the original village was! It was fun to wander around the old buildings in that area and to visit the Musee d’ Histoire et Archaelogie, built over the ruins of original city structures. It’s a must-see for anyone who loves history. A high-tech film presentation in their little theatre was mind boggling!
The St. Lawrence Seaway is certainly an exciting bit of geography itself! We enjoyed long walks along the Old Port area (whew, it was hot!) and one day ventured onto one of the bateaux for a cruise. A beautiful part of the cruise was coming back into port again and viewing Vieux Montreal from the boat.
We found that history is selectively remembered in parts of Canada!
Although there were statues such as this one that seemed to impartially commemorate the early “AmerIndian” occupants of the land, there was a bit of a slant on American and/or British historic interaction with early settlement. Reminded us of being in Paris at the anniversary of the liberation of that city during WWII–by Charles De Gaulle. Or so the signs said. Anyway, many shops in Montreal and Quebec sold museum quality Amerindian crafts. And lovely furs, that no one seems to mind wearing. I guess PETA has not gotten their foot into Canadian society yet, thankfully.
The train trip to Quebec City was sooo exciting for me. I barely slept the night before and was dressed early for the walk up to La Gare. It’s a wonder I didn’t totally hyperventilate before the train left the station. I left nose prints on the window, I am sure! So anxious to see a moose or other wildlife! Once in the city, my mouth formed a permanent “O” at the architecture and art.
Lovely little alleys filled with artists wares the likes of which you don’t see elsewhere. Charming little sidewalk cafes. Churches — no! Cathedrals on every corner almost. The walk up to the Citadel was a grand adventure, although ‘someone’ in our little group had to straighten the guide out on just who invaded whom in 1774–and though we wished that the tour would have been more comprehensive!
Saving the best for last…
The auberge where we stayed was the icing of our trip! The room was lovely and oh-so-cool. Very generously sized with a large bath. But the innkeepers were what made our stay so special. Marina, Fouli and Christina — we thank you for the memories! Breakfasts in the cafe were like dining with family, as we persuaded them to join us at the table. We lingered over coffee listening to their stories about running the inn! And we found ourselves drawn back to the little cafe during the day for World’s Best Tuna Salad, special Greek dishes, little ice cream sundaes — and more time spent getting to know this wonderful family. We want to go back to Montreal in the winter and have more time to visit with our hosts!