Saturday morning after breakfast we decided to walk the streets of Montreal. The weather was cold and wet so we thought we'd try and travel through the underground city which is 33kms long (according to the tourist guide in our hotel room).
We wandered out onto the street which was very quiet. It was about 10am so we were surprised to find the streets almost deserted, especially as we're used to Toronto streets which never stop day or night. It was lovely to take our time and we all felt very relaxed.
We found an entrance to the underground and headed down the stairs. The first thing we saw was a piece of the Berlin wall - there is a photo in the gallery. We carried on, there weren't many shops open so we decided to come back up onto the street.
The architecture here in Old Montreal is amazing. Very old and beautiful. We spent the whole day just walking around the city (very tired legs and feet afterwards). We walked down to the port and saw some huge ships, we wandered through the streets, looking at the galleries and shops. Nothing much was open until about noon so it was lovely. We went into several museums but they seemed to need more time than we had.
We visited Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal - a most amazing cathedral where Celine Dion was married. Unfortunately, we couldn't do the tour as there was a wedding on. Weddings cost $10,000 and there's a two year waiting list to get married here http://www.basiliquenddm.org/.
In the afternoon we went on a horse and carriage ride around the streets. It was $45 for a half hour tour. He had been driving his carriage for over 24 years so you can imagine the stories he had to tell.
He pointed out to us the clock tower used in Back to the Future and the Aldred Building which was used in Ghostbusters http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/sijpkes/arch304/winter2001/cszasz/aldred/aldred.htm.
There was a museum which used to be a firehouse before it burned down and was rebuilt. There was a retirement home for grey nuns (original hospital in Montreal). He told us interesting facts about Montreal, none of which I can really remember at this time.
Montreal is an island, surrounded by water. There are huge bridges to take you off the island.
We headed back to our Hotel about 4.30, tired and hungry. We had an early dinner then after a rest decided to head out for a drive. By this time it was really cold and wet out. We drove across the Jacques Cartier bridge which seems to go forever (3.4kms). We only drove across part of it, we wanted to go and look at the Biosphère Geodesic Dome. There was something on at the Casino because part of the bridge was blocked off and there were cars everywhere. We accidentally got into the Casino parking lot.
The Biosphere was closed but we really only wanted to see the outside. Whilst there we saw several Groundhogs. We have not seen them before, the size of cats with short legs that burrow under the ground.
About this point our GPS died again, so it wasn't just the cable. We did manage to get it working long enough to get us back to the hotel. Our impression of Montreal roads is that they are a lot quieter than Toronto roads.
April 19, 2010