Come on Eileen…oh I swear da da deeeee. Dooo da deeeee da, you mean everything to me. (Dexy’s Midnight Runners is still stuck in my head, I now have most of the piece worked into a bassoon quartet, although I have to split up the melody and thicken up the texture of the choruses…) I still am oblivious to the lyrics as the train pulls into the station in Montreal.
Our first afternoon in Montreal consisted of a trip to Lush…Bath bombs were calling to Sam (who doesn’t have a bathtub at home). After a bite sitting in a park, we decided to see Mont Royal…we could see the park looming over St. Catherine Street and figured, why not do it now and get it out of the way.
It also turns out that we were unprepared for the sheer mountain-ness of the whole Mont Royal afternoon…note for travellers…do your research before randomly picking activities. 🙂
I have to admit though, I have no regrets about the afternoon at all. The view was stunning, absolutely stunning. (Plus we then celebrated with lush soap and a lovely dinner at Rebel Brasserie, with a pitcher of Sangria that was probably intended for about 4 people…we were finished our meal and had about 2/3 of the pitcher to go…such tasty, tasty sangria!)
Day two, we checked out The Old Port. Not much to see, but it is a lovely little park and we thoroughly enjoyed our nostalgic childhood indulgence of a train ride. The train conductor had three things in his favour: 1) He pulled a super tight U-turn at the end of the street that was VERY impressive. 2) He was the most handsome man we saw all day. 3) After the train ride we were walking past the next passengers on their ride and the conductor was the ONLY one who waved back at me. 🙂 Yeah he did!
After wandering through Old Montreal we made it up to Place Des Arts, which was closed down for a street festival, It looked like everything was just getting set up and I distinctly remember saying “This place looks like it will be great after dark.”. (Spoiler alert: IT WAS!)
After more Lush pampering we embarked on our pilgrimage to the Dieu du Ciel Brew Pub. It was a beautiful little place, with a huge patio out front. We sat at the bar, I started with a Solstice d’ete aux cherises (sour cherry juice…it was SOOOOOOO refreshing!) We quickly got chatting to the barkeep and started to order “biere du mystere”, because we like all the beers and sometimes it’s best to say to an expert “surprise me!”
After a few tasty beers we headed off to catch (from afar) Spain’s entry into the Montreal International Fireworks Competition. Even without the music and the missing some of the lower fireworks it was an incredible 30 minute show.
Saturday consisted of a bagel pilgrimage to Fairmont Bagel. Though tempted to buy a half-dozen and consume them ALL for breakfast, I was able to keep myself in check and only got 2. They were divine, so chewy and soft and sesame seeds that had toasted to perfection…heaven is the correct description. My life got better after each bite.
Our last night in Montreal consisted of fantastic Mexican food at Three Amigos. I had the Chicken Enchilada in Mole sauce…it took me back to Punta Cana. When we left the restaurant we were confronted with the street performer below. I believe only a crowd in Montreal would ooooh and aaaah over such incredible circus talent, there’s something about the city that appreciates artistic ventures like circus the way no other city really does. The guy didn’t do any spectacular tricks other than a handstand, but the crowd cheered as though he was a rockstar with pyrotechnics.
I would easily say that the above performance made my night….but then we went to a square outside of Place Des Arts where a street performance was happening. The performance happened both on stage and throughout the crowd, it was as if the crowd was on the floor of an arena and the performance was happening through the entire arena. There were projections onto neighbouring buildings, performers on the stage, performers in the crowd, huge balloons being controlled by 4 or 5 people. The stage had a 3 story screen behind it that alternated between art, scenery and close ups of performers. The screen also acted as backdrop to performers who were suspended on harnesses dancing in the air. At one point a garden was projected onto the screen and 2 people had a suspended tea party…mind blowing. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen. I love what circus has become in Montreal, a synthesis of human creativity and physical capabilities.