Posts Tagged With: Montreal

Just One Day

We arrived in Montreal at 4.15pm yesterday and in just 24 hours we have managed to see and experience the highlights of the city.  Of course, this is only our opinion.

Once we had arrived at our accommodation, our first destination was Jean-Talon market which is literally about 100m from where we are staying.  At this time of the year it is bursting with fresh, local fruit and vegetables.

Our plan for today included the basilica, beer and a bus to the park.

We began by catching the subway into one of the city stations where we walked a short distance to the Notre Dame Basilica.  The architecture is more ornate than the one in Quebec.

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The interior is something to behold.

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Like Quebec City, Montreal has an old town area with a distinctly European feel, however, we had decided that it was probably enough to see the historic district in just one of them.  We did walk through part of old Montreal  on our way back to the subway and I felt our decision was justified.

From Mont Royal station we caught a bus to the summit of Mont Royal at an elevation of a little over 200m.  Judging from the number of passengers who were also clutching tourist maps, we were not alone in this endeavour.  The mountain is clearly most spectacular during the autumn months but we enjoyed a pleasant walk along the path to the lookout.

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The view of the city and the St Lawrence River.

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A return bus ride brought us back to the inner suburban area known as ‘The Plateau’.  Like many  inner city suburbs it has undergone somewhat of a rebirth in recent years.  Hidden in an unassuming building is what is regarded as one of Montreal’s top craft breweries, Dieu du Ciel.

The beer ‘menu’ is on wall-mounted  blackboards and there is no shortage of choices.  Most are their own brews with some other specialty beers as well.

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GMan tested a couple of different beers and we shared a vegetarian platter and some nachos.  By the time we left at 3.30pm there was a queue beginning to form outside.  It is clearly a very popular place with locals and tourists alike.

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Here are a couple of views of residences in the area which caught my eye as we walked back to our accommodation.


We enjoyed our brief experience of Montreal.  Our next stop is Ottawa.






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Food For Thought

Regardless of whether you are at home or on holidays we all have to eat.  Eating out can be a real highlight of a trip but most of us do not have a budget that runs to dining out for every meal.  So we try to mix it up.

Shopping in unfamiliar supermarkets can be frustrating or a challenge, depending on your point of view.  I try to make it the latter.  If you add in a foreign language that just adds an extra level of complexity.

One not so glorious moment was of my own making.  I decided that I had to try ‘Poutine’ – a French-Canadian delicacy which is essentially chips (fries), cheese curds and gravy.  I chose this small serve at a pub near Petit-Champlain yesterday.

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I did eat it but as far as I am concerned poutine really has no redeeming features.  It has been consigned to the foods which I am unlikely ever to eat again, alongside my experience of a Philly cheesesteak when in Philadelphia.  You can read about that meal here.

The best thing about travelling in the northern hemisphere during late summer is the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables.  This has been evident even in supermarkets but today we visited the the Old Port Market (Marché du Vieux-Port) and stocked up on fruit (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries) as well as some broccoli and leeks.

As well as fruits and vegetables you can buy bread, cheeses, meat, cakes and other sweets as well as a drop of local wine if you wish.  The market is not huge but it is clean, well laid out and has an excellent range of fresh, local produce.

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Since we have now divested ourselves of the rental car we will be catching the train to our next destination, Montreal, so I wanted to make sure that we are carrying as little food as possible.  I have planned our meals for the next 3 nights with a view to using the ingredients that we have.  The leeks will be teamed with the last of the potatoes from Prince Edward Island to make leek and potato soup.  Half of the broccoli has been added to some leftover roasted vegetable salad and half a can of crushed tomatoes for a vegetarian sauce with pasta.  The remaining broccoli and some carrots will be served with a potato-topped chilli con carne pie.  It is amazing what you can create when you need to.

The best meals that we have eaten out on this trip would definitely be at Antique Taco in Chicago – tacos will never be the same, Cape House restaurant at Cape Enrage for GMan’s birthday and Le Hobbit Bistro on Rue Saint-Jean on our first night here in Quebec.  All have been good in their own way.  DeeDee’s ice-cream at Peggy’s Cove was pretty amazing, too.

I am looking forward to the food options in Montreal as our accommodation is conveniently located in the block next to Jean Talon Market in the area known as Little Italy.


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The Countdown Continues

It is now only 8.5 weeks until we depart on our next big adventure.

This is from my previous post – 4 weeks ago.


Buy tablet (waiting until 60 days prior to be eligible for GST refund)
Decide on phone SIM
Intercity train travel in Canada – probably not until we are in the country

To be precise, it is only 58 days until we leave so we are now able to buy and be eligible for GST refund so on the weekend we are planning to check out the tablet we want to buy.

GMan ordered the free phone SIM card which is available with our travel insurance.  The SIM card arrived in the mail today.

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We have booked our intercity travel in Canada because when I checked the available times it was obvious that some had already sold out.  We will be catching a train between Quebec and Montreal and again from Ottawa to Toronto, however, we opted for a bus from Montreal to Ottawa as there are more departure time options on the bus.

The final piece in the puzzle is a day trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls.  I had wondered about whether it would be feasible to do it independently using public transport and although it would be possible, I do not think we would gain the best experience.  I am looking at tours which seem to be quite highly rated and include a couple of other attractions as well as the falls in a full-day trip.  We have yet to book a tour but will probably do that in the next few weeks.

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