A Travellerspoint blog

Our Father Who art in heaven ......

Day 27: Montreal to Portland, Maine (via Toronto)

overcast 18 °C

Well today I had to leave Montreal and Canada behind as I was heading back to the States.

My trip started out fine, I had to fly from Montreal to Toronto and get a connecting flight to Portland, Maine. First leg was good, but Holy Moses, I nearly wet myself when I saw the plane we were taking to Maine. I'm not scared of flying, but this plane made me petrified. I have been on small planes before, but nothing like this!!! To put into perspective for you on how small this plane was, we only had 8 passengers and the maximum is only 18 passengers!! I could see the pilots and all the controls in the cockpit from my seat and if I leaned over (from my seat) I could touch the other window on the other side of the plane! I actually had to duck in the centre of the plane so I didn't hot my head on the roof. No hostess required (they wouldn't have fit anyway). The safety announcement was done by a taped recording, but you couldn't hear for the roar of the plane's engines. To make matters worse, I was sitting in the emergency exit row - just what I needed!! A did say a few Our Father's before we took off - it was the longest 2 hours of my life!! I just tried to sleep my way through the flight.

Now I have arrived in Portland it was time to pick up my car for the 3 day joyride down the coast to Boston. I thought this was going to be scary driving on the other side of the road not really knowing where I was going, but my fear came nowhere near what I feared while sitting on that plane. Once I finally found my car - a Dodge Nitro . It is a nice drive and pretty new with less than 10,000 km on the clock. Now I was on my way and thankfully my always be prepared gene kicked in and I had written instructions on where to go thanks to Google maps as I couldn't work out how to get my GPS to tell me the directions. I got slightly lost, but thankfully I was only one street away.

Tomorrow I head down to Portsmouth, New Hampshire - better get googling.

Blog yers lata....

Posted by ronnie_23 14:08 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Désolé, je ne parle pas du français

Montreal Day 25 & 26

Monday (Day 25): I got lucky again as it was another beautiful day here in Montreal. This morning was our walking tour of Montreal. We were pleasantly surprised as it was also a food tour, hence the tour name the Flavours of Montreal (none of us picked up on it being a food tour). Our guide took us in the metro into Old town to about 4 different places to taste home grown Montréal food. Our first stop was a little bakery for macaroons and coffee - I had apricot and lemon macaroons..mmmmm. Then it was onto an ice-creamery specialising in Maple gelato. Surprise, surprise, they didn't have any maple gelato today (fine by me), but I had chocolate (made with Maple sugar and I couldn't taste it!!). Then onto my favourite tasting....CHEESE!! They had the most delicious brie (pseudo Brie as they actually can't call it Brie as it is trademarked, like Champagne) I have ever tasted (pity I can't bring it back with me). We also tasted cheddar which as good too. Our last stop was a deli for a liver paté and duck confit tasting. The duck confit was delicious (of course it is not good for me - the deli is Marche De LaVillette, 324 rue St-Paul Ouest, just for anyone who may visit Montreal). Our guide also took us to Jacques Cartier Sq, the Bank of Canada (for the architecture) and the world trade centre - which standing outside you wouldn't think it was much, but you walk through the foyer to a lane way they incorporated inside the building (sounds weird, but looked incredible).

After this excursion, I had the exciting job of doing my laundry while most went off to the Botanical Gardens. I got a little homesick while waiting for my washing as a Crowded House song came on the radio. I then kind of crashed after this (I think I have been getting too much sun and a hell of a lot of food - it is making me weary).

I then farewelled the people from the tour who were heading off to Halifax - now I am all alooone - it feels kind of weird when you have been practically living in 45 other people's pockets for a week - but I thoroughly enjoyed my tour.

Tuesday (Day 26): Back on my own, I took off to visit St Josephs Oratory (needed pictures, but not after a little sleep). This place is HUGE. Ok folks time for your facts and history lesson. The dome is the 3rd largest in the world. Brother Andre was a Holy Cross Brother who built small chapel at the base of Mont Royal. With the growing congregation a demand for a larger church was necessary. One was built on 1917, but in 1924 the construction of the Oratory began. It was not finished until 1967 (30 years after Brother Andre's death). Brother Andre has been credited with many miracles. He was beatified in 1982, and approved for sainthood in February 2010. He will be canonized on October 17 2010 (along with Mary MacKillop). OK lesson over.

After this, my luck ran out with the weather and it rained. Had to go back to the hotel to get y umbrella, but was off again to see McGill University up close. As it was raining, didn't hang around much so went back down Av McGill College to view photographs taken from the William Notman studio between 1860 and 1935. In 1999 Andrzej Maciejewski took on the challenge of re-photographing the same locations, here the original and Andrzej photos are here side by side as a comparison. It was interesting to see what has changed and what hasn't.

From here I went back to Old town for a stroll and to take some more pix of Jacques Cartier Sq. The tree colours are just starting to turn and there was a really pretty row of trees just off the square (I hope it shows in the picture I have posted).

It was starting to get a little chilly so I decided to do what desperately needed to be done (other than my washing yesterday) was to get my hair coloured and it just so happens that there was a salon across the road from my hotel.

As I am leaving Montreal and Canada behind tomorrow, I have had to repack tonight, so I better get back to it.

Blog yers lata....

Posted by ronnie_23 04:11 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Je ne sais pas....

Day 23 and 24

sunny 20 °C

Saturday (Day 23) - This morning we had a tour around Quebec City, Upper and Lower. Our tour guide was a native Quebecois and quite a character. After the tour we had some free time where we went back down to explore more of lower Quebec, Place Royal, it is so pretty and quaint. Another church and another souvenir shop later, we were on our way back to the hotel to get ready for our afternoon excursion to Montmorency Falls and dinner on Ill d'Orleans. Personally, I think the Montmorency Falls were actually louder than Niagara!! Again dinner was delicious (I had beef filet mignon again) and there was only 2 options for dessert, a maple syrup tart and fruit salad. Luckily I can't stand maple syrup, so it was fruit salad for me.

I keep forgetting to speak French, but when I do, they start prattling off in French and can't understand a word they say. From the look of my face, they generally work out that I can't speak French and are happy to talk in English (god bless them). But am beginning to work out a few written words here and there.

Sunday (Day 24) - We left for Montreal today. Not a big trip which was good. Before arriving at our hotel we did a quick photo opportunity stop at the Biodome Stadium, built or the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. We arrived at our hotel just before midday, but because our rooms would not yet be ready we were set loose on the town before our afternoon tour. We are staying on rue Guy which crosses rue St Catherine. We strolled ouest (west - see) down rue St Catherine. We found this small place called Buns for lunch that sold really delicious hamburgers for 4 bucks. We then headed back to our hotel to start our afternoon tour. Now, not sure if we were being shown the right places or if because it was an afternoon tour instead of morning, but Montreal has not yet drawn me in. However, I have not yet seen much of the Old town, so I'm sure it will get better.

Tonight is the last night of our tour and I am sad to say goodbye. The group is splitting in 3 directions. Those staying on in Montreal (like yours truly), about 7 (Anna and Michelle) are going onto continue the tour towards the west coast and the others (Kris) continue onto to Halifax. So we headed out to dinner for our last night, we strolled est (east) on rue St Catherine this time and couldn't find anything we fancied - we saw a crepe place which really only did sweet crepes, but it was too late, we all had savory crepe cravings and we couldn't find a place. A little frustrated, we headed back to the hotel to check out the hotel restaurant, but that was not appetizing either. And then (I believe it was Anna) remembered about one we passed earlier today called the 3 Amigos (we remembered the fancy cocktails they served), but by gosh the food was delicious and so was my Mango and Strawberry Daiquiri. There was a birthday on the table next to us and they waiters all came out to sing happy birthday and the hilarious part was when they got to the name of the person whose birthday it was they sang "Happy Birthday dear customer", it was so cute.

Anyway, tomorrow I have a walking tour and then I am on my own again until Boston (a week away).

More pix have been posted, but will need to start archiving Vancouver soon.

Blog yers lata....

Posted by ronnie_23 04:09 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Ottawa and Quebec

Day 21 & 22

sunny 19 °C

Sorry for those who only live for my blogs, but got in a bit late last night.

Thursday (Day 21) we had a tour of Ottawa and the RCMP Stables (Royal Canadian Mountie Police). Our tour included stops at Capital Hill/Parliament, the War Museum, The Museum of Civilization and Notre Dame Cathedral (beautiful - refer to pix). We got dropped off at By Ward Markets for fee time for the rest of the day. So Anna, Michelle, Kris and I took off in search of the famous Beaver Tails. Beaver Tails are special to Ottawa (but are sold in some other places). They are fried dough pastries....mmmmmm....that can be sweet or savoury. I had a savoury, being garlic and cheese and the others a apple and cinnamon topped with caramel syrup (I have never seen so many foods with sugar in my life!!)

Just as we were leaving the markets, it started to rain, but we soildered on and had a squizz at the foyer of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier and then up to Capital Hill to check out the "Women and Pesons!" statue - Five ladies having a tea party who in 1929 won a legal challenge to have women considered "persons" under the Bristish North America Act. making them eligible for appointment to the Senate.

The rain was coming down a bit heavier now and we just had to stop into a pub (another Irish one D'Arcy McGees). After this we went back to the Museum of Civilization (free after 4pm - cheapskates that we are). This museum is actually located in Gatineau in the provine of Quebec (but just across the St Lawrence River - it is also an amazing museum. The exhibitions and the work and ffort they have put in are incredible. We saw quite a few exhibitions such as First Nations cultural heritage and history and a Canadian history from east to west - 1,000 years of Canadian history. We also saw an IMAX movie (IMAX came from Canada). We chose a show called Around the World. We did not read anything about this before we bought the tickets, assuming it would be like a round the world in 80 days - boy were we wrong. Not long after buying the tickets we found out it was about the history of how cowboys evolved around the world - 45 minutes of my life I will never get back - Anna at least took advantage and had a sleep. The best part of the museum we saw last - the childrens museum. This place is amazing - even for us. It takes the kids around the world (should have come here earlier rather than go to IMAX) from Europe to the Middle East and Africa. They can go into each display and dress in clothing and play around, it's fantasic. Would highly recommend anyone with kids visiting Ottawa to visit this museum.

Stayed till closing at the museum. As the bus we wanted to get back had stopped for the night we ended up getting a taxi, who we had to tell where to go (don't think he visited Ottawa very much - he only knew one of about 6 streets we gave him), but the taxi was only 6 bucks (tells you how close we were to Quebec provence). From hee we went to dinner at D'Arcy McGees, and again YUM - had a Shepherd's Pie (Mum, you need to make this for me again when I get home).

Friday (Day 22), we left for Quebec City. To get to Quebec, we hav to go through the outskirts of Montreal, so we stopped at a Marche (Market) to grab some lunch for later on and a squizz around. They have this shop called Bulk Barn, where you can get anything imaginable in bulk even random stuff from mac and cheese mix to molasses. We then moved onto our lunch stop at Notre Dame Du Cap in Trois Rivieres Quebec. We then arrived at our hotel in Sainte- Foy around 4pm to quickly get ready and head off to an optional dinner in Old Town Quebec City. Old town is beautiful and our dinner was delicious at Auberge De Tresor (one more bite and I would have exploded). Thankfully, we could go for another little walk after dinner for some night photo opportunities of the Old Town.

Tomorrow is a tour of lower town and then a few hours of free time exploring before we have to head off for nother optional excursion and dinner.

Anyway, must go as slowly slipping into a food coma.

Blog yers lata....

PS Incase you are windering, I have had to start archiving photos, therefore, you won't be able to view San Diego and San Francisco anymore

Posted by ronnie_23 16:57 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Big Apple...don't confuse it with NYC

Day 20 - I really can't believe it is only day 20 of my trip!!

sunny 17 °C

Today we left Toronno for Ottawa. Our first stop was the Big Apple...no not NYC - not as spectacular!! Here, we were able to grab a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. We then moved onto Kingston. A very pretty town that was once the capital of Canada, but only for a short time between 1841 to 1844. Here we had free time to grab lunch and explore the town.

From here we drove for a little while longer and then took a boat cruise on the St Lawrence River around the Thousand Islands - POP QUIZ - TRUE or FALSE Thousand Island Dressing was named after this location..............................TRUE - It was named in honor of George Boldt's wife. George Boldt, a self made millionaire and eventual proprietor of the Waldorf Astoria in NYC was building a castle on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands area for his wife, but she suddenly died of of a heart attack at age 41. He ceased work on the castle in 1904 which stood abandoned for 73 years. It is now a museum. We couldn't access Heart Island as it is actually US land (about half of the islands are in US land and the other Canada) and we would have to go through the customs, so we just went around it. There is also the shortest footbridge between US land and Canadian land in the Thousand Islands - it is only 3 metres long (see pix)!!

We arrived in Ottawa around 5.30, so we got settled and headed out for dinner. Myself, Kris and two girls (who I think might be younger than me) from NSW Anna and Michelle, went in search of an italian restaurant, but ended up at Irish Pub Sir John A (named after Sir John A MacDonald, Canada's first Prime Minister). Food was delicious and so too was the Guinness.

Tomorrow is supposed to be raining, but we are off on a 2 hour Ottawa tour and then onto the Royal Mountie Stables, where Anna, Michelle and I are hoping to pick up a Mountie or 3!!

So now that you have had your history lesson for the day, I am signing off.

Blog yers lata...

Posted by ronnie_23 16:05 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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