Montreal highlights

We went to Montreal for a day trip - it was about two hours north.  It was a fun adventure and a pretty city.  We were somewhat surprised to discover all highway and freeway signs were only in French - don't know why, all our signs are in English - just sayin'.

We started the day at the botanical garden (sure am lucky Dan doesn't mind traipsing all over these gardens with me!), the furthest north part of the city we wanted to visit.

The Japanese garden was lovely.

The Chinese garden was featuring this collection of lighted figures and all the buildings were strung with lights.  We decided to come back at the end of the day to get some pics of the garden lit up.

Olympic Park adjoined the garden so we walked over to this structure and rode up an outside funicular to the top observatory for great views of all of Montreal - hazy though.  Then we headed downtown - we wanted to see old town, Notre Dame and the Plaza des Spectacles which I'd read about.  We took the subway so we wouldn't have to worry about trying to park downtown.

The skyline from the car as we crossed the bridge into the city.

These bicycle rental places were scattered around the city - you paid into the kiosk and it unlocked one of the bikes - we saw several people pay, take the bike and go.  Some of the stations were totally empty of bikes.

A cool church near the Plaza des Spectacles - you won't see any pics of that because it was decidedly unspectacular!  There was nothing to see really, an art museum, a small plaza of steps where people sat about, a bland amphitheater (probably cooler if there was an event), so no pics there....  on to Notre Dame and old town.

Huge and ultra grandiose, the inside of the cathedral ($5 ea entry fee) was amazing but VERY dark.  I'm very surprised my shots turned out at all.  It took a little photoshop enhancement to pull out the details, but you get a decent idea of the elaborate detail inside.  Celine Dion was married here.

Notre Dame is the 3rd building.

As we walked along the river side pedestrian walk way, I found this gorgeous reflection.  I'd been looking all week, but every time we found water, it was too windy so no reflections.  We were starved and Dan had promised a steak dinner, so we headed off in search of food.  Found a charming little restaurant in old town. The weather was nice enough to eat outside but the tables around us had smokers so we asked to move inside.  We had the inside to ourselves!  Right outside the window of the restaurant was an art stall - he had black and white photos of scenes in Montreal that he had hand colored.  Of course I had to go look.....

By the time we finished dinner it was time to take the subway back to the garden for the night lights.  The garden was PACKED!  It was like being at an amusement park and shuffling along from ride to ride.  Luckily I had packed our tripod so we were able to get a few decent shots.

The only snafu of our trip occurred as we were leaving Montreal.  It was about 9pm and we got on the freeway okay but missed a turnoff to the freeway that crosses the river.  One way their freeway system is different is that there aren't mirror entrances/exits - so there was no way to turn around an get back on the freeway.  We wandered around the neighborhood following little freeway arrows for 40 minutes.  Finally stopped at a McDonalds (the first open business we came across) for directions.  He told us go out of parking lot and turn left, follow signs.  We got out of parking lot and immediately saw a sign that pointed right.  We went right and within a mile or so finally got back on the right freeway.  Then it was a couple hours to home.  Definitely a long day!

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