The Story so far...
Montreal Travel Blog› entry 64 of 96 › view all entries
When fortunately my friend R came over from England to see what all the fuss was about. The major highlight of her stay had to be our trip to Montreal.
On my previous expedition to Montreal I ended up in a very smelly camp-site, in the rain with only my faithful Penguin of Death mug for company. I was a little hesitant to go, but R persuaded me as we could always head up to Quebec in case Montreal turned stodgy.
The old town is quite amazing and we toured around some of the major attractions, taking in the Basilica, Château Ramezay Museum and Bonsecours market, generally wandering through the winding old streets and peering into cool shops and restaurants.
We stayed up in the Latin quarter, in the Youth Hostel (which had really hot rooms in the basement ��" we nearly baked). But this gave us great access to the old town, the Latin and Chinese quarters and to the mount.
We climbed the mount and the view over the St. Laurence and Montreal was amazing. On our last day in Montreal we went over to the BioDome and saw Tropical rainforest captured inside a man made bubble, complete with live birds, fish, plants and mammals. The atmosphere was quite thick as you enter the tropical section, the sounds of the jungle are completed by the calls of Macaws and other jungle birds. Small Tamarin monkeys peer out through gaps in the foliage and alligators snap from below. It was great and then there were penguins.
Driving to Kingston was the easy part. Arriving was a whole different matter. I had managed that morning to secure us a night's stay at Kingston's only hostel called Skweek's house, but managed to loose that critical piece of paper with the address on. We rolled into town and stopped at the tourist info to find it sporting a small closed sign, so I ducked into the pub over the road while R guarded the car.
I resisted the temptation of a pint, and patiently waited while the staff scurried about frantically. There was a gig on in town that evening and the pub was full of hungry punters.
Skweeks was not exactly what I was expecting, in that rather than being a hostel it was actually a house mainly resided by cats. A nice lady showed us in and we picked our way down to our basement quarters.
The next day we drove the car into town and got a smashing breakfast at the Pan Chancho Bakery & Café, where I had a croissant filled with fried egg, bacon and Garlic Alioli, together with some orange juice and a chocolate éclair (the latter weren't in the croissant initially, but were after a bit of work with the butter knife).
After breakfast we made our way down to the Maritime museum, and saw many strange and wonderful nautical artefacts some labelled and some left to the imagination of the visitor.
After that we drove up to Fort Henry, to discover that along with many attractions in Kingston in April it was kind of shut. The local Garrison was running affairs there out of season so we were greeted by an army official. This dude didn't need to speak, but as soon as he did you knew you had to respond with 'YES DRILL SARGENT!'
We were lead into the ops room for a pre-visit briefing at 13 hundred hours. After reluctantly giving up $10 (I had with me a paid-for-pass that should have let me in for free.
“YOU WILL PROCEED DIRECTLY TO THE GUARD ROOM AT THE FORT ENTRANCE. TAKING AN IMMEDIATE LEFT YOU WILL OBSERVE THE HISTORICAL ARTIFACTS ON DISPLAY. YOU WILL NOT ENTER THE BUILDINGS TO THE RIGHT OF THE PARADE GROUND WITHOUT AUTHORISATION FROM YOUR SUPERIOR OFFICER. HAVE YOU UNDERSTOOD?”
“yes” came the weak reply from R and myself as we cowered in the corner of the room.
"GOOD. HAVE A NICE DAY."
Dismissed, we cautiously entered the fort and crept sheepishly around the ramparts.