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Montreal Travel Blog

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Bonsecours market on Rue Saint-Paul
In summary I left England to go on jaunt across Canada, lost my car keys, got stuck in Nova Scotia, took a wrong turning and ended up in Virginia, went back to England, changed my socks, came back to Canada again, got a job and now the blog continues from some time in April....


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 Basilica
Conversely Montreal blew over all my previous misconceptions and it wasn't in the slightest bit stodgy. Not even a whiff. In fact it would be only fair to give Montreal an (8) on my personal sliding scale of awesomeness as it totally redeemed itself. The source of this redemption didn't come from the Multicultural diversity or the Historical curiosities (although it was very diverse and steeped in history) instead it came from a small café in the Latin quarter called Juliette Et Chocolat. If you ever have the chance I highly recommend a visit, as it was amazing. I had a hot chocolate made with 5 different types of cocoa. No wait, scratch that, Montreal's redemption came in the form of a very cool French restaurant in the old town with really tasty deserts. Hang on, it must have been 'Le Caberet Du Roy' a colonial era themed pub which takes you back to the year 1705, hands you a tankard of ale and as you start to quaff it, slaps you on the back and tells you a joke in French. Yes that was it.


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.

China Town


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.

Le Caberet Du Roy
This made my experience even better, but I hadn't brought my mug to show them. To avoid the wrath of disappointed penguins we made for the exit and then drove to Kingston.


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.

A tamarin monkey in mid groom.
Despite their attempts they couldn't point me in the right direction, so I wandered over to the Radisson Hotel. The staff there fell over them selves to help, they even printed a map of how to get there, and marked it with blue highlighter pen. Either they were very keen to get rid of me in the right direction, or they were just very keen. Either way I was now armed with the directions so I high tailed it back to the car and off we went.


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).

gaters
This is what holiday weekends are all about!


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.

Kingston: the B&B at the maritime museum
Drill Sargent was quite persuasive and I soon found my wallet a little lighter despite my wavering protests) we were instructed to proceed in a clockwise direction starting from an appointed position in on the grounds:


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.

Kingston: A view from Fort Henry, again.

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Bonsecours market on Rue Saint-Paul
Bonsecours market on Rue Saint-Paul
The Basilica
The Basilica
China Town
China Town
Le Caberet Du Roy
Le Caberet Du Roy
A tamarin monkey in mid groom.
A tamarin monkey in mid groom.
gaters
gaters
Kingston: the B&B at the maritime …
Kingston: the B&B at the maritime…
Kingston: A view from Fort Henry, …
Kingston: A view from Fort Henry,…
Montreal
photo by: cvanzoen