6.24.10 Montreal

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Yeah Quebec!

6.24.10 Montreal

 

 

We bought a Quebec flag today!  Happy National Day of Quebec!

 

It was an easy drive this morning into Montreal to the Metro at Longueil station at the end of the Yellow line.  There were 5 parking lots but we were advised not to go to the “sketchy” P5 lot, which of course made us curious.  However, we went to the P2 lot and had $7 all day parking.

Metro Station, Montreal
  P1 cost $10, so pay attention to the signs.  Excellent!

 

The good news was that it was a National holiday today so traffic was low.  The bad news is that nearly all of the stores were closed today and the energy of the city was lesser than I’m sure it would be on a normal weekday.

 

We found the people of Montreal to be universally helpful and friendly, just as advertised!  They helped us find our way in the Metro station, out of the Metro station, getting around town, etc.  Very nice!  I would start out by saying, "Bonjour, je regret, je ne parle pas Francais bien" and they were very kind in speaking English back.

 

Although we saved funds by lunching at Subway, we found a delightful, afternoon, alfresco bistro for cappuccino, desserts, and herbal tea.

Jazy and I share brownie a la mode and duo cappucini
  Lovely!  While lunch in a similar place would have run at least $80 for the four of us, we instead had tea for just $40.  It was still expensive, but cities are ALWAYS expensive for four people.  And it was a delightful memory.  Delightful!

 

The metro, while a bit scruffy, was very easy to use and efficient.  We bought a 6-ticket pack for $13.25.  Lia (under 12) was free today for the holiday.  So that was good for all 3 of the rest of us for a return trip.  We were glad afterward that we did not buy the $7 pp all-day pass, as we'd not have used it.  We see so much just by walking with a map and sometimes getting lost.

 

Did you know that Montreal has a veritable underground city so that you can avoid the difficult long winter?  I did not see as much of this as I wanted and will explore more on the next trip.

Montreal cathedral

 

Today we saw the beautiful old cathedrals, the delightful architecture of old town with cobblestone streets, fun Chinatown, and a then big rainstorm that sent everyone home. 

 

We really liked Montreal, which is a nice city, but we all still vote Toronto as our favorite.  It is not fair to judge Montreal on a holiday, but Toronto just seemed to have everything Montreal did, nicer and at a multiple of 10.  But we did love the nice people of Montreal.

 

We did fine leaving the Metro Station.  We figured out in advance that you have to go to a little building to pay for your parking (using a machine) to validate your parking stub (which you got when you came into the lot).

Aacck! The bridge onto Montreal Island!
  Then you put the ticket in the exit meter to lift the arm when you go out of the lot.

 

But then we made a big mistake and turned Ciao the wrong way - TA-DA!!  We were on the enormous bridge, in the rain, driving smack into the Ile de Montreal!  ACCKK!  The bridge is about 2 miles long, technically at least 2 bridges and it was NOT part of my easy plan back to the campground!

 

But we managed to get turned around eventually and back over the bridge.  Thank goodness it wasn’t rush hour on a working day! 

 

The Alouette Campground is the closest campground to Montreal.  It was just a 12 miles drive from the Metro Station.

Chinatown Montreal
  This HUGE campground is packed with permanent residents with some of the BIGGEST 5th wheels and RV’s that I’ve ever seen.  Some have permanent picket fences, flower boxes, screen rooms, storage units, etc. 

 

One nice year-round resident couple stopped to talk last night after seeing our TX license plate.   There are several Florida tags here which I suspect are native Ontarian snowbirds who go south for the winter!  It seems like an upscale, social, happening place.

 

The office staff at the campground are very nice too.  The RV’s are rather sandwiched in beside each other, but we’re not complaining with our full hookup and mosquito free field for $39 a night.  We could have gotten just a Water/Electric site for $37, but it was “in the woods” which I equate with “mosquitoes,” but it did looked more peaceful and scenic than the field we are lined up in now.

Montreal

 

There is a very big RV repair shop directly beside the campground, an RV pressure wash area that takes “loonies and toonies” ($1 and $2 Canadian coins), laundry machines, hot showers that require a quarter every minute, and a little campground store that seemed well stocked.

 

The reason we drove in to park at the Metro today is that the Grey Line shuttle to and from the campground to the Grey Line Tours kiosk in downtown Montreal to start the Hop-On/Hop-Off Tour costs $16 per person, round trip!  That’s $64 for the four of us without the tour!  I knew Ottawa was a good deal not charging a cent for the shuttle if you take a tour!  It also costs $5 per day for wi-fi, so were grateful to have our Verizon aircard with Global plan!

 

Most of the people here have tow vehicles as their rigs are the largest ever, so they must bring a toad.

Jazy showws off validated parking lot ticket so we can escape the lot
  Some people have golf carts too, motorcycles, scooters, etc.  It is a group of “campers” who take their fun and luxuries seriously!

 

Although I really like this campground, if I had known we’d be driving Ciao to the Metro Parking lot, then I might have decided to overnight in a local Walmart.  After all, we could play all day in Montreal and stay free at Walmart. 

 

Given we saw no “No Overnight” signs at the metro and the $7 was good for 24 hours, we probably could have quietly overnighted there.  We only used one parking space at the Metro station because we could back up to a grass median.  The parking lots were huge and the only person we saw was a lady in the little building where we paid the machine for our parking.  I would definitely attempt this.

 

But the pool at this campground was fun for the kids this afternoon- it just opened today.

Lia enjoys the campground pool
  The lifeguard apparently had gone home during the earlier thunderstorm.  However, the office said it was illegal for the pool to be open without the lifeguard.  But our Netherland camping neighbors were there and the office staff didn’t want to tell them to leave.  So they told me I’d just have to be there if Lia wanted to swim.  So we went, along with about 15 others, with no lifeguard and everything was fine.  I think that lax attitude is awesome!

 

And we did get propane right here in the campground, our first time on this trip.  We’ll get all powered up and ready tonight for our boondocking in Quebec City.

 

Quebecois residents at the campground do not have the same initial friendly behaviors that we Southerners use to judge friendliness-  such as waving back, answering a greeting, etc.

Example of massive rigs at this campground
  It is just a standard that they do not use.  The people we met after their apparent snub have been nice people.  It just goes to show you that you cannot judge friendliness around the world using a Southern U.S. cultural scale.  People are just different and our standard is not fair to impose on them.  So we don’t take it personally and still are friendly in our own way.

 

I am really proud of us getting through the 3 cities that frightened me:  Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.  Having no clue about them initially, I'm feeling good that we could find decent campgrounds, find our driving way through them, and determine a way to tour them.  As I told the kids, if you give in to your fears, you will get weaker.  If you confront your fears and just keep moving, then you will be stronger.

 

Jazy’s holding a drawing contest and promising s’mores to all participants (just local Ciao members), so apparently I must go submit my drawing to earn dessert tonight!

 

 

 

 

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Yeah Quebec!
Yeah Quebec!
Metro Station, Montreal
Metro Station, Montreal
Jazy and I share brownie a la mode…
Jazy and I share brownie a la mod…
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Aacck!  The bridge onto Montreal I…
Aacck! The bridge onto Montreal …
Chinatown Montreal
Chinatown Montreal
Montreal
Montreal
Jazy showws off validated parking …
Jazy showws off validated parking…
Lia enjoys the campground pool
Lia enjoys the campground pool
Example of massive rigs at this ca…
Example of massive rigs at this c…
Charles shares a bite of the 18 o…
Charles shares a bite of the 18" …
Ciao fits in one spot at the P2 pa…
Ciao fits in one spot at the P2 p…
Heres why!  Ciao fits in one spot…
Here's why! Ciao fits in one spo…
Montreal
Montreal
Montreal
Montreal
Cool LED falling snowflake lights …
Cool LED falling snowflake lights…
Cool LED falling snowflake lights …
Cool LED falling snowflake lights…
Montreal
Montreal
Montreal
Montreal
Montreal
Montreal
Pics of some Beaver Tail options
Pics of some Beaver Tail options
Bank of Montreal
Bank of Montreal
Pic for Evelyn (she likes eggs)
Pic for Evelyn (she likes eggs)
Bike rental- self rent station
Bike rental- self rent station
Bike rental- self rent station $5 …
Bike rental- self rent station $5…
Parking meter system
Parking meter system
Montreal
Montreal
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Charles liked this Porsche
Charles liked this Porsche
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Montreal cathedral
Charles apple cobbler a la mode
Charles' apple cobbler a la mode
Lia enjoys french fries and herbal…
Lia enjoys french fries and herba…
Chinatown Montreal
Chinatown Montreal
Chinatown Montreal
Chinatown Montreal
Weird (to me) square streetlights
Weird (to me) square streetlights
Weird (to me) triangular streetlig…
Weird (to me) triangular streetli…
Aacck!  The bridge onto Montreal I…
Aacck! The bridge onto Montreal …
Aacck!  The bridge onto Montreal I…
Aacck! The bridge onto Montreal …
An example of a big rig pulling in…
An example of a big rig pulling i…
Example of massive rigs at this ca…
Example of massive rigs at this c…
One of my favorites!
One of my favorites!
Another favorite- look how useable…
Another favorite- look how useabl…
Example of massive rigs at this ca…
Example of massive rigs at this c…
Montreal
photo by: cvanzoen