Un Bon Moment A Montreal

I need a vacation to recover from my vacation. I saw museums, a climbed a mountain, saw more museums, walked a lot, ate good food, and shopped, so I basically achieved everything I wanted to in my whirlwind getaway.

Montreal is a city on an island, bordered by the St. Lawrence River and Rivière des Prairies, and at the centre of the city is Mont Royal, the namesake for Montreal. Climbing the mountain was day 1, after exploring Rue Ste. Catherine before checking into my hostel.  Basically, after that, I was utterly exhausted, having woken up around 5am that morning.

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On top of Mont Royal

Day 2 brought exploring via the Montreal subway system, bringing me to the old city. I loved it. It felt very much like Quebec City, with winding roads, cobblestone, and buildings that have stood for centuries. Norte Dame Basilica – my goodness, it was spectacular. There is a minimal entry fee, and it is completely worth it. It is grandeous, opulent, and simply stunning. While in Vieux Montreal, I visited the Château Ramezay and Pointe-a-Calliere Montreal archaeology and History Complex. Both told the history of Montreal, but using two completely different interpretation perspectives. Chateau Ramezay had its first floor dedicated almost entirely to a timeline of Montreal, and the bottom floor was set up with rooms representative of a New France home.  The first floor was also where a special exhibit was installed, War Flowers, an interesting sensory experience, telling the stories of WWI soldiers. Pointe-A-Calliere, however, told the Montreal story though archaeology and artefacts recovered. The museum was essentially built on top of an archaeological site, a which created very interesting gallery space. That afternoon, I found Espace Tricot, a lovely yarn shop a short walk away from a subway stop. Three skeins later, my bank account was a little lighter.

I started Day three at the Jean Talon Market, a large farmer’s market near the city’s Little Italy neighbourhood. Afterwards, I wandered around the Notre Dame Des Neiges Cemetery, Canada’s largest cemetery and one of the largest in North America. There are a number of notable internment, but I was apprehensive about asking at the office how to find some of them.  At the front gates, there was a large sign, and from what French I understood, it basically enforced that the cemetery was a sacred place for remembering, and I just didn’t want to be *that* tourist walking in asking where to find notable burials.  Working for a museum and having an interest in history means I’ve spent more than my fair share of time researching and wandering cemeteries. I was concerned my interest may not have translated, so regardless, I wandered about before a quick lunch break and a tour through Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood. It is known for being a trendy ‘hipster’ locale, and this is where I sampled a Montreal bagel. It holds up to the hype. A quick visit to the McCord Museum capped off the day.

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My final day brought me to Montreal’s municipal museum – can you spot a theme? I also found the Maison Tricot, another fantastic yarn shop. I happily bought a skein of Biscotte yarn, notable for being super soft and delightfully self-striping. I tried to take it easy by the last day, having walked far too much in shoes that really shouldn’t have seen that much walking.

Long story short, I really enjoyed Montreal, I was very happy staying at HI Montreal, a hostel run by Hostel International Canada, and at a five hour train ride away, it was a great escape from every day life.

 

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My yarn purchases
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One last picture – trying to detangle yarn on board the train home. Good thing I had patience!

Back to Life; Back to Reality

Two week break from blogging, and I’m back! What a crazy two weeks!!

I have no real excuse for not writing last week, however, I’m going to lay blame on vacation recovery.  I took a week off from work, well overdue mind you, and I’ve spent the week after running like a headless chicken to catch up! The vacation was nice and relaxing, but I think I need a vacation after my week back from vacation!

The trip was phenomenal, relaxing, busy, fun, silly, sunny, and fabulous!  My best friend and I turned/are turning 30 this year.  To celebrate this, we planned a trip.  Not just any trip: we took a cruise – Sailing with the Scotts.  Yes, those Scotts.  The Property Brothers.  Jonathan and Drew.  It. Was. Awesome.

The week of craziness started Nov 13, where BFF, Sister and I saw the Barenaked Ladies/Alan Doyle show at Massey Hall in Toronto.  As already mentioned on this lovely blog, they’re pretty much my favourite band, so this was a great start to the week.  The show was a blast, with a surprise appearance from Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider.  I sang (well, screamed) We’re Not Going To Take It with Dee Flipping Snider.  It doesn’t get any cooler than that.

The day following was a day of travel, and the Sunday was spent shopping in Miami.  I had to resist every fibre in my being that wanted to sing Will Smith’s Miami every second that I was in that city.  But I wasn’t going to be that tourist.  Out loud.  I was totally that tourist in my head.

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At the Key West Port

The cruise itself was Monday to basically Thursday (we were booted off the ship early Friday morning, so Friday doesn’t count).  This was my first time on a cruise ship, and I must say, I’m not sure if I’m sold on the whole experience.  It was fun, don’t get me wrong, but apparently, I’m not much of a seafarer, and I spent more time than I wanted trying to stave off motion-sickness.  There was always something to do and always good food to eat!

And, of course, there were the Property Brothers.  I’ve been asked by pretty much everyone upon my return if I met them, if they were nice, etc, etc, etc, and I wish I had a better answer other than very briefly.  There were over 2000 people on board, and BFF and I aren’t the pushy sorts of people, so we had few interactions.  There was so much put on the Property Brothers, so much for them to do, and they tried to meet with as many people as possible.  I cannot imagine how much they had to do, and you can tell they truly appreciate their fans. We did pay for a meet and greet (again, where there were so many fans and so little time), and there was the photo op afterwards.  There were two pics, thank goodness, because I looked very crazy-fan-esque in the first one, but this second one turned out okay, I think:

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Drew, Jonathan, and short little me in the middle. I’m wearing heels and barely coming up to their shoulders.

We had two port stops: Key West and Cozumel.  I didn’t try in Cozumel, but in Key West, I asked a friendly woman if there were any yarn shops. The answer I received was along the lines of, “With the heat, there’s no need for knitting.”  Clearly Key West is doing knitting wrong!  I did get some knitting accomplished, not only on the planes but also on the ship. I like that the history of this particular piece means that it has been in Buffalo, Miami, Key West, in the Gulf of Mexico, and home here in the GTA.  It is a well travelled WIP, and I’ll share more about it in the coming weeks.

In all, I danced, I ate, I swam, I relaxed, I slightly fan-girled at the Property Brothers, and I super fan-girled at the BNL show.  This was by no means my average week, and this is so cheesy to say, but I now have memories to last a lifetime. Oh man, I can feel the cheese-factor radiating from the screen from that statement, but it is so true.  Great night with my sister, great week with my dear best friend.

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After everything though, I am happy to be back home.