Originally published: 10/23/2004; 8:56:10 PM
Back to “Day 1, Montreal”.
10/22/2004. We woke up early and went next door to the bistro owned by the hotel’s proprietors. Jim whipped us up a fine breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. Christy had french toast. Jim had a paper waiting for us, maps of the area, and recommendations on what to see and where to eat. (“Ah, you ate near the square, eh? How was it? Yes, most of the places down that way tend to be of poor quality. Try to stay this side of St. Laurent.”).
After breakfast we set out on a walking tour of old downtown. Old Montreal is sort of like a bigger, cleaner, French Quarter, with a lot more history and culture. There are a lot of neat old buildings to admire. We checked out Notre Dome and Notre Dome de Bonsecours as well as City Hall and Chateau Ramezay. The latter was closed which was disappointing because I believe it was there that Ben Franklin stayed when he was here attempting to persuade Montreal to join the revolution.
For lunch we ate at a small bistro. Christy had roast beef on a baguette and I had a croque monsieur. It was good but not quite what I had expected. The sandwich is essentially a ham and cheese with cheese melted on top. This one was smaller than I had expected and was sitting on a giant salad. The salad was filled with all sorts of vegetarian wonders. Folks who know me will find this hilarious. Halfway through Christy was gracious enough to trade.
The history museum was pretty neat. It was housed in Montreal’s first firehouse. The first floor was divided into four or five rooms each telling a bit of Montreal’s history from the time of early settlement (and ousting of the resident natives) to the present day.
We hopped on the subway (metro) destined for the “Underground City”, supposedly the largest of its kind. It is essentially about 12 good-sized shopping malls all interlnked by tunnels. As soon as I was in it I wanted out. I hate malls. We scrambled for the open air and found ourselves on a very busy street walking toward Mount Royale, the mountain (small hill) at the city’s center from which it derives its name. We wandered north to the campus of McGill, Canada’s most prestigious university. We walked around the grounds and then headed back to the subway and our hotel.
For dinner we ate at one of Jim’s recommended spots, Le Bourlingueur. I had grilled salmon which was excellent. Christy had the roast beef with brown gravy which was also good. My contacts had sort of fogged over from the cold, dry wind, which added to the ambiance.
On to Montreal Day 3.