Originally published: 10/23/2004; 9:35:34 PM
Back to “Day 2, Montreal”.
10/23/2004. We woke to another fine breakfast. Unlike the previous morning we were joined by other guests. I had the pancakes and Christy went with scrambled eggs and bacon. Both great. We took our time, lesurely sharing the paper and discussing our plan for the day with Jim.
We jumped on the subway and headed to Olympic Park, site of the 1976 summer olympics, at which, Christy had guessed, gymnast Nadia Comensomething won three gold medals and scored the first perfect ten. Our goal was to go to the top of the tower which is the largest inclined tower in the world. Unfortunately, it was closed for the season. So, we checked out the natatorium and jumped back on the subway.
We decided to take it to a park on an island called Ile Ste-Helene. The entire island is a park called Parc du Jean Drapeau.
There is an impressive dome by Buckminster Fuller (built for the ’67 World’s Fair), a Six Flags park, an old fort, and many sculptures. It was also a nice place to see the entire city with the river in the foreground.
We took the subway back across the river and decided to have lunch at a place Jim had told us about called Schwartz’s deli. Apparently it was the home of “smoked meat” sandwiches. “These sandwiches are special to the area,” Jim said, “They can only be had in Quebec–by law–and they are not FDA approved so you cannot get them in the states.” The quest was on. As our feet and legs would later lament, we made a wrong decision coming out of the metro station and ended up by the river. A kind gallery owner told me it was a good twenty or thirty minutes walk north and that we might consider the bus. “Merci, we’ll walk,” said I.
Never doubt the locals. I figured she was underestimating my walking ability–Americans are notorious underachievers in this area–so we hoofed it. It turned out to be quite a hike. We were about to give up, ready to eat anything, even Frites Alore!, when we saw our destination. We could tell we had arrived by the mob of people standing out front. The line actually moved quickly. The place was wall-to-wall tables and people. We got two seats at a five-top. The other three were students who had just started their day (2:30pm), one of whom was obviously still suffering from the after effects of the previous night’s revelry.
If it was greasy meat she needed to cure her ills, she certainly found it at Schwartz. The smoked meat was delicious and piled high on rye bread. I could definitely see why the place had been around for 70 years.
Recuperated, we set off, back down the hill, past the vintage clothing stores and clubs, through Chinatown, through old downtown and arrived at the Sailor’s Chapel or Notre Dame de Bonsecouers. We climbed to the top of the church’s tower and enjoyed a great view of the port and downtown Montreal.
Our dogs were howling by this point. We stumbled home and buried our noses in our books for a couple of hours. Then, it was off to dinner. We were still kind of full from our smoked meat feast so “light” and “close” were our top two value drivers. We ended up having crepes. Mine had ham and eggs with maple syrup. Delicious. Christy went for the dessert crepes. Hers were stuffed with apples, cinnamon, and ice cream.
On to Montreal Day 4.