Montréal, Québec, Canada
After attending my company meeting in New York City at the beginning of October, Lillian and I took the Amtrak train "Adirondack" from New York Penn Station to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was scheduled to be an 11-hour ride, but was delayed at several points (at least once, they said, due to stalled freight trains on the tracks), so it was about 3 hours late to arrive, making it a 14-hour ride total! It was a nice time to travel through upstate New York, especially along the west side of Lake Champlain. Here's one small town where we got to get out during a delay:
In Montreal we stayed at the YWCA (Y des Femmes) hostel, which allows men to stay there too. It was a nice place, where we had a private 2-person room, and were able to use the shared kitchen for meals. We immediately liked the nearby Mont-Royal, the hill the Montreal is named after, which is very broad and has walking paths all over it. I read that it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York's Central Park. It has a beautiful view of the city near a chalet:
The plaque notes the place where French explorer Jacques Cartier visited on October 2, 1535. Montreal's history of European exploration and settlement goes way back!
We saw several beautiful Catholic cathedrals, and one Anglican church:
We enjoyed walking along the waterfront of the St. Lawrence River (le fleuve Saint-Laurent):
That domed building across the river is Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours) across the river in Vieux-Montréal (Old Montreal). A few more views of its dome:
Old Montreal has cobblestone streets, some open market areas, and lots of interesting old buildings. This is the city hall:
The second flower arrangement to the right commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian holocaust:
This church is nicknamed the sailor's church, and has little model ship candleholders hanging all around. We got to hear a mid-day organ concert there:
We walked through the campus of McGill University and took a break the field where students played frisbee and chatted:
We walked through part of a huge cemetery and found many graves of eastern Europeans, including many Armenian ones like this:
Next we took a long walk to St. Joseph's Oratory, the largest church in Canada. We read that some pilgrims ascend the stairs on their knees, and the middle staircase is reserved for them (and has smoother steps, not the normal rough concrete). It is a huge church, beautiful, and has interesting modern artwork:
Its view over the city at sunset was very nice too.
Lillian enjoyed (or at least tolerated) my intentionally overly-literal translations of French phrases. This street sign "Trottoir barré" I rendered as "trotter barred!", with a sidewalk being something people trot on (but in this case should not):
There were lots of barred trotters around town. We trotted elsewhere.
We found a shop with a name that fits a running family pun on eggs in words with the ex- prefix:
We left from the central train station (Gare Centrale), which had large socialist-realist type art on the walls above the words to the national anthem "O Canada" in French on one side and English on the other:
We really enjoyed our two and a half days in Montreal! We walked 8.2 miles on day one, and 14.5 miles on day two. There was a lot we wanted to see, and it was mostly adjacent, so it didn't make sense to take a bus or the metro most of the time. The weather was pretty nice too, so we enjoyed being outside.
Our next stop was Ottawa, which I'll write about later.