Thursday, September 03, 2015

Continuing On...

I wonder if maybe one of my legs is longer than the other? Because a large amount of my vacation pictures are lopsided. They lean, is what I mean.

Or maybe I subconsciously took them that way to emphasize them. Like italics. Like, I really like this building, so I'm going to take this picture just ever so slightly slanted...

That's so smart. What a great idea.

Anyway. Just something to be aware of. The lopsided pictures are extra important and not at all just sloppy photography.

The week before we left for Montreal, a friend who just so happened to be in the city herself posted a picture on her Instagram of a cool-looking wall. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it was a really cool wall. I promise. I decided that I wanted to see it, but didn't know where it was, so this is the very logical and rational way we went about finding it:

We rode the metro to Old Montreal, because we wanted to see Old Montreal anyway, and got off when Sullivan started getting antsy. We came up from the train and I found a lady wearing a vest (because all women who wear vests know everything) (but also, she was sitting underneath a sign that said 'Information'), and I pulled up my friend's Instagram account. I said, "Do you know where this wall is?" and she pointed behind me and said, "Yes, it's just down that hallway."

The wall was cool, and so was the rest of the building (it's the Palais des Congres at the North end of Old Montreal).

From there, we headed south into Old Montreal. There's a very distinct place where the pavement ends and the cobblestone starts. It's like standing on the battle line between old and new, the straight, sleek lines of the skyscrapers over your head on one side and the jagged, turreted skyline of the old city on the other.

The Old Port is, predictably, right next to the Old City. We went there once in the evening when the mosquitoes and tourists were overwhelming, and once in the early morning when there were none of either. I highly recommend the latter. There's a little beach down there on the St. Lawrence River called the Clock Tower that costs $2 to get into and has a pretty sweet view of the Jaques Cartier Bridge and the city skyline.

On Sunday afternoon, we headed to Mont-Royal Park to see the Tam-Tams, a free weekly drum festival around the George-Etienne Cartier Monument. The cool thing about this event? It's not really an 'event' - in that it's not official; it doesn't have advertising, or sponsors or a fee or any kind of rules at all. It's just a bunch of people playing drums and selling stuff from blankets on the lawn. As far as I can tell, you just lug your little drum situation over there and have at 'er. For hours. There are little pockets of drum circles, surrounded by spectators. They start at, like, 10 in the morning and go until they feel like it's time to quit, sometimes late in the evening.

Our home base was right next to Jarry Park. We took coffees there from Cafe Vito one morning and let Sullivan chase birds with the umbrella stroller (kids have weird hobbies). There was a guy with a boomerang, too. I'd never seen a boomerang in real life, but I think now that I would like to own one. We found a little island, accessible only by stepping stones, and we sat on it and threw rocks into the water. So chill.

Let's see, what else...

I can't not mention Place de Castelnau, which was just a block from our house in the opposite direction of Jarry Park. It had two good coffee shops, a game store, an amazing little bread place, the chocolate shop I mentioned yesterday, painted sidewalks, and church bells that chimed every hour.

We also hit up (and quite loved) the Mile End, another place a short metro ride away known for its coffee (and bagels!) and shops. We found a record store and a book store, and I even bought a little French comic book as a souvenir for one of my friends' three-year-olds (but upon closer inspection on the way home, I discovered that it was maybe a comic book for an *ahem* older audience. Oops. Had a good laugh, not gifting it to a 3-year-old).

Aimless Wandering really was the theme of the trip though. We sat and listened to a guy play Pink Floyd and Yann Tiersen on a piano in a park, searched for (and found) crepes in Mont-Royal, poked around the Olympic Stadium a little, stumbled across a country music festival (left immediately; sorry, country music), and explored the McGill University campus. Just enjoyed being away together. Drank copious amounts of coffee. Poured water into our empty coffee cups so Sully would think he wasn't missing out.

We ended up spending a lot of time at our apartment too. Again: we have a kid who naps and goes to bed early (the time change worked in our advantage though - he goes to bed at 7, which is 9 Montreal time. It was nice to be able to do a thing or two in the evening without gouging into his bedtime). So our evenings were low key, but it was nice. We bought a game at the place in Castelnau and had poutine on the terrace and just hung out. Which, luckily, we like doing.

So, I guess, that's that. It was a really nice week. I'd go back tomorrow if I could. Unfortunately, real life is a factor in my decision making. Thanks for the memories, Quebec. You're so fancy.