Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Montreal Day 6 - A Roller Coaster Day

[Composed 8/18/2019]

The kids were super jazzed about today: we were going to La Ronde, a Six Flags amusement park located in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. Between the kids' various thrill-tolerances and sizes, it would take a bit of luck for us to get through the park with a minimum of frustration. Fortunately, Shira managed to thread the needle perfectly. We started with a group ride on the carousel and then made our way to the 'All Ages' area.

This let T face down, and overcome, a whole heap of ride anxiety. It also let G thrive in a section of the park where she could ride everything.

We closed out the For All area by tackling La Marche Du Mille Pattes, a coaster that was suitable for all three kids. T was worried, but Shira held her close and they did it together. At the end of our day, T would tackle this same ride, only this time with a huge smile on her face and arms raised triumphantly. Watching this transformation was a thing of beauty.

From La Marche, Shira and C tackled some adult coasters and I took the other kids on the train ride through the park. For my part, I did ride the Ferris Wheel, which turned out to be far more enjoyable than I expected it to be.

La Ronde was an ideally sized park. It was big enough to have rides for everyone, but not so large that you felt like you couldn't do everything in one day*. We also hit the park on a day when it wasn't crazy busy. We almost never waited in line, which was ideal. The park's policy that you can't bring in outside food seemed a bit heavy handed. It wasn't the end of the world that we had to leave the park to eat lunch, but it did seem unnecessary.

The vast majority of the rides and attractions were what I'd expect in any American amusement park. There was one exception to this: the bumper cars. When I've ridden the bumper cars in US parks, the format has been the same: you drive around in a circle trying to bump those in front of you. With little ability to control your car, it's not unusual to wind up wedged in some corner where you're stuck. La Ronde does it right! Each car has two levers: push both forward and you go forward, pull both back and you go backwards. Move one forward and one back and you turn. From there it's a delightful free for all. This was fun! I rode the bumper cars with T who counted: I bumped her 19 times, she bumped me 22. I was so close to winning!

After an exhausting day at the park we should have gone home. But I wanted to overdo it by trying to go out for dinner. We picked a Kosher Restaurant for dinner, but when we got there we realized that the cramped space and 40 minute wait weren't going to work for us. Across the street was Chops, a steakhouse and Asian-fusion place. The problem: I didn't think our rag tag group would do well at an extravagant, white-table cloth establishment. Still, Shira was insistent that I at least check it out. So I peaked my head in and my fears were confirmed: this would be the perfect place to take Shira on a date, but not the best place for a frazzled family of 5 who was looking for a quick meal. Fortunately, one of the staff members caught my eye and in an instant read the situation. He told me to grab the family and he had the perfect place for us.

He then proceeded to take us to a section of a party room off the main dining room. There was a large family gathering going on in the party room, but it was big enough that we weren't in the way. Shira ordered up a feast and we thoroughly enjoyed the meal and service. T was especially impressed that every time her water glass was empty someone quickly came over and refilled it. I can't recall going to a Kosher restaurant where the service and experience in general was so perfect.

As a last full day in Montreal, I couldn't have asked for anything more. Such a fun day!

You'll notice a few solo portraits of the kids below. I didn't take these. Instead, I handed my DSLR around to the kids while we waited in line and they took turns shooting fashion glamour shots. They did a great job as both photographers and models!

*Whoa: according to Wikipedia, La Ronde is 146 acres, while Dollywood is 150 acres. In my mind, Dollywood was much larger than La Rode, but I suppose that's not true.

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