Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Montreal Day 2 - Old Montreal

[Composed 8/14/2019]

Our first day of exploring Montreal got off to a bit of a rocky start. The kosher bakery we planned to casually stop by to pick up supplies for lunch was closed. This forced a detour to the nearby Fooderie, a kosher supermarket. This worked, but added more walking than we intended. By the time we arrived at Place d'Armes and saw the seemingly endless line snaking out of the Notre-Dame Basilica, I had three children and a wife who were already short on patience. The children ended up saving the morning: they noticed a series of horse and carriages waiting in the square. Like moths to a flame, they were drawn in.

Then it hit me: a carriage ride would be the perfect way to experience Old Montreal. I'd get to enjoy hearing the history of the area from the driver; the kids could ride in luxury; and Shira wouldn't have to deal with tired, fidgety kids being force marched to the next 'starred' location in the guidebook. The ride was delightful. We learned how the dog in the Maisonneuve Monument helped saved Montreal. We got to rumble over the cobblestones and plod through the narrow alleyways. We picked up history and best of all, the kids got to pet the horse at the end. Good times!

After our ride, we set a course for the Old Port, stopping along the way to eat, browse a historic garden and pee. The latter wasn't without merit. Some make their way to Bonsecours Marche to take in the extraordinary architecture. Others, want to shop the boutiques now housed in this historic building. As for us, we sought this location out because our carriage operator informed us that they had best public bathrooms in Old Montreal. I was glad to use any excuse possible to see more of the city.

At the Old Port we paid way too much to ride La Grande Roue, the city's 'observation wheel.' Still, the views were pretty epic so I can't really complain. After testing my aptitude for heights, we walked over to the Clock Tower and tested the kids' aptitude for stairs. The 192 steps, with the final ones being quite narrow, were a formidable challenge; but everyone made it to the top and we relished the view.

We even managed to step into Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, one of the oldest churches in Old Montreal to admire the remarkable interior. I wanted to see the famous 'ships' that hang from the ceiling. The kids were impressed with the interior.

After the Old Port we did a bit more exploring and then it was back to the metro to catch a train back to our Airbnb. The metro had originally freaked T out a bit, but the kids ended up loving it. It was the perfect way in and out of Old Montreal.

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