Montreal's a-MAZE-ing underground city

Trip Start Apr 10, 2007
Trip End Apr 15, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Friday, April 13, 2007

Today we awoke to a gloomy morning of light drizzle, which turned to rain by the time we finished breakfast, and soon became snow flurries by the time we were ready to head out to begin our journey for the day. Good thing we decided to explore Montreal's underground city. We traveled far and wide throughout this maze of a city, through tunnels, up escalators, down steps, and throughout eleven malls covering 26 city blocks and who know how many miles. Whew! What an interesting journey.

We began at the Complex Desjardins located just below our hotel, then walked to Complex Guy-Favreau, through Palais des congres de Montreal and the Centre DCP Capital, where we got completely turned around, but finally went on to Place Bonaventure. Thank goodness we ate a hearty breakfast this morning.

Walking through the underground city, we felt like rats in a maze, at times shuffling through the crowded corridors with the other pedestrians, and at other times just strolling by the many shops and eateries. Each mall is a small self-contained "city" of sorts, complete with boutiques, a food court, and personal services such as medical, massage, dry cleaners, flower shops and a post office. It's pretty difficult to get lost down there, but not so hard to get turned around within the tunnels--should we go up or down to get to the next section? Why wonder when there's a map right there on the wall.

Continuing our journey, we ventured into Gare Central, where we found a most amazing thing--the Rail Canada train station. Who would have guessed that the train station would be located right there in the underground city? Very cool! For a moment we considered purchasing a couple of round trip tickets to Quebec City for the day (152$ per person round trip). Then Michael noticed a Budget Rent a Car office across the way and inquired about the cost to rent a car for the day. Only 75$, half the price of a train ticket, and they mentioned that there is a Budget office at Complex Desjardins, right below the Hyatt. With two options, we decided to hold off on making a decision about traveling to Quebec City. At least we know how to get to the train station.

Venturing further through the underground, we came upon the Place Ville-Marie Mall, a sophisticated area with lovely boutiques and a wonderful surprise--a Starbucks Coffee Shop! We know what you're thinking; Montreal has a million unique coffee shops, so why would we stop at a Starbucks? Well, if you know the Globetrotters, you know we like Starbucks. We realize it's not necessarily the best and definitely not the only coffee bean in town, but we like it and we get excited everytime we see our place during our travels. It just welcomes us like an old friend and we always know what to expect from the ambience, the products and the service. 

Moving on, we walked through Centre Eaton into Complex Les Ailes. This is truly the funky mall. All of the teenagers and young adults hang out there. The shops featured a noticeably younger brand of clothing and the atmosphere was chock full of advertising, music and activity.

Just around the corner was the University Mall--much more chic and artistic than the previous section. By the time we reached the far end of this mall, we peaked outside and noticed how heavily it had begun to snow outside. The snow was so lovely that we decided to walk back to the Hyatt. According to our handy-dandy map, the hotel looked to be about five blocks away. So we gave it a go, traipsing through the snow taking careful steps to ensure we didn't slip on the slushy concrete. Even amid the bustle of downtown Montreal, walking in the snow with your Boo in the late afternoon is quite romantic.

All of that walking caused us to work up an apetite. So, back at Complex Desjardins we enjoyed pizza at Mike's, a local pizzaria, and then crashed out for the night.
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