Montreal, 8th - 10th July 2007

Trip Start Jun 11, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Thursday, July 12, 2007

The observant amongst you will have noticed that the route on the map looks strange, it doesn't go straight from Halifax to Montrteal.  This is because the bus does't take this nice direct path but goes via Moncton, Fredriction and Rivereia du Loup making it a nice long trip.  However...  Montreal is nice we arrived after 18 hours on the bus from Halifax.  It was 5 in the morning and raining.  Chris was with us after changing his mind and coming to Montreal instead of getting off at Moncton.  The three of us shared a taxi to HI-Montreal (the hostel) which was $15.  We were unable to check into our room until 2pm so we stored our bags and sat in the common room for a while.  I ran some restore discs for the laptop and installed the new software, whilst the boys played pool... there's a bit of comptitiveness going on (surprise, surprise) Rob was winning for ages then Chris won a few, it was quite amusing!
They have a little café area which opened for brekki at 7 am, but we had been scoffing butties and carrots all morning from our pack-ups for the bus so we weren't hungary.  The three of us headed out of the hostel to find the tourist information office.  Everything on the streets in Montreal is in French and most people greet you first in French, then in English.  I even started saying "hello, bonjour" and "thank you, merci" automatically! At the T.I. office we got a tourist pass for $35 which gave us entry to all the museums and some other attractions.  On our way to the first museum we notice a street blocked off and some activitiy further down, so we investigated.  There was some filming going on for a movie to be called "Afterwards".  We didn't see anyone famous, but we saw a small stunt being done and we hung around for almost an hour whilst they hosed the street to keep it wet and set up a dummy for the crash sceen, I was rewarded with some git moving right into my shot whilst I videoed it! I did manage to move round him and still just caught the crash bit! I think I could be a cammeraman.

Excitement over (we couldn't be bothered to hang around for another hour) we went to the museum of the History of Montreal.  Chris left us here, we arranged to meet up later.  The museum was okay, the film about how it all started and how it's developed through various industries and sports achievments was good, then they had lots of artifacts showing the fashions and the transport through time.  Most exciting was the hockey table game (like fooze-ball), you could actually play it, we didn't hesitate.. several minor expleatives and several fears for the plastic cover when the ocky (not sure if that's what it's called) was hit a little hard, I emerged the victor! Hee hee.  Those that know Rob well will know that he wasn't best pleased, and demanded a re-match, but I didn't want to embarrass him any further.

We went for something to eat at a diner place, we had home made burgers (good) and I had a vanilla milkshake made with ice-cream, yum yum! After that it was nearly 2pm so we headed back to HI to check in.  Shall we go back out and do another museum?  Nah, we went to bed for a few hours!

We met up with Chris in the café/ common room about 6pm and ate there (it was cheap!) the food was quite good though.  Surprise, surprise, the boys the boys found a pub-crawl going on that night, I wasn't in the mood so they went off and I played on the computer, planning the rest of our trip in canada.  I got a call from Mandy, we grew up together as kids, then she moved to Toronto where she stayed.  It was really good speaking to her and we've arranged to meet up on Friday whilst we're there.  I'm really looking forward to that.
Rob turned up at 4:15 in the morning, Chris was still out, he's met a girl, Brenda from Mexico

Needless to say that our planned early start didn't happen.  We managed to get away just after 12.  First stop was to feed Robert, then we got the sub-way to the Biodome.  It's a dome that is split into four climate zones.  It was pretty cool and had some monkeys, birds, crocks, fish, snakes and frogs.  Next we got the shuttle-bus to the Bottanical gardens and Insectarium.  Rob took great pleasure in looking at various bugs and spiders, whilst I couldn't even get close enough to take pictures and had to give the camera to Rob.  There was a really amazing display of an ant colony.  They had rigged up a large frame of branches which housed the ant colonly at the base of one side and the other side the had plants that they eat.  They had to cross another section of branch to get to the food and you could see them all carrying back these huge (in relation to them) pieces of leaves.
The walk around the Botanical gardens was really cool.  It's designed in sections so you get a different feel.  They had a really fab section on American and Japanese Bonsi trees.  We've always had a fascination for these little trees and these were amazing,  (Karen, I hope yours is still doing well?) The oldest one they had was 360 years old! There was a really cool apple tree one, it even had miniture apples on it.
In the Japanese garden there was lots of tiny frogs (1cm) jumping on the paths, if you weren't careful you would stand on them, so Rob & I did a kind of tip-toe dance through this section!  I think we walked miles today.  The gardens were over 1.5km in length!

We headed back to HI about 6:30pm and met Chris and Brenda (from Mexico) in reception and arranged to go get food together.  A quick change and we went to ..... an Irish Bar! Good old Irish Bars.  Really good food here.  It was called "Irish Embassey" unfortunately the booze wasn't! oh well the budget is already stuffed!  We really need to make some cheap meals in the hostels, it's just such a pain when you're only in a place for 2 days, to go and buy the food and there's always stuff left over!
We headed back to HI and met Tracey a friend of Brenda's who had been out the night before on the pub-crawl.  A pleasant evening was had and we went to bed. 

We checked out at 10:30 today and met Chris in reception, so we went together to the bus station, calling in for brekki on they way.
I don't feel ready to leave Montreal yet, we never even got into Old Montreal which I would've liked to do and the planetarium was running some shows that we could've seen on our passses.  This is the bad thing about travelling in high season, some of the options are taken away.  If I hadn't had to pre-book accommodation in Ottawa and Toronto we could've stayed on another night or two.  Never mind you never know, we might get back this way sometime.
Next stop Ottawa...
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