The plan for this day was to tour Montreal and then in the evening pick Dave up from the train station. Ring, Ring! Dave called; he had over slept and missed the train. We scrabbled for two hours and eventually hit upon a bus to Ottawa, that would arrive early Monday the 10th. So there was no Montreal for Dave. Next stop breakfast at le Institut, eggs Benedictine for me and poached eggs with smoked salmon for Anne, all part of the room’s price.
We decided to Bixi down to the old town, parked the bikes and walked along the waterfront or the Vieux-Port. Riding the Bixi was a bit like riding a tank, but Montreal is pretty flat and it was all downhill to the river. Checking out the Bixi bikes and then checking them back in was a little complicated, but we managed just fine. We rode mostly on separate bike lanes and had to deal with traffic, bike traffic that is. At some lights there were so many bikes ahead of us I was concerned that we wouldn’t make it through the first light, but we did. Montreal is a great bike town.
After parking the bikes we walked for about an hour, up river, along the riverfront. This area is a main tourist destination, with many attractions, like the Biosphere a product of Expo, Le Habitat a modern, modular apartment complex, Marche Bonsecours an old market and the tug Daniel McAllister. We visited a history Museum, Pointe-a-Calliere, along the waterfront. The museum is a modern bare concrete structure. What is un unusual about this museum, is that the concrete building encases an archeological dig. What is inside the museum are the remains and foundations of some of Montreal’s oldest buildings. The upper floors of the museum are devoted to regular museum type things, like theaters, gift shops and visiting exhibits. The main visiting exhibit there was all about pirates.
It being already two, I was ready for lunch. We walked away from the river up a block or two to an eatery called olive + gourmando, it was mentioned in the guidebook. It was crowded, but we were quickly seated at a window counter. The food was good plus we got to watch the street scene go by.
After lunch we headed back down river towards the Basilique du Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes. The church bells were almost constantly ringing. We soon found out why, the brides and their wedding parties were stacked up like planes on a Friday afternoon at O’Hare. It looked like a wedding assembly line. Just down the street from the church was the Hotel d’Ville or town hall or in this case city hall. It also had a line of brides about it.
Across the street from the Hotel d’Ville was a neat shop featuring Inuit art. Lots of nice stuff, none of it visibly priced. I was getting tired about now and was also worried that we would have to walk back to le Institut. We had passed several completely empty Bixi racks. Did I mention that the day was gorgeous? Eventually we came upon a Bixi rack with just two bikes still in it. Anne did her credit card magic and printed out the two slips of paper with the secret unlocking combinations. Her bike came out of the rack fine, but mine kept coming up with a yellow light. After playing with it for a while I gave up, but just then a third bike arrived and I checked it out instead. We biked back, first getting lost down by the Molsen brewery and struggling a bit to get back up to Le Plateau, but we made it fine. We retired to our seventh story hotel room’s balcony and cooled our heels for until dinner.
For dinner we walked up Saint Denis and were enticed into a rather nice looking Peruvian restaurant, called Mochica. We split a sampler plate that included veal heart. This is something that we had not enjoyed since moving from Ann Arbor. It is to steak like dark meat is to white in chicken. The art is from the women’s restroom. We walked around a bit after dinner, until it got dark. We stopped into a Chocolatier. I had their spicy hot chocolate and it was great.