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Montreal and all things French!!!

sunny 20 °C
View USA and Canada 2015 on Jochester71's travel map.

To say I woke up this morning after the wedding with a hangover, would be correct. I woke up in exactly the same position in bed, that I had climbed in. Even had a full face of make up and false lashes. I have to say, I thought I looked hot.....except underneath that make up were eyes, that Mick said, were 'bleeding!". We headed down for breakfast, once the waiter looked at me, he came out (without us requesting it) with two large glasses of iced water. He knew. He knew I was crying inside my head!! Breakfast, berocca and a good dose of "harden the hell up" assisted, as did seeing one of the other guests (Bianca, who will remain nameless) who looked even worse that I did. Apparently she felt worse too, as she wasn't even game to go near food for fear of having to see it twice!!! :) Yes, it was a great wedding!!! haha!

So bags packed again (ok, this is the most terrible part of traveling as we seem to completely un bag our stuff at each stop) and off to the station for our train to Montreal. Mick remarked on how nice the scenery was, I watched also for about the first 15 minutes until my eyelids chose to cover my eyes, to stop other people staring at me! I awoke, fresh as a half dead daisy, and we cruised into Montreal!

I so love this city, I just love, love, love the French influence and the fact that I get to practice my terrible French!!! It's even better when they understand. It is also paying off sending Jack to a school that teaches French. After two years of it, his favourite (and some might say, only, French word) is en colere - meaning he is mad and angry. Figures!!!

Mick is just terrified and can't understand why everyone can't just speak English!

So, we arrived and checked into our hotel, Hotel Nelligan. It is in the Old Port area and is just divine. Did I say French? oh, the buildings, and history, and crepes, and all things French is just, so romantic, as is sleeping in a room with a 9 year old! :/

I have a friend who lives here, Craig, who used to work with my dad years ago and met and married a lovely lady from here, Dianne, and her two daughters JosyAnn and Marilyn. I was excited to see them, and we were collected by Craig to head to their house for supper. Dianne is an amazing cook and she didn't disappoint! JosyAnn helped too and what ensued was an amazing supper, cheese and baguette to start, salmon tartare and fried goats cheese for entree, salmon and mashed potato with caramelised onion with veggies for main, then a flourless chocolate almond torte with pear and cream for dessert. It all went a bit pear shaped for Mick as he thought the cheese was the entree, the tartare and cheese as main- needless to say he really had to push through the rest of the meal! hehe!
It was also lovely to meet JosyAnn's boyfriend Julien and Marilyns new baby, Lilliane. I hadn't seen them since 2009 when Judy and I stayed with them so it was wonderful to share a home cooked meal and a fair few laughs! It is always funny speaking in broken english and french to the amusement of all!

A late night ensued, and we were asleep before our heads hit the pillow.

(If Mick falls asleep before Jack and I, Jack has taken to call him Dad Vader (his snoring sound!!) Dad Vader was definitely in the building!!!

I of course was up at dawn for sunrise shots, and out I ventured. I am getting to love these mornings as I get to see the world just waking up, minimal cars and people, and the morning lights. A few crazy joggers, but generally I'm rather alone. I love it. It is peaceful and I can totally soak up my surroundings. Sometimes I find a chair, and just sit, and make myself have a 'pinch myself' moment, live the moment and appreciate where I am at that particular moment in time. We are so fortunate to be living this dream, and of course making lifelong memories together. Jack too soak it up and strangely seems to love the history and stories that come out on the hop on hop off buses. He of course has discovered that Subway is indeed an universal franchise, and is as happy as a pig in shit! The coffee though, is still average at best!

We are just near the Notre Dame Basilica, which is totally beautiful at sunrise. It is a great time to see it too as during the day the place is packed! We might even go inside today. My guess is that it has been standing for so long, it may withstand me visiting without lightning hitting it!

The boys were tired so I headed out to get our bus tickets for tomorrow and to go to Fromagerie Hamel- a cheese shop I had researched before we even left on our trip (it was important to know exactly where to go!) and off I went. Well, it didn't disappoint- and of course, I got soon excited I bought enough for about 15 cheese platters......to be eaten in 2 days! Some really aged, really pungent goats cheese was my favourite, and Mick's least favourite!!! I left there and out behind it were markets. The markets here are so perfect, all the fruit and vegetables are lined up in rows, sitting there perfectly. They all look so good and it is hard to resist! Then I saw wine.....ah hello! happy Jo!!! Then there was an oyster bar....so I did what any self respecting person would do, I ordered some and sat up to the bar! They were icy cold and delicious!

I headed back to the hotel to drop my cheese and baguette, and wine, and ice wine, and maple cider, and maple port (ok i got a bit carried away!) and the boys and I headed to Schwartz's Hebrew Deli- a famous place here!

We were told by Zoe's dad (Gordon Bourgard) at the wedding to go to Schwartz's Deli for a medium meat, half or full sour pickle and cherry cola. He said we HAD to go try it, and with the cherry cola as it completed the meal. He also told us to go to Le Pied de Cochon (The Pigs Foot) Restaurant. Well, bad news was that they are closed Monday and Tuesdays so we can't go!

Well Schwartz's didn't disappoint. We could have ordered another one- but that would be silly- besides, we haven't bought new jeans yet! I am definitely keen to go back- it was amazing. So much so, that there is a permanent line out the front waiting to get in!

So, a quiet night in was the order of the day and Mick and I laid down (there aren't many chairs in hotel rooms!) to a plate of cheese and baguette for dinner, with Raspberry Cider !!! It was quite funny as I had asked the restaurant downstairs if I could have a knife and plate for some cheese. She gave me a tiny side plate, more the size of a saucer and asked if that was ok. Clearly they eat small delicate wedges of cheese, not great mounds of it like me! It was sublime. I bought two cheeses that Judy and I fell in love with in 2009, and it was nice to be able to actually ask for at least two cheeses by name! The Victor and Berthold and Buage de Bourgogne (a semi hard cheese with a line of ash through it). Yes, it was simply divine, and there will be more purchased before we head to New York for sure!

Today we did the hop on hop off bus tour- so much history...talking about buildings built in the 1600's, seems so strange when our oldest in Australia is a mere 200 years old!!! some beautiful buildings- so much beauty and their architecture is astounding. One thing I loved was the art installation of '21 swings' that when you sit and swing on them (there are 21 of them) they make classical music- so gorgeous!
i made a trip to Fairmount Bagels- famous bagel store that does not shut- its open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year!
Then we went to meet Craig and Dianne for dinner at Botegga- an Italian restaurant! yummy food and very very authentic - nothing like our Italian restaurants!
We left there and they took us up the Mount to see the raccoons! Judy and I did this last time but then there were two- tonight there were about 20 of them! Cute little things but not tame so no patting!!

Ok, I've updated the blog so now I can sleep and pack tomorrow for Quebec City!!! Bonsai!!


Posted by Jochester71 21:28 Archived in Canada

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OMG.....look at the cheese. If only your blog home delivered! I love this city as well and have very fond memories of our adventures. Your photos are awesome, so keep them coming. Can not wait for the next instalment. Happy days :)

by Jude

Hey Jo,the convergence in your pics of the buildings looks a bit extreme,can that be adjusted or not? Happy to see you are having a shit time! Lol. Xxxxx

by Kerry & Stella

well it looks like you guys are having the time of your lives. what a wonderful trip you are having. lifetime of memories.

I hope you are going to watch the dockers tonight. we are beside ourselves with excitement and head off to Melbourne on MOnday for the Grandee. cant wait! xx

by Michelle Hearty

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