If Google did its job correctly, the title is Two American Slugs. Montreal is about 10 degrees colder than Toronto. This may be the reason we have been a bit lazy in the morning getting out the door.
Sunday was our first day to explore the city. All the shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues were open for business, so the streets were full of pedestrians rushing hither and yon. Without a particular destination, we walked to avoid starting our three-day transport pass. Generally, the walk would be an easy one, but there are a few areas where the sidewalk and road have construction obstructions.
It is so interesting to hear people speak French and without missing a beat, change to English. Often times, I even here this when young people are speaking to each other. They start in one language and suddenly, there is a transformation to the other. Montreal has 1,000 pieces of public art around the city. I found a series of self-guided walking tours where each tour has a group of them. Each tour has pictures of the public art included in that tour. There are only one or two pieces highlighted on each tour that we would be interested in seeing. We will just take our chances wandering around.
The day turned into a prep day. I had found a play advertised online that is available during our stay. Then I found a dance performance that looked remarkable. We found our way to the tourism office, which beats the one in Toronto by miles. Cultural event tickets are not sold there, but they directed us to the place that does.
When we arrived at the ticket office, I had forgotten the name of the play. The young woman, who up to that point was only reading her book, was gracious in helping me find the play and venue. This was much quicker than finding the dance performance. We looked all over the events calendar, but could not find it. Of course, she was more comfortable looking at the French site, but I had found it on the English site. When we did find it, she informed us we would need to go to another ticket office to purchase those tickets.
We have tickets for a play called “Butcher”, but wanted tickets for the dance called “Rites”. Part of a tremendous climate controlled labyrinth of shops, restaurants, cultural venues and passageways, the second ticket office closes earlier on Sundays than our arrival time.
Being Sunday, it was the perfect day for stopping into churches as well. First was Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral. Inside was not as extensively decorated as many other cathedrals. We saw Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal from the outside, but by the time we arrived, it was closed. Other than mass times, there is a $5 CAD fee for entering, but it does include a tour. We were able to get into the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral also. They had an impressive rainbow banner inside with the proclamation of acceptance of all people. Demonstrating this, there were over a dozen homeless people camped out on their grounds.
Monday turned into more of the same. Finding a museum pass that comprises all 41 museums in the city, we wanted to verify the information with the tourism office. Choosing the correct pass is tricky as the purchase is available with or without transportation included. Here is the catch. If you include transportation, you only have three consecutive days to use the transportation and visit the museums. However, if you decline the transportation, you can choose three non-consecutive days to visit museums within a nine-week period.
We opted for the latter choice at $75 CAD each. There was no senior discount. The map they gave us shows how to cluster museums to maximize your time. Many of the museums cost $20 CAD individually, so we will get our investment returned and then some.
It is dark by 4:30 pm. We get this paranoia about turning into pumpkins, so we get the 165 bus back to the apartment. When the sun has gone done, the temperature goes with it. Returning here would require an uphill climb, which is not my favorite activity in any weather.