Gluttons for Cultural Punishment

Canada - Montreal November 2015 289With two days left on our museum pass, Tuesday was a good day for marathon #2. Our plan of action was to start with the largest and work our way from there. What we did not realize was how extensive the largest happened to be.

The Musée des Beau Artes de Montreal covers three buildings. On the grounds, surrounding the main building is the statue park mentioned in an earlier post. Our passes saved me $20 and Ron $16. Generally, we start on the highest floor and work our way down, but signs pointed us into an auditorium where statues lined the walls. A conference on restoration of Holocaust confiscated art had finished the day before. Workers were busy collecting the chairs, but we mutually ignored each other.

Off the auditorium, the next room contained several rooms on two floors containing the collection of contemporary pieces. With a vast range from stylized furniture to non-functional Canada - Montreal November 2015 293designs, it was playful looking through the work. Three displays here caught my attention.

The almost life-sized boars head was interesting placed among the silverware. Dishware by Jane Timberlake Canada - Montreal November 2015 301contained the rules for manners for each place setting. What a great way to teach some table manners that are so inadequate these days. Finally, the desk lamp just gave me a chuckle thinking about finding a replacement bulb.

Finding you way through this museum is challenging. Some rooms were closed off; it is like a maze, but it is worth it. After two hours of pushing ourselves, we made it through one building, deciding to by-pass the Pre-Columbian, Egyptian and most of the Greco-Roman. We certainly have not had a shortage of any of these from previous travels.

To reach the other two buildings, you need to go to the sub-two level and walk via tunnels. An exhibit of Inuit art was fascinating. The second building has a temporary exhibit of the Beaver Hall Woman, an organization for female artists started when they could not break into the men’s circle. In total, they have 30,000 items in their collection. Of course, not all are on display at any Canada - Montreal November 2015 300one time.

We almost ran to the McGill University Redpath Museum. This is natural history museum did not even have an admission, so we really could have done it anytime, but we had not realized it. It had a very similar feeling to the similar museum we went to in Dublin. One majorly interesting difference here were the animals indigenous to Canada.

Knowing our last museum for the day closed at 6 pm, we ran into a café for lunch and a WiFi hotspot. Once we reached our table, I asked about the WiFi only to find that it was not working. This being the primary reason for the stop, we tossed our hands and ate lunch instead.

Canada - Montreal November 2015 315Musée McCord has a record 1.44 million artifacts. Thankfully, they did not have all of them on display during our visit. There were two exceptional exhibits. One was a poster collection by an Italian immigrant who made Montreal his home. His poster art was exceptional, making me think and question the scope of creativity. The other exhibition that I really loved was one of a rabbit’s circus. Intertwined throughout the ‘circus’ acts were toys from my childhood making it very nostalgic. We finished about five minutes before closing time, the last two patrons to leave.

With just an hour to spare, we ran to Van Hout’s coffee house for an Internet connection before heading off to the movies. Tuesday is discount day, so we had bought tickets for The Martian. By the time it started, there was not an empty seat in the theater. Couples were having to sit separately just to find seats. Canada - Montreal November 2015 316

This movie is a MUST see. Matt Damon gave an award winning performance. The realism will have you believing we actually did reach Mars and it is possible to survive until rescued. I am so grateful to have seen it on the large screen.

This trip has been a treat seeing movies in the theater on large screens in English without subtitles.

Black Mass – Johnny Depp Excellent movie, but one would barely believe it was Depp in the starring role

Spectre James Bond – Daniel Craig I found it boring and too long. It was almost three hours with little action until hour two. Read Rotten Tomatoes reviews.

The Martian –  Matt Damon

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.