Montreal

Finally “it” happend we landed, on the tarmac at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Quebec and instead of perusing around the terminal looking in airport shops or catching a bite to eat before our next flight, we actually bipassed all this and went straight to the arrivals area!

The first observation once wandering through this airport in search of where to purchase a bus ticket is its physical size and that everything is written in French first and if needed English second.

Than jokingly I said to my wife, “hey we should stop and exchange our currency,” as I pointed at the exchange booth. She giggled and replied, “your so silly, that doesn’t need to happen.”

Eventually we located the Bus Ticket information stand. Where the information rep greeted us in French than English. We happily asked about getting to Lionel-Groux station and she explained, how to purchase our billets (tickets) from the machine, than walk out door #28, and follow the curve around to the buses. There are two express busses. The first bus goes to Lionel-Groux than Downtown and the other goes only to Lionel-Groux station.

Looking over the bus travel times and pricing we opted to purchase an unlimited weekend pass for $13.75 which includes using the Metro train system, instead of the one time airport shuttle bus ticket of $10.

Onto the bus we went idly listening to other people on the bus speaking in French and having our own side conversation about being in Montreal.

At one point along the route, there is a section of overpasses, five passes high with an enormous amount of concrete rubble below it. Which makes one wonder, is the highway bridges and articulated road system safe? or did they just dismantle this one section because it needed it or did this section of roadway just give out, fail and fall down causing an instant road management project?

Arriving about 6pm in the Westend people were outside walking around, riding bikes along riverside pathways and sitting on patios enjoying the warm and humid 26C temperatures.

As soon as the bus arrived people shoved to grab their bags and head out into this area known as Little Burgundy. The people dissipated quickly escaping the bus going in every direction imaginable.

We paused long enough to lookup the address of the condo we had rented and the route in which to walk to get there.

As it turns out we are in the lower suite of a three-story townhouse on a street filled with other similar townhouses and several churches.

Once into our weekend digs we unpacked taking a look around the place, getting a lay of the land and what was included in our space?

Other than furniture, utensils and a couple of Colombian flavoured Nespresso cups the digs were empty. Although very inviting with the exposed stone wall, floor and wood beams.

Then we decided to go out for an evening stroll in this neck of the woods to stretch our legs, explore the area, find dinner and possibly a breakfast joint or two, and locate a grocery store to pickup some fresh food for our holiday adventures.

We opted to walk down Rue Vinet and as we strolled we noted the laundry hanging out of someones condo on a laudry line three stories up and chatted about how nice that would be and the area for which this idea was constructed for.

Further down we spotted people playing softball in the park and this majestic red brick building with the sun glistening off its exterior.

Shortly after this building we reached Notre Dame St West and turned right to begin our walk. Along the way we noted several nice looking restaurants filled with people idly chatting away and enjoying their saturday evening.

A couple of blocks down we came across a Pharmaprix (Shopper’s Drug Mart) and popped inside to pickup the bathroom essentials; toothpaste, soap, deodarant and razors.

We noter the Super C, grocery store out back then decided to take a look. It was definitley in the No Frills grocery store category and not anything like the places we normally shop at for our groceries in Alberta; Save On Foods, Freson Brothers, or Planet Organic.

But hey, there is always tomorrow morning when the Atwater Market opens and then we will surely experience things which will be delightful, fresh and organically grown.

Further up the road we chatted about a possible dining location when we spotted Klein Shoppe Sans Gluten which turned out to be closed, however we believe is a bakery and we will have to stop at for a treat while we are here.

Most notable around here are the old brick front buildings along the street. They’ve left the old, renovated the insides and restored the outsides to keep costs down in new construction along this area.

There were a handful of buildings which appeared as though they might fall over or actually need to be demolished and something rebuilt in its place but those were far and few between.

We ended our stroll around Rue Bouget and turned around to head back in search of dinner, “did you see anything that struck your fancy on the way up here?” I asked. “No not any one particular spot jumped out but if we could sit on a patio that would be nice.”

Thus we had formulated our next plan: to locate a dinner option with an outside patio and that they would accommodate to a Celiac culinary needs. Seriously how hard could this be? as neither of us speaks French and the only thing I recall from my lessons in High School are J’am appelle Henri-Margue.

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