Archives by Month - November 2006

Montreal Photos

12:52 AM November 19, 2006

Well, I said that I would be posting my photos of Montreal periodically in my usual blog posts. However, many people have been bugging me to post a large photo entry so they can see them all at once. So I've caved and put together a seven part photo series of some of the better photos. There were actually quite a few photos that didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. A lot of the photos were taken at night or in areas with poor lighting. Thankfully I took a few hundred photos in total, so there are still a fair number of decent ones to share.

The following is my trip to Montreal illustrated by photos:

Montreal Photos:
 

 

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Part 1 of 7 - Arriving

12:51 AM November 19, 2006
Our flight to Montreal stopped in Edmonton, where it was very cold
 
As we traveled East we saw the sun set over the clouds
 
We arrived and took a taxi to our hotel, l'Auberge du Vieux-Port
 
It is situated right in the heart of Old Montreal
 
Across the street was a nice tree-lined walkway
 
There were many places to walk and shop at boutiques, or stop at a pub
 

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Part 2 of 7 - Old Montreal

12:51 AM November 19, 2006
Old Montreal has a quaint, European feel
 
The old stone and brick buildings looked classy at night time
 
There were some large open areas
 
There were also quite a few statues
 
I saw this old guy feeding some pigeons
 
I also saw this old guy playing hockey by himself in the rain
 
This is the original Banque de Montreal, the oldest bank in Canada
 
Many of the older buildings looked nice at night
 

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Part 3 of 7 - Notre Dame

12:50 AM November 19, 2006
We stopped by the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal, which is huge
 
The inside was enormous and extremely decorative
 
Everything was made by hand a few hundred years ago, and the details are amazing
 
Many of the pieces were made from wood and/or gold
 
This is probably the most complicated staircase I've ever seen
 
There were multiple organs and pipes, and while I didn't see it, apparently the bell is the largest in North America
 
The center piece was definitely the focal point of the basilica
 

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Part 4 of 7 - Downtown

12:50 AM November 19, 2006
We did quite a bit of walking in the downtown area
 
Downtown had some cool old brick and stone buildings
 
It also had large modern skyscrapers
 
There was often an interesting mix of old and new buildings together
 
There were quite a few ancient churches dwarfed by newer glass buildings
 
The mixture always made for interesting views
 
We stopped by the Bell Centre where the Montreal Canadiens play
 
We also stopped by some pubs, including my favourite: Pub St. James
 
The inside of Pub St. James was pretty cool, though this photo doesn't do it justice
 

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Part 5 of 7 - The Biodome

12:49 AM November 19, 2006
On our last day, Asuka and I checked out the biodome
 
The biodome has 4 sections, each representing a different type of place. The first section was the rainforest.
 
We walked around a path and looked at a variety of animals
 
There were many large trees and some cool looking vines
 
We peeked through the bushes and saw some baby monkeys, sloths and some colourful birds
 
In the next section we saw some porcupines (who knew they could climb trees?)
 
We also saw some gophers playing near road runners (the road runners were too fast to catch on camera - go figure)
 
Lastly, after some huge (and dark) aquariums full of fish, we got to see some penguins
 

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Part 6 of 7 - The Insectorium

12:49 AM November 19, 2006
After the biodome, we checked out the insectorium
 
We saw thousands of insects from around the world
 
We saw displays of how some cultures use insects for jewelry
 
We saw some living tarantulas
 
We saw a bunch of other colourful living bugs too
 

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Part 7 of 7 - Random Things

12:48 AM November 19, 2006
We saw some other random things on our trip too. Here is a weird vehicle with long Astroturf all over it.
 
We saw this guy carying his cat around downtown. The cat looked quite grumpy.
 
Here's a closer view of Mr. Grumpy cat. He reminds me of Garfield.
 
I saw this cool graffiti of Biggie
 
We saw some cool multi-story underground malls
 
We traveled around downtown with the metro (subway)
 
We ate some great food on our trip, a lot of it involving meat in true French style
 
Asuka tried some "real" poutine, again with lots of meat
 
And that's the end of the Montreal photos. Au revoir.
 

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Montreal

5:27 PM November 14, 2006

We just got home from our trip to Montreal, and it was a blast! We stayed at l'Auberge du Vieux-Port in Old Montreal, which is a great place inside an old stone building. The service was great, we enjoyed free wine and cheese every evening, a free breakfast every morning, and our room was nicely decorated with an old feel. The lounge was also very stylish with wood paneling and shaded lamps. The quarter around our hotel is the old part of the city, which is beautiful. It's full of cobble roads, old stone and Victorian buildings, lots of shops and boutiques, and many restaurants and pubs.

The food and wine we had was great too. We tried quite a few different restaurants during our stay. My favourite was the St. James Pub, which is pretty much my ideal type of place. The decor is very stylish with swede chairs, large wooden tables, chandeliers, and many large decorative mirrors on brick walls. The pub features a raised DJ booth where deep house is the prominent music mixed live. Kerri Chandler was the headliner DJ the night we were there, which is pretty awesome (I have a few of his records in my collection). Even though the place is pretty classy, the vibe is quite relaxed and there are often people standing around enjoying drinks and chatting which gives the place a nice lounge atmosphere. The tables near the center and front are high up with tall chairs, so as dinner parties finished and more lounge style guests came they removed the chairs and people were standing around the tables enjoying their drinks. We enjoyed a nice dinner with dessert, quite a few glasses of red wine, and of course some awesome music at this pub. I'd definitely make this one of my regular haunts if I lived in this city.

The night life in general seems pretty cool in Montreal. There is a large youth population, and many bars and clubs to hit up. There are also a lot of cool restaurants to discover. One place we went was very European in that it was a "bring your own wine" place. This type of thing is illegal in B.C. but it's a cool idea. Another small place we tried had live jazz music and great food. I enjoyed a very thick steak there, and of course some more great wine. The jazz and deep house scene in this city seems pretty strong, and that was awesome for me.

Besides the thriving night life, there was lots for us to do during the days too. We checked out some old historic sites, some huge churches, the Biodome and of course we did lots of shopping. The Metro system gave us easy access to the downtown area, and there were tons of boutiques connecting the underground shopping areas. We came back to our hotel each evening for wine and cheese with extremely tired legs and feet. It was a very satisfying tired feeling though.

Almost all the service workers spoke both French and English, but I enjoyed using my French skills where I could. People working in shops would often speak English to you once they suspected it to be your primary language, but sometimes I could fool the person into never knowing. Our waiter at the St. James Pub didn't speak English very well, so I got to use my French skills there a lot. It was great to finally be able to use the French I took in school for 13 years, at least in some way that was useful. It was great to know that it all comes back really easily too, because I hadn't spoken French for almost 10 years until this week.

There is so much more I could write about my trip, but this post is already too long. I have a bunch of photos too, so you are likely to see them posted in future blog updates. In fact, I should probably start sorting through those now. Bon soir.

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