Thursday, May 17, 2012
Dad's first visit to Montreal
I took a few days off to host Daddy-O who came to Montreal for the first time. He arrived Saturday evening and we drove home from the airport with the top down. The warm air arrived just in time. Perhaps he brought it with him from California. There are a lot of pictures like the one above as you will see. The next morning we took a little motor tour of town - first stop Mount Royal of course where he could get a sense of the lay of the land around here.
Spring was exploding everywhere and the electric green of new shoots and leaves was in evidence all over the place. Dad forgot his cap so he wore Serge's Madrid cap he got in Spain.
Sunday mornings are notoriously quiet in Montreal and we took advantage of the ghost townliness to run over to the St Joseph Oratory. Dad was really impressed with the scale of things here. The massive structures, the love affair with concrete this city has.
Now the plan was to go down to the old port area and take Montreal's E-ticket ride - jet boating the rapids. Imagine our disappoinment when we arrived and were told that only two departures were going that day and we had missed both of them. Being Mother's Day he explained, there were no reservations for the rest of the day. We called later that day, and the next day but there were never enough reservations to justify a departure. Bummer. We made lemonade anyway and strolled around the beautiful old port and took a tour of Pointe A Calliere, the birthplace of the city.
I wanted to turn dad on to all the yummy food things that are available up here. He got into the spirit too and bought some dragon beard candy. It was yummy, kind of like a hairy Abba Zabba. (Think hairy nougaty peanut butter crunch.) We went to a vietnamese place for lunch where dad had his first Pho, a traditional noodle soup with meat and/or veggies.
I haven't had a bite of a Beaver Tail since our friend Bob came to town in '08 and we had one in Quebec City. I just do not permit myself to have hot six dollar donuts slathered with nutella and bananas. God it was good though. If I had no self restraint, I'd have one every day. He liked it too. We were pretty tired from running around all day so we went back home and had naps and then ordered the most awesomest rotisserie chicken in town. Au Coq. Dad deemed the sauce sweet which puzzled me, I had never thought of it that way. I always think this chain would be a big hit in the states. They only serve a few things kind of like In n Out burger. The name of course would have to be changed hehe.
The next day we hiked up to Mont Ste Hilaire, a nice three mile hike with spectacular views from the top. Somewhere else on this blog you can see the views since we had forgotten to bring the camera with us. Then when we got back down to the parking area, I found my old camera in my backpack. DOH! There were actually a lot of Doh! moments mostly committed by yours truly.
When we got back to the house, Mother in law was there having a midday martini with Serge. We went over to Belles Soeurs, a nice diner place nearby where dad had crepes, Quebec style with apples and Emmenthal cheese. MIL and I had the lamb shank special with gazpacho. Yum.
Then we headed over to the botanical gardens where we learned that they are closed on Mondays. Doh! The exterior grounds were open though so we spent a good hour and a half checking things out. The tulips were pretty stunning.
Have to at least get a shot of Serge since he was with us most of the time. That evening we headed over to La Banquise, the famous place here for poutine. Serge and I had never been before so it was fun to see what all the hubbub was about. Dad had a "Mexican Poutine" which he really liked. The cheese curds are the thing that makes a poutine a poutine and these poutines were chock full. Again, yum. (Forgot the camera though, doh!)
On the last day, we tripped around town on public transit. Dad had never been on a subway in his life so he was pretty impressed. It's one thing to see it in the movies and another to ride them. We went over to the casino first and we split up agreeing to meet a half an hour later. I was happy to be thirteen bucks ahead but daddy blew me away - he had picked up a cool $140 in the same time. Winners! After that we went to the Jean Talon Market as you see in the picture. So many sights, sounds and colors, I was vicariously experiencing the city for the first time too.
One more mission, to head back downtown to pick up a couple souvenirs and to turn dad on to Montreal smoked meat. We poked our heads into Mary, Reine du Monde, the St Peter's basilica replica and oohed at its majesty.
The impressive Sun Life building is really really big.
Yay! Montreal smoked meat sandwich with poutine! (We shared it.) Eating bad is really fun. I probably wont eat this badly until I go on vacation to DC in a couple weeks hehe.
Finally, the experience we had been waiting for, a flight at skyventure Montreal, which simulates skydiving in a wind tunnel. The guys in the tunnel there are the instructors and they could dance suspended in air seemingly. We all had a blast and Serge put us all up on youtube. Me, dad and Serge. Serge and I bought the come-back-cheaper package which we need to do within four months.
Then for the final dinner, we went to my fave resto, Au Pied de Cochon and had another fabulous meal. Although we did many things, he didn't see the Biodome, Olympic stadium, Jet boating, Insectarium, Planetarium, Iles de Boucherville, Mt Tremblant, Quebec City and a dozen other things that escape me now. Plenty to do on his next visit - there will be a next wont there?
Then yesterday morning as he looked at his boarding pass for his 5:30pm flight, it said boarding at 7:10am. What? Apparently the airline had changed his reservation and now if we were supposed to make that flight we'd have to leave five minutes ago. So a bunch of stress to finish out the trip but it worked out well, he changed planes in Toronto and got home earlier than planned. All in all a ball. Thanks daddy, let's do it again sometime!