What a trip. We are finally home. I couldn’t blog as planned throughout the trip due to the fact that the internet was down which made a ton of things annoying. The apartment we stayed at was nice and simple, located near the train and the Jean Talon market. We were right in the heart of “Little Italy,” which didn’t seem to have a plethora of Italian restaurants or anything like that. To be fair, we didn’t have the internet so we had to discover most thing by foot or from a 5 year old Montreal tour book. The Jean Talon market did, however, have a giant market with fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and breads. There was also a ton of cafes in the area of all kinds, from the small rustic Italian cafe with the old regulars sitting out front, to the slightly more “indie” type with hipsters and trendy students reading their literature. There was a place for everyone to go which was very nice.
|We had this little terrace overlooking a nice little garden out back, but it was really close to the neighbor’s window so neither of us were comfortable sitting out there. Sort of odd, but still beautiful back there.|
When we first arrived, we had a lot of interaction with the person that rented us the apartment, David. He was very helpful in telling us places to go that would suit us and our personalities. He informed us of the big public protest that would be occurring every night from the students. Apparently over the next few years, the government would be raising tuition by 80% so thousands of people have been protesting, banging drums and pots and pans, and expressing their opinions both verbally and through art during these gatherings. He then told us about how his tuition is about $2,000 a semester which to us here in the States, is about the cost of our books. It was tough for me to feel for their cause, but it was really impressive to see the public come together like that. There were people of all ages participating. I sometimes think that if the people here could band together like this for important things, that certain things could be different. Or would they?
David also told us that the government made protesting illegal but that didn’t seem to stop things. In the beginning the police would just tear gas everyone, but that had stopped also. Now it seemed as if they just let the people gather without any violent resistance. Another thing about the government that amazed me, was that the wine and liqueur was sold to the pubic through government run stores called “SAQ.” From the people we spoke with on our trip, every business that tries to sell these products has to go through an insane amount of hoopla, it sounded pretty terrible.
The first few days in Montreal. Nicole and I did our usual routine which consisted of walking an insane amount, to the point where our bodies started to break down. Nasty blisters and shin splints didn’t stop us though. We were able to see so much this way, and everything we saw was beautiful.
We started by walking to Old Montreal which was about 3 miles from our apartment. This part of Montreal was my favorite. It is a tourist spot, but it didn’t matter. Nicole and I love looking at old architecture and these buildings, along with their cobblestone walkways and alleys, were really amazing. One of the most impressive things that we saw while in Old Montreal, was the Notre Dame Basilica. I had never been to a church this beautiful before so it was unlike anything I had ever seen. The art, sculpture, and detail on the walls and ceiling were incredible. I never would have thought I’d be interested in going to just look at an old church, but it was breathtaking. Something you could never convey in pictures (even though we tried to in the pictures below).
On the next day there, Nicole and I climbed Mount Royal in Mount Royal Park. It consisted of a somewhat grueling walk up trails and stairs to reach the top which overlooked the entire city of Montreal. It was a fantastic site to see. It also may have not seemed as ridiculously difficult if we hadn’t overdone it the day before, because we were already in a lot of pain at this point.
I’ll have more on the trip throughout the week as there is too much to cover in just one post.