Tracy decided that with the kids having a PA Day (which means no school) it was time to head over and visit Montreal. Our friend Carol and her family, husband David, son Josh and daughter Lauren live there as well, so we made plans for a bit of a reunion, haven't seen them all since India, and off we went.
The train was the mode of transportation and let me tell you it is the way to go. Tasty snacks, cold beer or wine and no driving! We had a nice little section to our selves, the kids plugged into the Wi-Fi and it was all good! The trip was about 5 and 1/2 hours which is about the same as if you drive but did I mention they have cold beer on the train!
We arrived around 10:00pm and headed off to find our B&B as well as a place to eat. The downside to train travel, if there is a downside, is that the snacks are expensive and not very big, translated the kids were starving! We found a super nice neighborhood restaurant which had just about anything you wanted. Billy, whom you may know is now a Greek food addict, had to have a gyros - as you can see he was in heaven! We finished up dinner and fell into bed exhausted.
Friday we headed out via the subway to explore the bio-sphere, the insectarium, the planetarium and the old Olympic stadium. The kids were skeptical but given no choice we ready to practice their French, well their limited French. The bio-sphere was really cool a sort of fully enclosed tropical rain forest type thing. We saw tons of animals, walked through a forest that got me seriously home sick for deer season, it smelled just like the north woods, awesome. We even saw a gigantic Gueenne pig, the thing that made our skin crawl when we were in Costa Rica a couple of years ago, it was huge and made the most blood curdling noise, prehistoric (a Capaybara)! The insectarium was sort of a let down but there were several really crazy looking gigantic cock roach looking things from Indonesia that I hope were not present whilst we slept in India, Ode to a hard freeze comes to mind!
The planetarium was unbelievable and Tracy & Billy just geeked out. Way way cool. The stadium was not accessible while we were there so we headed back to the condo and met Carol and her daughter Lauren for dinner. They were shocked at how big the kids were and they took us to this awesome Latin walk in dive of a place that has seriously 'shut the front door' good food! Chorizo tacos, fresh salsa and guac, you gotta eat here!
Saturday we headed out to tour Old Montreal, think cobblestone streets, narrow roadways, coffee shops, small cafes, art galleries ...a real European feel, artsy. The kids were in awe of Notre Dame cathedral, it was stunning. The actually sat still and listened during the tour and even places a few loony's in the collection basket and we lit candles and said a prayer, religious experience. We wandered around the little village (if you will) and then headed into the science museum, and the had reciprocity with their sister museum in Toronto, one where we belong so bingo a freebie! There were several great interactive stations where we made a balloon body suit, made up scary stories to be told around a campfire and the kids even got to levitate, how fun is that! Dinner was at the crazy good Greek restaurant, Billy was in heaven - again, we meet Carol and her husband David, we did not get to see Josh, bummer. David and Carol both drove so they gave us a ride back to our place an a tour on Mount Royal and a trip to the Montreal Bagel factory, which is awesome. The make the bagels and cook them in a wood burning oven, and soak the bagels in a honey water mixture that makes them both super moist and crunchy at the same time, foodie in me was in awe. AND, it operates 24/7. Crazy talk!
Sunday we had those bagels and coffee and then headed back to the subway - to the train - to the Toronto subway - to walk home, rather urban of us don't you think!?! Montreal was a blast and we will definitely make a return trip, OUIOUI Mercie! Kay was definitely done :)