Jun 10, 2008

Day 11 - Montreal

We didn't have to get up early today since Jennifer, Teruko's old English teacher, was picking up us from the hotel at 10AM. Following the downfall we had last night, the sky is packed with cloud throughout.

Teruko and I met Jennifer in our hotel lobby, and they were so delighted to be reunited. While the excitement of reunion continued, we headed straight to Eggspectation, a restaurant specialised in dishes with eggs, for brunch. Teruko was going on about this place so much for a long time, so I was looking forward to a good breakfast here, and I was not disappointed. Apparently, this restaurant has branches only in Montreal. On one hand it is a shame that this kind of place is only available in one place, on the other hand it is good that such a good meal can only be found in one city, and that a company seems uninterested in branching out to other cities or parts of the world for more money. We chatted about pretty much everything, while munching away, and 1.5hrs went by so quickly.

Once we finished our brunch, Jennifer took us to the hill where we could oversee almost the entire city of Montreal. Although the sky was not clear, it was so refreshing to be out on top of a hill with a nice view of the city. Then we went to the Saint Joseph's Oratory where the story is that people with problems of all sorts such as health, family, work, etc, went there and after that some miracle happened and their problems were resolved. Clearly, I am not sure if the story is true or not, but one thing I can say is that the founder Brother Andre played an instrumental role in helping many people in the city of Montreal in the 19th and 20th century, and it is summarised in plain text by the fact that even the Pope visited the Oratory after he passed away.

As soon as we left the Oratory, the sun started coming out and it started getting really hot and humid. As much as I am from a country where hot weather and humidity is part and parcel in the summer, I still don't like humidity. We went for a drive towards the other side of the city, opposite the Port Montreal. This is where the Formula One was held, and there were still lots of people coming in and out and everything set up for the event was still there. It was a little bit hazy, but we got a pretty view of the main parts of Montreal.

As we were about to say goodbye to Jennifer, she says she would like to give Teruko a present. She drove us to HMV where she bought a DVD of one of Teruko's favorite films that they used during their lessons. Teruko was clearly over the moon since the film has a great memory of the time she spent while studying in Montreal. It was so nice of Jennifer to take us around while she is pregnant. I was really pleased to see Jennifer who played an important role in Teruko's life in Canada a few years back.

After saying goodbye to Jennifer, we continued with our 'walking in the town'. After walking through the Old Montreal again, we walked all the way St. Cathrine's Street, which was cut short yesterday. Although this is a busy street with full of shops, it still feels very much European. Our legs started feeling the amount of walk we had since we started our trip. We decided to give us a bit of a rest with a couple of stops at a coffee shop during the walk.

For some bizarre reason, we craved for food that is refreshing, possibly sushi. Somehow Teruko remembered this Japanese restaurant, Takara, just off the street she went while she was living in this town. Although she did not remember where it was, I managed to find it, which meant that we ended up having fine sushi made by a proper Japanese sushi chef. I decided to treat Teruko with this dinner, and the sushi was really authentic and delicious.

Once we re-energised ourselves, we went outside straightaway for a sunset and evening views of the city. The McGill University, which is right in the middle of the downtown Montreal, has some impressive buildings and we took some interesting sunset photos within the premises.

We then, of course, went to the Old Montreal for wandering around and some photoshooting. This part of the city is as pretty as it is during the day. Again, my new camera showed some strong performance in letting me take some powerful and dynamic photos of the town. I am really beginning to like this camera. I just hope that this camera will continue to function since it hit the ground once yesterday because a strong wind while on a tripod.

After we absorbed so much of this city, it was already after 10.30PM, which meant that we had no time for laundry. We came back to the hotel and, after drinking tons of fruit juice we grabbed from supermarket yesterday, it was time for packing up as we are leaving this pretty town tomorrow.

I must say I really enjoyed Montreal. I am not sure if there are lots of things to do here, but this is a city that I would be very much happy to walk around. I could see why Teruko likes this town so much.

This is the end of the Canadian part of our trip. We wish we could continue with more of Canada, such as Quebec City, but I think that we covered some key parts of Canada that we really needed to to get the feel of this country.

Tomorrow, we are leaving not only Montreal but also Canada, and entering the United States.

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