Last Monday Caitlin and Kaitlynn took a day trip to Montreal with three main objectives; preview the World Cup Course at Mount Royal Park, enjoy a touristy afternoon in the Old Town, and pick up Susan from the airport. Side goals included, but were not limited to, finding the Mount Royal self-guided bird feeder tour, eating some tasty food, and not getting too terribly lost.
We hit the road around 8:30am and navigated our way to Mount Royal with only a few wrong turns and one moment of panic when Kaitlynn had Caitlin get off at the wrong exit which led us into a tunnel going strait under the city…
Once at Mount Royal we headed off onto the trails with a somewhat accurate idea of where the course might go. After skiing about half of what we thought was a 13k loop we realized that the course was actually only a little over 3k… The trails in the park ranged from fairly wide double-tracked roads to quite narrow snowshoe paths, which we did try skiing on only to came nose-to-nose with a fat-bike unicyclist.
Towards the end of our ski we came across a large stone building with a fantastic view of the city. We think the course circumnavigates the building.
We had almost given up hope of finding any bird feeders, although we had found many bird houses, and had started skiing back to the van when we came across one! For anyone interested, we saw quite a few Black-capped Chickadees, some White-breasted Nuthatches, and many fat squirrels.
Our ski-outing and trail-scouting complete, we navigated back down into the Old Town section of the city to find a parking spot. It ended up being in somewhat of an art gallery district, and we wandered in and out of a few galleries and shops, walked down to the waterfront, and meandered through the city streets to the Notre-Dame Basilica. For a blue sky day, it got surprisingly cold in the later afternoon, and we paused for a welcome cup of tea before resuming our walk. (After all, what would we two do without our three cups of tea a day!?) Five o’clock found us getting particularly hungry, so we popped in to a low-key pub-style restaurant along Rue St. Denis. Although the food took a little while and we were ravenous by the time it arrived, it was definitely worth it. We agreed that if we’d been in the US, a place with that ambiance would most likely have served iceberg lettuce, greasy burgers, toasted white bread, but instead we were treated to leafy greens and crusty baguettes!
After our few hours in Old Town, we were off to pick up Susan at the airport! One of at least three airports near the city, we were headed to Pierre Trudeau International airport, taking care not to exit the highway for any of the other airports. Throughout our day, we were navigating “old school” style, using maps and written directions, because neither of us had phones that work in Canada, or GPS units! Caitlin primarily drove while Kaitlynn manned the maps, both working to keep up with the rapid-fire highway signs and numerous intersections in the city. It also took us a little while to guess our way over to the highway, especially while being attentive to the fact that many streets are one-way, and that information was missing from our map. We felt like the Night Bus from Harry Potter as we squeezed our sprinter van down many narrow, one-way, cobbled streets with cars parked on both sides. Upon arriving at the airport, we were pretty sure Susan had been on the ground for a while, and we needed to make contact with her, so Kaitlynn hopped out of the van at the airport to connect to wifi and find Susan. Meanwhile Caitlin thought it would be most sensible to take a short loop around the airport with the van and return to the pick-up area rather than waiting, in case the parking attendants were strict. Several miles later down the highway, having missed the turn to loop the airport, with no idea how to turn around and no passenger-navigator, it seemed like the waiting option would have been more sensible. But she finally got off the highway, found a way under it, and found her way back to the airport, perfect timing to find Susan and Kaitlynn ready to be picked up! It was great to catch up with Susan on the drive back, it definitely helped the time pass more quickly, and before we knew it, our adventure was over and we were back at the house in Craftsbury!