Last night Simon and I left Ottawa and took the train two hours North East to Montreal. Along the way we practiced a little french as once you cross the border from Ontario to Quebec engish becomes the second language. A friendly train guard assurred us the the main thing to remember is Bonjour, Merci, Excusez-moi and si vous plais. Hello, thank you, excuse me and please.
Armed with our four words of French we got up this morning to explore the Downtown area of Montreal. Running through the middle is Rue Catherine, a long thoroughfare lined with shops, nightclubs, fast food and pizza shops. Along our walk we came across the cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde (Mary Queen of the World Cathedral), a replica of the St Peter’s Basilica in Rome built at one quarter the size. The interior was splendid with high ceilings disappearing into three large domes. Given its size I am eagerly anticipating our visit to Rome to see the Basilica four times it size! I am sure you have noticed the influx in the number of churches in our travels. These older cities are full of them and some are among the oldest buidling ins the city, many dating back to the 1800’s.
We also tackled the walk up Mount Royal for a far reaching view of Montreal. It wasn’t that high – only 250 steps and a bit of a hill. My legs are still sore but it was worth it to get this view.
In the evening it was time to join our fellow travellers from the hostel (including Leah, the friendly German traveller who helped us find the hostel in Ottawa) to explore some of Montreal’s bars. Many of the places where mere holes in the wall and without being shown by our local guide we would never have found them. The 2am bed time is going to make tomorrow’s sightseeing a little more difficult but we could come to Montreal and not play up a little!