Wednesday, August 15, 2012

O Canada!

Jim and his partner had a business trip to Montreal last week, so the wives tagged along. Because the lighting representative who was paying for the trip for the guys booked their flights, Jill and I had to take care of our travel arrangements separately. We were able to get on the same flights as them going out, which meant traveling from here to Chicago and then on to Montreal. Coming home they were flying through LaGuardia and Jill and I had to go through Chicago again. More on that later...

St. Joseph's
The lighting conference put us up at a hotel in downtown Montreal, and it was a great place to stay. When we arrived on Thursday we met up with everyone else in the bar for cocktails before loading up onto a bus to go to the lighting manufacturer's plant outside of town. We learned about their lighting fixtures and had a nice dinner there. Friday the guys headed off to an all day seminar so Jill and I took the hotel courtesy car (nice!) up to Oratory St. Joseph's, which is located on the top of a large hill. It has over 100 stairs to climb to get to the top. (If you are really into it, you climb on your knees so that you feel the pain and suffering of Christ.) No knee pads were provided, so we walked the steps instead. The gardens contain large statues of the Stations of the Cross, and you can also tour the basilica. It was strangely stark inside compared to other basilicas I have visited. Unfortunately the day was pretty gray so my pictures are not as good as I would have liked.

Stations of the Cross
The basilica

After all the walking and trudging up and down stairs, we found a fun little cafe in the area and stopped to have lunch. From there we walked to Mount Royal, which is a park said to be larger than Central Park and designed by the same landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. While they tell you that St. Joseph's is located in Mount Royal, that is a filthy lie. I wish I would have worn a pedometer so that I would know how many miles we actually walked to get to the park. It was a hilly road as well, so the next day in addition to blisters on my feet, my calves and shins were killing me. So much for thinking I am in shape. Anyway we walked to the overlook pavilion in the park, which is the highest point in Montreal. I'm told you can see all the way to the United States from there. I wouldn't know as the sky was so socked in I could barely see the river. The building on the grounds was pretty cool, and offered a welcome place to sit down. Following our stop we still had to hike through the park and then head down a couple hundred steps to get back to the street level and find our way to the hotel. On the plus side, it waited until we were nearly back before it began to rain.

The pavilion at Mount Royal

View from the lookout at Mount Royal

That evening the lighting company took us on a dinner river cruise. Again the view of the Montreal lights from the river is probably outstanding - unfortunately it was pouring down rain on our three hour tour. The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed...Not really, but we all sang the song anyway. Thank goodness for the glass covering. We stayed nice and dry once we were on board, and it was a fun trip anyway.

On Saturday we had an open day so the four of us along with the lighting rep and her husband toured Old Montreal. We took the Metro, which was pretty fun. They have what is called the Underground City, which is essentially a huge mall underground since their winters can be pretty harsh. Old Montreal is really interesting due to its history. Notre Dame Cathedral is beautiful and we very much enjoyed seeing all the old architecture. You definitely felt like you were in another country at that point. In case all the French didn't make you feel that way earlier. We wrapped up the day at a French Bistro, which was amazing. Sunday we headed back to the U.S. The trip home had its share of excitement, and I'll write about that in my next post.
Notre Dame

Montreal City Hall

Our Lady of the Harbor

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

I see a trend here. Whenever you are "absent" from your blogs, you are on a great vacation collecting fodder and fotos.

The tiny ship was tossed. LOL

What happened on the trip home?