Friday, April 24, 2009

Day One in Montreal: Don't go back to Brockville

I am participating in a panel called Parole Pro Bono at the Blue Met in Montreal on Sunday. I jumped at the chance to go and bring R and J with me ... we had a wonderful trip three years ago when I read at the same festival with the publication of the anthology Sweet Lemons edited by my friends the writers Venera Fazio and Delia DeSantis.

The trip to Montreal was eventful (more than we wanted it to be) as we decided to drive there to save a bit of money and had a flat tire in Brockville. Luckily, we still had roadside service and the friendly tow truck driver changed the tire quickly, found a new tire for us in town and we had the problem sorted in about an hour and a half. Rob was singing "Don't go back to Brockville" to the the tune of REM's "(Don't go back to) Rockville" as we waited. I didn't realize how pretty the town was and the number of historic buildings there. The people were quite friendly.

On the road again ... we were not so lucky getting into the city during rush hour traffic as we missed our exit, ended up on the bridge out of Montreal. In the back of the car, J cheekily texted her friends saying, "I knew we were in trouble when we started to see signs for New Brunswick ..." Cheeky monkey.

We arrive in the evening at Hotel Place D'Armes (see pic above) at 55 Rue St. Jacques, steps from Notre Dame Cathedral. I love this hotel. My friend Alex, a seasoned traveller to Montreal for business, recommended it three years ago. It's elegant, situated in Old Montreal, modern, beautifully kept, not too prohibitive. It serves a lovely wine and cheese reception in the evenings in the Aix Cuisine du Terroir and offers a generous continental breakfast in the mornings in Suite 701.

We are too late for the wine and cheese but we clean up and head into Old Monteal in search of Boris Bistro at 465, rue McGill which R finds on the internet. It has a beautifully lit courtyard with trees but are told that they only serve adults. The host kindly points us in the direction of a more kid friendly restaurant down the street called Le Vallier. We had a good meal there; the venue isn't as spectacular as Boris Bistro but the food was quite good.

I glance out the window and see a horse drawn carriage. I suggest a ride and am met by a look of absolute horror on my daughter's face. It was amusing (and a little hurtful). It was like she'd rather cut off her arm than be seen in that carriage with her parents (which she readily admitted).

It was a short evening - we were all exhausted and hoping to save our resources for the next day (we would need them resources).

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