Belvédère Léo-Ayotte

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    • Day 5

      Stärkung für den Aufstieg 🍩

      February 26 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 5 °C

      Auf die Reste meines Mittagessens hatte ich noch keinen Appetit. Dennoch wollte ich mir noch einen Snack holen, weil es auf dem Hügel nicht mehr viel Gastronomie geben würde. Maps führte mich zu einem süßen Café (vor allem die Deko war ein Traum!), in dem es nur noch einen einzigen Donut mit Erdbeerglasur in der Auslage gab. Dann sollte es der wohl werden. 😁 Nicht billig, aber größer als die bei uns und super saftig und aromatisch.😋🍩

      Bei dem Workout, das mir noch bevorstand, wurde der eh direkt wieder verbrannt.🫣
      Vor dem Aufstieg führte mich mein Weg durch einen Park, der zur McGill University gehörte: die hatte wiederum was von den Unis in England und Irland — hat etwas altehrwürdiges und ist bestimmt schön, bei gutem Wetter die Pausen im Grünen zu verbringen.

      Danach ging es aufwärts… nur im wörtlichen Sinne, weil es wahnsinnig anstrengend war und ich meine Beine ein wenig von der Skitour merkte. Aber, hilft ja alles nichts… 😬

      Der Weg war rutschig, aber mit dem ganzen Schnee wirklich schön. Die eigentliche Belohnung wartete aber oben. 😊
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    • Day 3


      November 16, 2017 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 2 °C

      We have finally arrived at our first destination, beautiful Montreal. What a contrast to arriving in LA - no queues, friendly staff and a clean airport. We are staying at the Sofitel, Golden Mile in downtown Montreal. We plan to tour the city tomorrow as it is the pick of the days for the weather. I have been awake for about 33 hours, but I still feel ok - I find it easier to just adjust to the new time zone if I go to bed the same time I normally would. Snow is predicted to fall overnight - we might wake to a white Montreal!Read more

    • Day 5

      Montreal - sightseeing #1

      November 18, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ -5 °C

      After a very good sleep in very comfortable beds (thanks Sofitel), we treated ourselves to a delicious breakfast in the hotel restaurant. The boys had an omelette and I had bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon. (I have been advised that Montreal’s bagels are superior to those of NYC - I will post my results after some further tasting!)

      The concierge suggested a 3 hour tour of the major sites of Montreal. The shuttle was late to pick us up and take us to the tour bus, so by the time we boarded we all had to sit separately. This turned out to be a good thing, as both Ian and I sat next to lovely people. I sat next to Yolanta who was visiting from Poland - she was accompanying her husband on a business trip - so while he worked she played the tourist. We chatted like we had been friends for years and she has invited us to visit her in Poland (I also invited her to give us a call if she is ever in Melbourne). Ian sat next to Sandra, who was from Toronto, and had accompanied her husband who was coaching his ice-hockey team in a regional competition. Sandra hates ice-hockey, so she too opted to do the tourist thing.

      The tour itself was pretty good as an introduction to Montreal. We visited Old Montreal, the Old Port, Notre-Dame Basilica, Chateau Ramzey, City Hall, Place Jacques Cartier, a (slow) drive along the F1 race track, McGill University, St Joseph Oratory, the Olympic Stadium, the Biosphere and the Biodome, a drive through a couple of inner city suburbs, and then a lookout at Mount Royal - where there was snow still on the ground from the snow fall overnight. That should give you an idea of how cold it is here! Very bloody cold, but we have the appropriate attire to ensure we remain comfortable and warm.
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    • Day 5

      Food in Montreal

      November 18, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ -5 °C

      As most who read this would know, the McNicol family enjoys food, and we try to be adventurous and try new and different cuisines. For breakfast I had bagels with cream cheese and salmon. Today we had lunch at Reuben's Deli and Steakhouse. I had a smoked meat sandwich, and Ian had Poutine, a local dish of French fries, cheese and gravy (also with smoked meat). Angus had a burger. It is a good thing we are walking everywhere - we need to so that we can burn off all the food we are eating.Read more

    • Day 5

      Visiting Family

      November 18, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ -2 °C

      Last night was a night of firsts - first time Ian and Angus met my aunt and uncle (Anne & Will Vandenberg), the first time Angus ate duck (Duck a la l’orange), and the first time we used Uber to get back to the hotel (as my aunt didn’t have the taxi number).

      We had a lovely evening at Anne and Will's. My aunt, who is 87 years old, cooked a delicious 3 course meal - vol au vent for entree, duck a l’orange for main, and a croquenbouche for dessert. She wanted to prepare a French inspired meal to reflect her heritage (and dishes my grandmother had taught her). We spent about five hours there - it was great to catch up on what my aunt and her family had been up to. My uncle has been diagnosed with PSP (progressive supra nuclear palsy), which is similar to Parkinson’s in some way, and affects your vision and balance and causes tremors, and there is no cure. Currently my aunt cares for him with minimal assistance, but as the disease progresses she will need to bring in a nurse to assist as she plans to keep him at home as long as possible. Will is in good spirits and coping very well with his condition, and it was nice for Anne to have company.

      The roads in Montreal are in pretty bad condition, and there is so much road works underway that the traffic is a nightmare. The trip out to my aunts that should normally take about 30 minutes took over an hour. Luckily, the Uber ride back took only 30 minutes. Always nice to catch up with family, as they are so generous and welcoming.
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    • Day 5

      Leonard Cohen and more

      November 18, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 0 °C

      This morning we headed out fairly early and walked to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see the Leonard Cohen Exhibition "A Crack In Everything". It was a very interactive and moving exhibition. I particularly enjoyed the "I’m Your Man" exhibit - a video installation which brings together a community of ardent Leonard Cohen fans to pay posthumous tribute to the late legend. Each of the eighteen individuals featured was offered the opportunity to perform and record his own version of Cohen’s comeback album, "I’m Your Man", in a professional recording studio in Montreal. The video installation also included the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir doing the album’s backing vocals. This was an all-male choir representing the Westmount congregation that Cohen belonged to all his life.

      As we left the exhibition we watched a bit of the Santa Claus Parade, before walking down to Old Montreal where we explored the cobbled streets and had a late lunch at a French Restaurant called Marche de la Villette. Here Angus and I had a croque monsieur, and Ian had a croque madame. We then walked across town to find the Leonard Cohen portrait that is on the side of a building. It took us a while to find it, but it was worth it. We also found a great little coffee place - Pigeon - best coffee so far in Montreal, even thought the sign out the front said it was the worst. (The barista said that this was to cover themselves, and was very chuffed when we said that the coffee was up to Melbourne standards.)

      Then, as we were heading back to our hotel along a very upmarket street, I noticed a store that had some lovely costume jewellery on display. It was called MUTT & JEFF. I went in to find out how much they cost, and met the designer/store owner, and so I ended sending Ian & Angus back to the hotel while I stayed to get dressed by Tom in a range of his clothes. It was a great experience, and I purchased a number of pieces. His clothes are beautiful, comfortable and so flattering. I walked out of the store feeling fabulous. On the way back to the hotel I ran into the Toronto Leafs, an ice-hockey team in town to play the Montreal Habs. I only realised who they were because of the fans waiting outside their hotel to cheer them on.

      We are going to stay in tonight as it is cold with rain and snow predicted around 9pm.
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    • Day 6

      Dinner with the Ollivier's

      November 19, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ -3 °C

      We spent a lovely afternoon and evening with my uncle, cousins and their families. We had a delicious meal prepared by Annick and dessert by Genevieve, plus great wine, lots of laughing and conversations - not always easy when some don’t speak much English and we only speak basic French, but we muddled through.Read more

    • Day 156

      Montreal und alles wird Französisch

      June 16, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Wir merkten den Wechsel sofort aus Exit wurde Ouvre aus Stop Arete - wir hatten die Grenze nach Quebec passiert. Alle Schilder wurden hauptsächlich in französisch angezeigt. Wir fuhren tiefer und tiefer in die quebecanische Fremde hinein bis und das erste Schild mit einem Wort den Weg wies: Montreal.
      Nachdem wir in Montreal vom Weg abkamen und nun keine mobilen Daten mehr zur Verfügung hatten war es ein ganz schönes Abenteuer unsere Unterkunft zu finden. Wir kamen jedoch schließlich an und machten es uns heimisch. Am nächsten Tag ging es in den Untergrund. Kanada ist für sein kaltes Wetter bekannt und Montreal dafür dieses für seine Anwohner erträglich zu machen. Es gibt in Montreal nämlich ein komplettes unterirdisches System das unter Teilen der Stadt verläuft und mit dem man, ohne an die Frischluft zu müssen, von A nach B kommt. Danach schlenderten wir noch durch den Hafen und machten uns anschließend auf den Rückweg. Hierbei liefen wir über den Markt und ein kostenloses Festival das der französischen Sprache gewidmet ist.

      Wieder "zu Hause" machten wir uns daran Spareribs zuzubereiten die wir uns zuvor gekauft hatten. Nach drei Stunden warten und hin und wieder ein wenig Arbeit genossen wir das wunderbar zarte Fleisch.

      Am nächsten Tage machten wir uns auch schon wieder auf um amerikanischen Boden unter die Füße zu bekommen.
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    • Day 6

      Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

      November 19, 2017 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 1 °C

      We woke today to the “pitter patter” of rain against our window. The forecast is for snow to start falling in about an hour (which it did), and the current temperature of 2 degrees Celsius is as warm as it’s going to get. In fact, they are saying that from 10 am the temperature will start falling, to a low of -7 degrees Celcius!


      Our plan is to visit the Museum of Fine Arts this morning, and then explore the “underground city” which comprises of over 1,000 stores and 22kms of walkways. So far our cold weather gear has done the trick, but today’s weather will be the real test.

      We had breakfast in a quaint little cafe called La Pendular just around the corner from the Museum, that also sold clocks and Stiff bears, and other animals. We then headed to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art - definitely the right weather to visit a museum. It has a wonderful collection of art work that is beautifully displayed. We saw art from modern avant-garde, Belle Époque and contemporary styles to Baroque and Rococo, Classicism to the Age of Enlightenment including a Napoleon Gallery and much more.

      We then headed to the ‘underground city’ and visited the Barbie Expo, the largest collection of Barbie dolls in the world. Afterwards, we wandered around the underground city, which just goes on and on.

      In the afternoon, my cousin Annick and my uncle Pierrot collected us from the hotel, and we headed to her place for a family dinner and to meet her kids for the first time. My cousin Genvieve and her family also joined us for dinner. It was lovely to catch up with them all and introduce Ian & Angus to the rest of my Canadien family. Ian and Angus went to watch Fred (one of Annick’s kids) play ice-hockey in an under 18's game, which Ian said was very entertaining to watch. After dinner the younger kids put on a show for us that included dancing and a range of gymnastics, all performed to music.

      Tomorrow we head for Washington DC (Trump territory but hopefully we won’t see him!) We will be heading into warmer weather, with Washington expecting a balmy 11 degrees Celsius, which is quite a jump from -7 degrees.
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    Belvédère Léo-Ayotte, Belvedere Leo-Ayotte

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