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August 14 – Montreal

OK – we are leaving tomorrow and should arrive in Trois Rivieres sometime in the afternoon. I need a day of rest! Montreal is exhausting, especially after the great Bixi biki experiment!

We left at 8:00 this morning and collected a couple of Bixi bikes. Dennis drove off at great speed (why?) and I struggled behind, thinking that I must be very tired. I finally realized that my bike had a flat tire (no wonder I had to push so hard) so at the next station, I switched bikes for a better one.

We drove on the bike path towards Mount Royal and were in good company. There were hundreds of people riding their bikes, so it was a good thing that we had our own safe bike lane. Most people were dressed in business clothes.

We eventually got to the bottom of Mount Royal and were going to turn our bikes in and walk up to the top but the station was full of bikes. This was a good thing because it is a long way up! We drove and drove up the mountain (hill?) and it just about did us in as the Bixi bikes only have three gears and probably aren’t made for hills! We finally reached the top of Mount Royal and were glad that we got to the top as the view is spectacular. I am including a picture of the Bixi bike just to prove that we did this.

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Our way down the hill was pretty fun until I took a wrong turn so we lost the path and ended up in a residential area that was very steep. I started going down the hill and my brakes kept making this horrendous noise. I decided to walk for a while because I was worried that the brakes would give out! Dennis volunteered to switch bikes (we were very hungry by then as we had not had breakfast) so he was motivated to finish the ride. So, when he went down the hill, the brakes screeched too but he continued on. Meanwhile, I was braking as hard as I could with his bike and got down the hill in one piece.

We eventually found a station and turned in the bikes and went to Paris Crepes for breakfast. It was delicious! We walked the rest of the way back to the boat, along Rue Saint Catherine.

That was the end of the Bixi bike experiment. I think I would recommend the bike for riding along the canal but not for Mount Royal!

I have included a couple of pictures – one is of the boat from the quay beside it.

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I also had to include the picture of the boat that the local ducks have adopted. I don’t think the owner is very happy with them!

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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

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August 13 – Montreal

Well, we are still in Montreal and have decided to stay one more day so we will be leaving Wednesday morning for Trois Rivieres. Montreal is a lot of fun – there is so much to do!

We started off by bike riding – Dennis rented a Bixi bike – that is the famous bike rental program that Montreal has. Here is their website. https://montreal.bixi.com/

We rode over to the site of Expo 67. I was there in 1967 but none of it looked familiar!

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After bike riding, we took the metro up to the Jean Talon market. If you ever go to Montreal, you need to go there for the fruit and vegetables! What a great selection – everything was so fresh and they had all sorts of samples of fruit to try – nectarines, peaches, cantalope…
We bought supper for tonight and also bought some dark chocolate with blueberries. This was recommended by one the of workers at the marina – it was very good.

I had to include this picture today – I think that this would be the perfect occupation. You get lots of exercise and enjoy the company of dogs without having to be responsible for them all the time.

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I also took some pictures of old Montreal last night. The first picture is of the Maisoneuve statue.

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The second picture is of Cathedral Notre Dame. If you look closely at a speck of green, you will notice who it is!

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That is all the news to report today. Tomorrow, we are going to bike to Mont Royal and also will look for authentic bagels.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

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August 12 – Montreal

Our second day of visiting Montreal has been excellent. We took the metro to the Atwater Market. Of course I figured I knew better and got us off at the wrong stop so we walked for quite a distance, actually passing the metro station that we were supposed to get off at. Oh well, we needed the exercise – we had to wear off yesterday’s poutine!

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We wandered around and eventually bought some bread (excellent!), lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and sausage. We will have this for supper tonight. (We have had enough poutine!)

Our marina, Port d’Escale, is right downtown old Montreal, so all we have to do is get off the boat and walk up the ramp. Here are a couple of pictures. The first one is of a mime – he had a sign out and it said, “Coin Operated”. He stood on his little stage until someone dropped some money into the container. I gave him a toonie and he played a song with his accordion. It was fun to watch!

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The next pictures are of old Montreal. Very pretty city!

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This afternoon, I went biking. According to the Montreal cycling map, there are over 350 km of trails. I cycled down along the old canal. The path was paved and once I got out of the congested area of downtown, it was easy riding. Now, there were some cyclists who rode like they were in the Tour de France, but the majority of riders rode at a normal speed. Here is a link to the cycling paths.

If you want to rent a bike, there is the Bixi bike program running in the city. Dennis might do that tomorrow.

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We are having a lot of fun here – I would definitely recommend Montreal as a stop for anyone!

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

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August 11 – Montreal

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Here is a picture of our last lock! We are now free to float out to the Atlantic if we want (maybe next year…).
When we woke up this morning, I checked on the horses and they were still down by the river. They weren’t tied up so who knows why they were still there.
We left at 8:00 and did the last two locks without any problems.

20120811-181114.jpg I thought that I had better include the highway sign as we won’t see that again!
The last 15 kilometres or so to Montreal is actually a canal so that the Lachine rapids can be avoided. You can’t see much though, just glimpses of the skyline so when we rounded the corner and approached Ile Saint-Helene, we got our first good look.

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The most exciting part of the day was when we went past the island and went on the other side of it to get to the marina. The current was very strong and our progress slowed considerably. Dennis had the engine almost wide open and we were only doing 2 knots (we would usually be doing 6-7). It seemed like it would take forever to get to the marina! The water was very turbulent and I was worried that we would be pushed around. The Split Crow made it though and as we passed the monument to sailors (of all things!), the current stopped and we eased into old Montreal.

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We called Port d’Escale on the radio and the lady told us to put our fenders on our port side. They were already rigged for starboard so Dennis had to go and change them as well as the lines. We spotted the attendant and he pointed out the slip. We could see that we needed to switch everything to the starboard side, so while I did circles in the marina, Dennis switched the fenders and lines again (he was not pleased!).
We eventually got tied up without too much trouble and spent the afternoon wandering around old Montreal. What a difference from Toronto! Lots of shops, restaurants, entertainment, street vendors and horses right at our doorstep. We sampled poutine (ha!) and tonight we are going down rue St. Catherine for supper. So far, so good!

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Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

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