Thursday, the first week in October, we flew to Montreal, Canada. I had only been there briefly once before so I was looking forward to seeing it again. We planned our visit so we’d have two days on our own before joining a Road Scholar cruise to Quebec, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Bar Harbor, Maine, Boston, New York City, Charleston, South Carolina and ending in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was a little over two weeks of seeing new things, meeting new people and, best of all, no cooking!
I’ve always enjoyed being given a menu at each meal, whether on land or sea, and asked to order whatever I feel like eating.
Our hotel was in Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal) which was nice. Once we walked out the door, we were in the old city. The streets were all narrow and paved with cobblestones because they were built first and cars came along second. Two and three story walk up buildings rose straight toward the sky from the high narrow sidewalks. The buildings seemed to be literally squeezed into place.
We spent our first afternoon walking around to get an overview of the area. We ate dinner outside at a restaurant on Place Jacques Cartier. The weather was chilly by our standards but everyone, tourists and locals alike, was eating outside because this was the last weekend many of these restaurants would be open. The tourist season would end on Sunday. I thought that was a bit early but everyone we talked to said it had been this way for many years.
Unlike the narrow streets we had walked on to get there, Place Jacques Cartier was a very wide avenue lined with restaurants on both sides. In the center was a large grey cobblestone area filled with small tourist kiosks and street musicians.
The street musicians were very good so we picked a restaurant where we could sit outside and hear them while we ate. We quickly noticed that other people had the same idea. Every time the musicians would finish a piece, everyone in the surrounding restaurants would clap.
The sky gradually turned dark, the breeze picked up, a little rain began to fall and our street musicians packed up and left. We finished our meal, had our last sip of wine, zipped up our jackets and strolled back to the hotel having enjoyed our first lovely night in Montreal.