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Trip Report Long Report for Long Weekend in Montreal

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DH and I spent Thursday 11/10 - Sunday 11/13 in Montreal for our anniversary. It was our 1st time there and we both loved the city. We stayed in a nice studio apartment rented through VRBO that was close to both the Beaudry and Papineau metro stations yet on a very quiet side street. It included parking so we left our car for the weekend.

When we arrived on Thursday after driving from MA, it was raining and cold. A quick walk to the SAQ and a local grocerette for provisions, then we settled in. No sightseeing in the rain and dark but we did walk to Kitchenette on Rue Rene Levesque for dinner. What a lovely place. Very welcoming on a miserable night. The one waitress and one waitstaff trainee were quite busy but attentive. My meal, braised shortribs with mashed potatoes and haricot verts, was fabulous. DH had halibut which was good but rested on a bed of crispy kale with a sort of marshmallow sweet potato mash. Hubby was marginally horrified but remained a good sport.

Friday dawned sunny and chilly. We started walking after breakfast, provided by the VRBO owner (he provided a different delicious breakfast daily along with water, beer, wine, soda, etc.). I should have worn my pedometer. We must have walked 10 miles. All around Vieux Montreal and the Old Port checking out construction projects along the way. DH's fascination since he's in the business. There is a huge amount of construction taking place in Montreal and the environs. I hope the economy is as booming as that would indicate. Anyway, after lunch at Papillon (great service, good food) we asked someone about getting to the casino. Figured out how to get a 3 day Metro pass and we were on our way. Little did we know that we would be walking a good deal more after getting to the island Metro stop, crossing the bridge, and hiking endlessly through the deserted park to the rear of the casino. The casino is undergoing construction like everything else and seemed abandoned from the entrances that we first encountered. Finally found a door that had a few smokers loitering outside and went it. It was surreal. From the deathly quiet, windblown pathways to a cacophony of sound and lights! There must have been a couple of thousand people in there. 1st stop was the closest bar for a cold beer. The drinks are not free and not even cheap at this casino. You are also not allowed to drink on the gambling floor. The only Blackjack tables that had room were minimum $50. Too rich for our blood. We dropped around $60 playing the poker machines and left by cab! Stopped at the store for some snacks and couldn't even work up the energy to go out for supper.

Saturday was another decent day. Just a small amount of rain. We took the Metro from Papineau to the Biodome/Olympic Stadium. The Biodome was pretty interesting and the architecture at the Stadium was amazing. Back to Berri Station (the main hub) and we decided to head to the Plateau. We wandered around there for a while taking in the houses and churches. There were lines for all the restaurants so we hopped back on the Metro to McGill and the underground malls. We're not really shoppers but it was fun just to say we'd been to that vast busy area. The streets were quite pretty already decorated for Christmas. We had a couple beers and appetizers at the Brewery chain whose name escapes me. Escargots again along with something else. We had escargots at every meal but breakfast. We ordered the blonde brew. DH liked it. I thought it tasted like wallpaper paste. So next I tried the white brew. Tasted like cloudy wallpaper paste. Oh well, I guess I'm not cut out to be a beer connisseur.

We headed back to our little apartment to take a breather and made reservations for the Vieux Montreal Steakhouse. DH's pick. Took the Metro there and had a mixed bag of a meal but the night was pleasant and we wandered back stopping at various bars along the way. Bought some souvenirs for the kids and grandkids.

We were up and out by 9:00 on Sunday. A long wait at the border on the way home. They had a drug (bomb?) sniffing dog which gave me a small moment of panic thinking about when the last time I lent my car to my young adult sons. Whew! Back in the US without incident.

A couple of thoughts, nearly everyone was unfailingly friendly and accommodating to our pitiful French. The food was great. I loved the whole vibe and want to go back in the warmer months when there are things going on. The Metro was clean, quick, and had lots of trains. The VRBO rental was perfect. The drive from Mass was pretty in NH and Vermont but otherwise fairly boring and uneventful. All in all a great weekend in a great city.

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