Récits d'un couple heureux à Montréal: Deuxième partie
Monday's dinner ended up being an Italian restaurant on Rue Ste. Catherine. Actually, that's oversimplifying it. Monday's dinner ended up being a long walk ouest on Rue Ste. Catherine, followed by a shorter one nord on... some random side street with a lot of pubs, I forget which... with intermittent pauses and "hmm"s as we looked at posted menus. This concluded with us finally giving up and wandering back to the Italian place on Rue Ste. Catherine that would have been a short walk had we just gone there in the first place.
Anyway. They fed us. (Twice, if you count the leftovers. I never want to stay in a hotel room without at least a fridge and a microwave, if not a full kitchen, again.) We did not die of starvation.
Tuesday was kind of a crappy day, weather-wise. Very grey and rainy and wet and yuck. (It was also a bit too warm to comfortably wear a hat and coat, but too wet not to. I hate that.) So, we did the touristy thing and ducked into the underground city. It's basically a bunch of subterranean tunnels in the form of an impromptu mall, which isn't all that exciting -- though we did discover an excellent bakery in the midst of it all, and many tasty pastries were had. It didn't take us too long to hit People Overload down there, though, so we braved the Metro and the rain and went up to Marché Jean-Talon anyway.
Marché Jean-Talon is basically a big outdoor food market. Lots of boucheries and boulangeries and fromageries and other -eries.* Being a vegetarian, Anne wasn't all that into the butcher shops, but we assembled a sampler of six or eight interesting cheeses from the two shops (along with some tasty, tasty booze -- more on that sometime later) to take back to the hotel and eat with some crackers and the aforementioned pastry products. (Actually, we purchased the pastries after the cheese, but this is my memoir and I'll eschew chronological order if I want to. I'll also say "eschew" frequently, because it's a fun word.)
After navigating the Metro and the underground back to our hotel, we were feeling damp and sore and tired and decided that we'd save other activities for better weather. (At last check, Tuesday was supposed to be the only really bad-weather day of the trip.) So we holed up in our room and ate leftovers and cheese and pastries and watched a DVD** and then some random TV before calling it a night.
I'd like to take a moment, here, and complain. In past trips north of the U.S. border, I've been pretty reliably entertained by the utter weirdness and non-FCC-safe-ness of late-night Canadian television (in English and en Français alike). For the last two nights, though, I've been sorely disappointed. Are 24 and Tripping the Rift dubbed into French really the best you can offer, guys? If so, that's just sad. What happened to the Pimp Opera sketch? The dramatic, if somewhat befuddling, readings of Victorian erotica? The pinnacle of WTFery that could only be described by Anne as "dryad porn"?
This is insufficiently wacky, people. Get with the program. You have guests to entertain and/or confuse.
Ok, back to the travelogue. Today's morning excursion, after a stop back at the underground bakery for brunch (I think I may have a pastry addiction), was to the Botanical Gardens.
On the way, we stopped by the Stade Olympique, which I'd only seen in pictures... now, I can finally say I've mocked it in person. It's kind of sad, really. It positively screams "I am an innovative structure! I am the Stadium of the Future! Gaze upon me, lesser structures, and despair!" And yet, it's sitting largely derelict (the battered sign that clearly used to read "Expos" but is now blank is a testament to that), the grounds are a bit grungy, and there's still that whole "retractable roof that only worked three times" thing.
The gardens themselves were pretty and enjoyable, despite a few problems. First of all, a more grumpy sort could have griped about paying high-season admission only to discover that most of the flowering plants had been pruned for the winter season. (Me... eh, it was still a very pretty walk, and I'm happy to donate to keeping a chunk of the city green.) Second, it was apparently Take The Shrieking Banshees To The Garden day at one of the local elementary schools. We took some circuitous routes to avoid the loudest of the hordes as best we could, and mostly succeeded. (At one point, I noted, "well, at least they're not obnoxious teenagers." Half an hour later, guess what we encountered? I should keep my big yap shut.) Third, I hit a serious energy lull after brunch and didn't really come out of it until at least halfway through the walk -- at which point, Anne claims, I passed it on to her. We had considered a trip by the Biodome afterwards, but decided to cut things short and return to the hotel for a break.
(Oh, and fourth -- I have completely and utterly failed every time I've attempted to navigate, or help Anne navigate, somewhere today. My sense of direction has been even more catastrophically bad than usual. I'm lucky I figured out how to get out of the hotel elevator.)
Which brings us to now. And Anne just woke up, so we're probably back to "where do we eat?" again. Hopefully with less walking involved this time. My feet hurt.
* Ok, I confess, I don't remember what the French word for "produce shop" is. There were a bunch of those, too.
** I bet you were expecting some romantic movie. No, actually, it was Red vs. Blue Season Four.