03.01.2012 - 03.01.2012 -14 °C
Tuesday 3 Jan 2012
We were up before the upstairs foot traffic and furniture movement disturbed us because we had a train to catch. Mighty cold this morning at -11 °C, so we took a taxi to the train station, rather than walking to and from bus stops. Bonus on the train this time was that we could book our big bags through instead of manhandling them up into the carriage as we’ve had to on previous occasions. It was a different style of carriage, a bit more luxurious, perhaps more for long distance travel.
It was a clear day so we had great views of the icy fields and rivers.
Colder again in Montreal at -13 °C so another taxi to the Novotel Montreal, our last accommodation before heading home. We needed to go to the Tourist Information Centre to change one of our vouchers for tickets for a tour tomorrow and walked the 500m to get there – made sure our ears and chins were covered but my eyes still watered.
The Novotel is close to Rue Saint Catherine which is the shopping district, so we spent a couple of hours cruising the shops. We went in the Eaton Centre and found it much like the Wintergarden in Brisbane – all chains and repeats of stores in the street. Plenty of cheap clothes but they are all made in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The Novotel seems very big and impersonal compared to Chateau Bellevue. There is no kettle/jug for tea making and we had a little difficulty making ourselves understood when we asked for one. What we got was a vacuum flask that is supposed to keep the water hot for 8 hours.
Because the temperature remained so low and it was a bit of a walk to the bus, we took another taxi to our dinner restaurant – a steakhouse in the old part of the city (Restaurant Du Vieux Port Montreal). The service was exemplary and the food delicious. An added bonus was our view of the street and the strange goings on in Rue St-Paul Est. First some young people in kilts ran by, then some others dressed in Viking helmets and running along inside makeshift Viking boats, then others in different costumes – Native American/Canadian, Irish green, Mexican, and white drapery with smurf-shaped hats. It seems the university students have a celebration before the next term begins, and we were seeing some of it. We felt sorry for all the bare-legged, and occasionally bare-chested, participants capering about in the cold.