Today was our third and final day in Montreal. We didn’t have any special plans today, and decided to wander aimlessly around town and take in whatever we came across – amazingly we did actually come across a few of the historic sites and attractions that had eluded us yesterday (mainly due to my map reading skills – but we’ll leave that there!) We have been fairly lucky with the weather so far, it has only rained a couple of times and even then it has only been light showers. Today was another fairly cool day but it was dry and made for a nice walk into Centre-Ville or downtown. It actually wasn’t as far as we had expected, and Montreal is such a nice city to walk around – very friendly to cyclists, students, and tourists alike.
We came across McGill University – which seemed to be made up of a collection of small but beautiful buildings spread over a large area…apparently there are more than 80 buildings covering over 80 acres! Each of the faculty buildings looks like a little house – I think the classes here must be quite small!!
We followed Rue Universite down past the BNP Tower – Laurentian Bank Tower and came across this very clever sculpture called ‘The Illuminated Crowd’. It shows a group of people who have congregated to see this light caused by a fire or an event or something and each person represents a different human emotion….
After taking in the sculpture, we moved on down to Place Ville Marie – a huge multi-functional complex comprising five office towers and a shopping centre. The shopping centre at Place Ville Marie was apparently the first phase of the ‘Underground City’ started in 1962 in preparation for Expo 67 – it now spans a total of 33km in length. This must be very handy in the winter and for escaping the snow….warm as well! Place Ville Marie is also linked to Gare Centrale or Central Station – Seio and I will be catching the Via Rail train from there tomorrow when we head off for Toronto.
Just around the corner from Place Ville Marie was a beautiful cathedral called ‘Mary Queen of the World’ – apparently inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome…the exterior was slightly marred by the construction work going on…but beautiful nonetheless.
So far we had managed to avoid any steep climbs…however I did have a sneaky feeling we had been on a descent up until this point….My suspicions were confirmed and I could have been forgiven for thinking we were in San Fransisco on the return journey to the hotel! I think the McGill University students must be very fit having to do this kind of hill climbing every day….maybe they know a shortcut??
Once we reached the top of the Rue Universite…the street plateaued and it was a nice walk through the park back home to the hotel. The old maple leaves that have already fallen from the trees have created shadow like patterns on the pavement – very pretty!
Phoned home today using one of those international calling cards. I haven’t used one of those since I was a student in Japan quite a few years ago… and they now have a 125 page book similar in size to the Argos catalogue from which to choose your card….I chose one called Bravo! Don’t ask me why…it was just where my arm got tired from flicking through all the colourful pages!
I finally made it to the phone box….it’s amazing how you can forget how to use a public phone when you’re so used to using your mobile!! I managed to get through in the end though.
Spent the rest of the evening packing in preparation for an early start tomorrow, and reading Alan Carr’s ‘Look who it is!’ laughing my socks off…very funny book!