July 27th 2001
Checking out the Old and New City of Montreal
Back to the big city..... this time no escape, everything is on French here. French? well some kind of dialect, I hardly can understand. Good that most people do speak some English as well..... Montreal is not completely like Toronto or Ottawa. It is much more a mixture. You have the Old and New city... We made a nice walking tour through both cities and were surprised by the contrasts in the city, block after block.....
We lived a bit outside the City itself, so we had to cross the river and were treated at these great scenic views. The sky line is ofcourse the new city.
We started our tour at the old city with a French breakfast in the heart of the old city; the Place Jacques Cartier, with a nice view on the City Town hall (Hotel de Ville) and surrounded by a see of flowers in the street. What a pleasant way to start the day. It truly had French atmosphere!
We continued to walk the nice little old streets, with lots of shops, artists etc. Uhhhh, not all the old streets were that nice, but I guess this belongs to older parts of town....
With ships like this, you would almost forget that this is not a sea harbor! just a river harbor....
Below the famous Basilique de Notre Dame. I have seen a lot of churches, but this one can keep up with the best !! what a beauty. The organ had a astonishing 5600 pipes ! wow.... The architect who built this church liked it so much, he converted to Catholicism to be able to stay close to it, that is true devotion, uh?
So we moved on to the skyline and glassbuildings of the new city. Did you know that the best part of town is underground? Montreal started in the 60's to built the metro and with this, the so called "underground City" become alive as well. It has now over 30km of "streets" with shopping centers, restaurants, theaters, offices banks etc. In total over 2000 !! All connected through underground tunnels and metro stations. I have never seen something like this before. I don't know whether I found this great or so, but for sure it was something DIFFERENT !!
The final challenge is climbing Mont Royal. In 1535, the pioneer Jacques Cartier, "discovered" this place at the river and climbed this mountain overlooking the riverbanks. Honoring King Franz I, he gave the mountain its current name. At that time the population was roughly 1000 people (local Indians). Just imagine, he could stay at the same spot today........ nice view, isn't it?
Never the less, there is still room enough for the friendly little chipmunks. They have adopted to city life and are really every where around. Again some interesting contrast......
Tomorrow we will do rollercoaster riding again. After all these cultural escapades, it is time for some brutal entertainment, hahaha!
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