100 Things I Love About Montreal: Underground

Reader, As the saying goes, I’ve saved the Best for last. My visit to Underground Montreal took place on my last full day in the Beautiful city.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I had read the promo pamphlets during my first days in the Beautiful city, but avoided going into any of the numerous doors throughout downtown Montreal marked Underground.

I wanted to devote an entire day to this experience. Having visited the likes of U.S underground cities in ATL, Albany, NY and Crystal City, VA the prospect of seeing the world’s largest known subterranean complex was something I wanted to savor.

Montreal’s Underground was built to accommodate residents and visitors during the harsh winter months with its significant snowfalls and cold temperatures.

Multiple shopping strips and office blocks are connected by walkways and rail. Numerous entry points can be found at ground level and via Metro stations.

The temperature on my last full day in Beautiful city was nearing the Hades point. For some reason, mother nature (or the global warming gods) had  decided to backdrop the second week of the Jazz festival with a once in 60 years heat wave.

By noon, the temperature was an earth scorching 95 degrees. I put on my scantiest travel garments and headed for the Underground.

When I descended the curved staircase near the Marriott on Rue Peele, I literally heard birds singing and harps playing. Actually, it was the thrilling sounds of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from a pair of Street musicians that greeted me as I descended the clean, shiny,  polished stairs.

I was speechless. In front of me stretched miles of shops, businesses, Eateries, did I say Eateries, all within a well lit, air conditioned, cheery, clean, dang near sparkling version of Oz.

Words failed to capture the feeling I had as I glided down the corridors of Undergound Montreal.

So Reader, I will put away my Thesaurus and let your eyes feast on a few of  the wonderful sights of Underground Montreal…Voila…

Are you booking your airfare? Amtrak? Greyhound? yet…See you there in September!

Love and Light.   Comments always welcomed and don’t forget to

 

100 Things I Love About Montreal pt. 4/5…The People!!!

 

Reader, or soon to be Traveler to Montreal, of all the things I loved about our Neighbor to the North, the people literally ran away with my Heart.  Warm, Smiling, Vivacious, Joyous, Happy, Delighted, Merry…they were all that and a bag of chips…(African American slang for Fantastic).

Standing on a street corner…la rue.. looking at the signs..le metro, la bouche de metro, l’arret de bus… trying to decide if I’m going left/right/ Sideways…oh no, that’s a movie…Pardon, Miss do you need directions?

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Checking into the Residence Inn, tired, sweaty, in need of food/shower/a bed… after an unexpected 12 hour bumpy what-happened-to-the-Express Amtrak train ride...

Oh Miss Linda do not worry, Everything is ready for you…your requested lower floor room, one key or two, do you have bags, Ah you are traveling light. Would you like  a bottle of  cool water. And Welcome to.. .L’hotel de Marriott!

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Welcome to the Marriott! Special Thanks to Sylvain, Veronique, Nick and Karine! You represent Marriott proudly!

H&M, Simon, Aveeda, Ecco, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Everything for 9.99 and More…High end and low retail grace the streets of Downtown Montreal…like a virtual shopper’s Paradise.  Let the Retail Therapy Begin!

Saleswomen/ men greet you first with a smile and cheerful Bonjour. And if they see the dreaded stranger-in-strange land look, the greeting instantly turns into Hello! How can I help you? Crisis averted.

Pretty, thin, polymer yellowish green CAD$ in Hand... Wait, You mean if I give you $100 US dollars, you will give me $125 Canadian dollars back.  Where do I sign? And don’t worry plastic users  Visa/ Mastercard/AMEX wherever you see the Plus sign are accepted in Canada too.

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Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?… petite dejeuner, No problem….Interwoven into Downtown Montreal are numerous restaurants many with beautiful  flower decked outdoor cafes, offering a veritable smorsgabord of food from around the world and their own hometown specialties…

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All Foodies know, the best food is where the locals go. In search of lunch on my second day, I heard the roar of the crowd literally coming from a small nondescript building.  When I peered inside I saw the  quaint tiny restaurant was packed to the gills with Citizens/Visitors all gazing at the overhead screen cheering on their favorite World Cup team. 

Bingo!  I was seated at a small table next to a larger one that seemed to be occupied by an entire family.  Their bowls of soupe and chicken salade sat untouched as they gazed reverently, intently at the players on the screen.

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One night after a heady jazz filled, dancing-at-the front-of the-stage kinda night, I took the 5 minute Metro ride back to my hotel.  It was close to midnight, and the cool night air beckoned me to linger outside and enjoy more of Montreal. I passed by an outdoor café near the hotel.

The menu was intriguing  but I was in search of a glass of wine to top off my evening.  When I sat at one of the very French curbside tables, a neatly dressed server immediately appeared and greeted me with a tall glass of perfectly chilled clear water. When I asked about the wine list, she said there was none but what wine did I want. Rose, I replied.  Glass or bottle?  she smiled. I smiled back…. A glass or two.  She returned with a goblet filled with a generous pour of the most heavenly rose.

 

By day 3, I was convinced Le Gouvernement had issued an edict to all Montreal Citizens to be extra friendly, kind, helpful, courteous, cordial to any guest who was visiting their beautiful province.  But NO such edict had been issued.  It is just their natural, humanity conscious way… our neighbors to the North. People matter. All People.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Immigrants: Haitians, Africans, Asians, Latinos, Middle Easterners, and more. all co exist peacefully and happily.  Eyad, a smiling taxi driver from Pakistan who took me on my final ride through the streets of Montreal said he and his family absolutely loved living there. And, of course, they missed their original home, but  Montreal is were they want to be.

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The LGBT community proudly displays its rainbow flag at the entrance to their community. Confused by this at first( me and a handful of liberal passengers looked questioningly…What? Are they on display.. When the double decker tour bus driver quickly announced Le Village Gai was a renowned place. And that Montreal is one of the few cities in the world to thoroughly embrace their LGBT communities. Smiles. Sighs. Nodding heads…Click click of  camera followed. Rebellion Against the MAn averted.

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I will leave you with a few  more pictures of the People of Montreal.  Please enjoy them as I have. And don’t forget the most picturesque Fall leaves can be seen on the roads leading to Montreal. Who knows I may see you there…September borne.

Love and Light.  Merci Beaucoup. And as Always, Please feel free to Comment/Share and Follow… My Blog

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Sabrina Cosmetic genius
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Apple Store Guru
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Street musicians
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The cell phone charging station ladies
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Girls Nite out at the Jazz Festival
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Even Mickey Ds was there
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At the Canada Greyhound, I complimented Cynthia’s earrings and she  gave them to me…just because!
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Bonjour! and Bon Soir! . (Final segment: Underground Montreal next week)

 

 

 

 

100 Things I Love About Montreal Pt 2

The ten day Festival International De Jazz De Montreal held the last week of June and first week of July is one of the oldest and certainly finest of all International Jazz concerts.  This year’s 39th Jazz festival featured over 150 indoor concerts and 100 free outdoor concerts including Jazz greats and promising next generation artists.

Yes, you read it right…FREE.  The indoor concerts were ticketed but prices were reasonable allowing the jazz lover to attend a number of free and ticketed events.

Dr. Lonnie Liston Smith (with sax great Chris Potter), Seal, Herbie Hancock, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Chris Botti, Al Di Meola, Renee Lee Octet, Dominique Fils-Aime, Jethro Tull, Bela Fleck, Boz Scaggs, Terence Blanchard, Leslie Odom, were just some of the 150 jazz illuminaries jamming  in venues that ranged from concert halls to intimate clubs.

The outdoor venue was a centralized location a few  blocks from downtown Montreal which could be reached easily by walking, Metro, cab, bike or bus.  Many of the outdoor concerts boasted large stages with seating either in the adjacent area or nearby cafés that had been erected for the event.

Food was available from established  Montreal eateries, vendors, and specially built   Bistros.  Every palate could be satiated by the sights, smells and taste of food choices from around the globe… from Fettucini with pesto to bison burgers  to homemade frites with fresh guacamole and salsa.

Wine/beer/liquor vendors were plentiful and served generous pours and refills.  Additionally, the main Outdoor venue was staffed with friendly folk ready to answer any question a non French speaker might have.. where is the charging station for my dead cell phone …. I have a map but where did you say Club Jazz Casino was?

Most impressive was the accommodations for families with play areas including water spouts…many adults took advantage of that as well… game tents, animation zones, and  areas of grass/seats that kept even the youngest concert goer happy.

The concerts were scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to the wee hours of the morning.  Warm balmy weather with clear blue skies made the event picture perfect. On a scale of 1-10, the Montreal Jazz festival is easily a 100! Check out some of the sights and I guarantee you will be making plans to attend next year…I know I am!

Bon Soir!

Comments Welcome.  A Special Thanks to the Always Friendly Helpful Canadians pictured here!