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.
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
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 anda 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?
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!
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
Comments Welcome. A Special Thanks to the Always Friendly Helpful Canadians pictured here!
Bonjour Mes Ami! (French spell check app not working)
As some of you astute, eagle eyed Readers discovered, my July adventure found me in none other than the Exquisite Jewel of a Neighbor north of us Montreal, Canada!
My raison d’etre or reason for traveling in the heat wave of 2018 to this glorious, heaven on earth, 6 hours from NY, respite from twitterization of the US government ( did I say that…please don’t detain me at the Border …. City can be summed up in one word :JAZZ!
However, Little did this starry eyed music seeking, Foodie searching, Adventurer know that she would discover some of the world’s finest jazz and so, so much more!
Five days was hardly enough time to capture the richness and beautifulness (not a word) of this gentle, world class, forward thinking/acting home to champions of all men/women!
Lest, I start sounding like a commercial, I will let the pictures and a few words that follow tell this Tale.
Set your pilot on automatic ( Flyboy, Welcome Home And Thank You for Your Service!) and Readers enjoy the ride.
As always, feel free to comment/share/ click follow/ send cash…hell iola, I’m broke now!
(Note: This post will continue over a few weeks of the summer until I have posted all the 💯 reasons. My use of The French language is gratuitous and in no way reflects on the years of study at Jacox Jr High; Maury High, Los Angeles City College and Big Blue ODU.
Dang, all that and she still can’t hold a conversation beyond bonjour, merci, Bien, Bon! Mais oui, Voulez vous…What Patti LaBelle sang…
Reader, I know you are probably growing weary of these teasers. Here are some visuals that hopefully will keep you entertained until I am back at my Computer.
Day 3….Hmm is that a French pastry and espresso….from a foreign land or right down the street? And what does that dress say…au revoir…translation app, please… Lawdy,What is she up to this time?
Stay tuned Summer Adventure Blog is a mere 5 days away. In the meantime enjoy your illegal fireworks!
Liberal Lin is on the move seeking yet another Adventure…a girlfriends’ trip to a foreign land? Backpacking through the mountains? Frolicking on a white sandy beach? Cruising on an Italian yacht? Stay tuned…and as always thanks for the Journey! Happy born day Cancers!
It’s 4 a.m. and I am making my way down the strip in LV searching for a cvs that the casino security guard assured me was in walking distance. The unnamed one needs some more Benadryl and none of the 5 or 6 convenience stores in the grand has nary a pill. There must have been a run on them. I admit, I was a little hesitant to take this stroll at such an hour but I had memories of a recent early morning run in search of pastrami in NY Greenwich Village that did not result in maiming or robbery so perhaps I would be safe here in sister city.
I made my way past the sleeping homeless sprawled on the sidewalk like discarded newspaper, the groups of runaway teens talking/ dancing /fighting away their methadone induced high, the hoochie mama dressed ladies of the night pacing in a small circle looking bored and tired, the sign carriers asking for handouts, jobs, prayers. I had stepped into an altered universe. I quickened my steps as I saw the nearby red lights of the cvs about 3 blocks away. I walked with that I’m a bad sistah and don’t you mess with me cause I might cut you look. It worked, no one said a word to me.
I purchased the precious Benadryl and returned to the room. By 8 a.m the welts on the unnamed one were starting to disappear. But I was growing irritated… with the room, the lack of ventilation, the loud partiers, the shower with 2 speeds, cold and scalding hot, the no-service-will-be-given-during-your-stay and you must flag down housekeeping if you want a towel. Enough is Enough. I broached the subject of speaking to the front desk with the unnamed one. I’m not sure he heard anything I said because Tiger was playing. However, I persisted in my best Virgo/Libra I used to be a Paralegal diplomatic voice.
You know this is Not right. We should be in a better room. You paid for a better room. Are you just going to let them take your money? And then my Angry Black Woman tone. Why don’t you just man up and go down there and fix this problem! I’ve already had to deal with Expedia, Delta and the changed seat screwup. Not to mention playing nursemaid to you and your Ialmostdiedfromthis unidentified welt problem.
Sorry Maam, nothing we can do about the seat change. But You could pay an additional $59 each for seats in the front. May I speak to a supervisor. Excuse me Sir,this is your fault not mine. Well, maybe we could put you in the emergency seats. If you agree you are able bodied and can assist the other passengers in case of an emergency. Just sign this form. You mean like the plane going down and I have to play flight attendant? My Xanax supply was getting low.
The unnamed one was unmoved… literally. I donned my new paisley printed two piece and headed to the grand pool. It was a beautifully designed area complete with cabanas, fake palm trees and a sea of deck chairs. I found a nice pale blue chair that complemented the pink paisleys in my suit and donned some suntan lotion. Yes, Virginia good black does crack in 100+degree heat, and settled in for an afternoon of fun in the sun. After about 15 minutes, I realized that this sun was not the same sun I sat under back home. This sun was a fireball radiating spears of heat that obviously were on loan from Hell.
I headed to the nearest pool peopled by folks of various ages, sipping iced drinks and talking in a cornucopia of languages. Oddly, I noticed that of all the people in the pool, there was only one other dark hued person, a brother with a group of blonde tanned guys.
Flashes of 1960s movies and innocent little black children dipping their toe in the community pool and suddenly running for their lives as the pool was drained played in my mind. It must be the heat…this was 50 years later…nothing like that could here. Could it? Nevertheless, I found an unoccupied corner of the pool and carefully looked around before lowering myself into the heavily chlorinated water. Minutes passed and nothing happened. People continued drinking, talking, frolicking. I was safe.
Within minutes, I found myself in the center of a group of young men from England who were on holiday in LV. They offered me drinks and conversation noting that they liked me because I was like the women they knew at home. They had been warned to stay awake from the LV women who would steal their money and credit cards. Ah, Mother England. We chatted for awhile. One of them even snapped pictures of me. I began to feel waterlogged and a little high from the icy, sweet drink so I bid them adieu.
I reluctantly returned to the room. Several hours had passed and surely Tiger had won or lost by now. Tiger had indeed lost and the unnamed one was not in a good mood. I politely inquired if he had given more thought to the room situation and he said he was going to take care of it after lunch. He abruptly left the room and I proceeded to take a cold shower almost scalding myself when I accidently jiggled the knob in the wrong direction.
Lunch was a buffet. I am not fond of food that has been handled by strangers with grimy hands. So I settled for a glass of water.After lunch, the unnamed one quietly walked to the front desk of the grand. I followed at a polite within in hearing/video taking distance. Unnamed one picked out a young, friendly Hispanic clerk and began to explain the room situation in that I am a veteran and used to be a mailman friendly voice.
There was a lot of gestures and hmphs and uh huhs exchanged. Finally friendly desk clerk said he was going to grant our wish and give us the room we had reserved…a grand king in the tower part of the hotel far from the dank, dark world of the west wing. We were given shiny new keys and instructed to move our things immediately.
In a flash, we were out of the old rom and stepped off the elevator into a well lighted section of the grand where the walls were painted in soft hues and adorned with pictures of Frank and the rat pack. The carpet glowed with freshly vacuumed cleanliness and the quiet was palpable. This was the grand I had seen online. An older part of the hotel but clean and well kept with lots of character in the room furnishings. And there was a tub, a desk, a chair, an expansive view of the strip, mountains, airport and even the iconic grand sign high in the air. I could feel my breathing lighten and I put the Xanax deeper in my purse.
(Oh, Reader, you thought this was when you found out if the Unnamed One made it on the plane back home? Dang! Well, it’s called a plot twist…you know to derail the reader’s expectation. But I promise, the last and final installment of this TRUE story is coming to you. Stay tuned and thanks for Reading. Comments are welcomed…and Appreciated!)