Thursday, August 30, 2012

Montreal, Part 3

After saying good-bye to our friends, we wandered around Old Port some more. Once again, there was something going. We had no idea what this was either.


We cringed at how hot they must have been in their costumes as it was more than warm that day. One spot we always visit is the fountain at Vauquelin Square. As it was such a hot day, it was a popular spot and people were taking advantage of the cool water. My little fish was so excited when she saw it, we couldn't resist dipping her feet to cool her a bit.




We spent a bit more time at the park near the water and then headed back to the hotel to cool off before heading back out for supper.

Since we were just going for supper, we decided to skip the stroller and use the Ergo. It was much easier going through the Metro and since the temperature had gone down a bit, it didn't get too warm for her.

We decided to head back to Les Trois Brasseurs. We had more poutine and another flammekueche, this time with tomatoes, pesto & parmasan & romano cheese. It was all really good.


Look at that smile! My silly little monkey.



And what night is complete without some playtime with Daddy?

He was teaching her how to honk her nose.


The next morning it was time to get headed home. So that I could pack, I broke out the secret weapon. I found this house at a yard sale about a couple weeks before. It didn't have any people with it, but Grandma gave us some and I found some others at a consignment shop.

She did really good, but eventually, we took out the DVD player and Big Bird. She really loves that DVD.

And when all else fails.....

We had a good vacation and are happy to be home again.

Montreal, Part 2

Saturday morning, we had plans to meet up with my friend, Rosemary, her husband, Patrick, and their little boy, Tyler, and visit the Biodome. So of course, Keira was planning to sleep in. We got up, moving and back onto the Metro. Doug and Keira played peekaboo to help time go by and before you knew it, we were there.


Rosemary & Patrick don't live in the city, but they were really great and drove in to meet us. They are super nice and we had a wonderful time chatting and checking out the animals.


Can I just say, these kids love fish. I'm not sure what the big deal was, but they love them. You'll see.


Also, in case you weren't paying attention, I'm actually in some of these. Doug has been getting braver and actually using my camera. I think he's doing pretty good. As long as it's on auto. We're still working on focus points, but hey, it's a start.

This is how much she loves slides.




Nothing like a sneak hug in the hallway, complete with a face smush.

One of the more crowded exhibits was the linx. It's really cool to begin with.....

but who could resist a baby linx?


Then we entered The Fish Room. These two could have stayed here all day.




And there goes my hugging machine. Keira loves to give hugs. Particularly if you're under 3 feet tall.

Poor Ty had no idea what he was in for, but he was a good sport about it.

Then a really big fish came.

They loved the fish so much they even chased him along the glass.

Several times.

Tempting as it was to stay, we finally pried them away from the giant fish and moved onto the next exhibits.

Penguins!


From there, it was off to Vieux-Montréal, or Old Port. In Place Jacques-Cartier sits one of our favorite restaurants, Le Jardin Nelson. They have a full menu but we always get crepes. They offer a variety of stuffing from apples to chicken and broccoli to tomatoes, mozzarella, & pesto and more. While the food has always been top-notch, the atmosphere is what really makes it worthwhile. You can eat indoors or on the front patio, but the treasure is in the back. It is a roofless area (they have raincatchers and heaters for inclement weather occasions) with different levels and loads of greenery and flowers. They also have live soft music.

After dinner, we walked down the quay and took in the views of the shops and park. Before long, we had to say goodbye to our friends. Thanks again, Rosemary, Patrick & Ty. We had a wonderful time.

Since this post is already quite long, I'll end it here. Part 3, coming up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Montreal, Part 1

Doug and I hadn't had a vacation in a while, so in our insanity, we decided to take Keira on her first international road trip.

Go ahead, you can say it. We're nuts. I know.

According to most mapping websites, the trip is just under 6 1/2 hours. Add the number of stops we figured on to let Keira out of her carseat and I was guessing somewhere between 8 and 10 hours. Sounds like fun already, doesn't?
 
We were supposed to leave (ridiculously) early on Friday morning. Seeing as I was losing my mind, I called the hotel, then Doug and we decided to leave on Thursday afternoon instead. Keira did really great. We got on the road about 3pm and arrived at our hotel about 11:30 pm. That includes a rest stop break, a stop for lunch, another stop for lunch because Doug's {super old} GPS told us there was a place where there wasn't.

We had one snafu when Keira's dinner didn't agree with her and she threw up a little bit. We stopped so we could clean up and let her relax for a bit. Since it was bedtime, I broke out the portable DVD and the new Big Bird movie and we got on our way. We gave her a bottle and shortly after, she was out. Of course, when we got to the hotel and moved her, she woke up and didn't go back down for another hour.

We stayed at the Le Dauphin Hotel in Longueuil. It was nicer than I was expecting with hardwood floors, tall ceilings and big windows. There was a decent size fridge, the standard safe and a couple armchairs. The hotel also offers continental breakfast and free wifi. Oddly, there was also a desktop computer in the room. It came in handy since we had opted to not bring out laptop on this trip. (FYI, the blinds at the top right were open and there is a shade behind it. I know, it looks weird.)


The next day was pretty low-key. Keira was up early, as usual, so I gave her the wooden puzzles I picked up. I'd been hiding a couple new toys just for the trip and brought them out as needed, which wasn't as often as I had thought.

That morning, she showed us her first prompted cheesy smile (This was the second). How can you not love it? They just got bigger and better, too.

We took the Metro into downtown Montreal. It was Keira's first subway ride ever. (Excuse the fuzzy. It is a train, after all.)



 There is always something going on in Montreal if you know where to look or are willing to just walk until you find it. Well, we found a few things, even if we didn't quite know what they were.  On Saint-Laurent, the stores had racks and tables in the street. There was food and drink vendors in between as well.

We stopped at a Cafe Depot and shared a smoothie while Keira hammed it up.
 
We came up on this on Rue Ontario E, but still have no idea what it was. (It did get busier further down.)

On to Rue Saint-Denis, one of the better known streets in Montreal. It's the action street. Clubs, bars, shops, restaurants & hotels, Saint-Denis has got them all. We stopped for lunch at Les Trois Brassuers (The 3 Brewers). Since we were up so early, lunch ended up being before noon, which explains the lack of people. The place was almost full when we left so I'm pretty glad we ate when we did.

 Keira had her first poutine. She and I shared an original style and an apple flammekueche. Doug got the poutine, maxi frites. For those not in the know, poutine is fries, gravy & cheese curds. It sounds and looks gross, but it tastes soooo good. Les Trois Brasseurs maxi frites are fries that have a very thin beer batter on them. I don't do beer. At all. These were good. As in holy crap good. Even Keira thought so.

After some more walking, we decided to call it in and head back to the hotel. Since it was still a bit early, we checked out the ice cream place across from our hotel. Doug was ecstatic. They had gelato. He'd been wanting it all afternoon. And they had a ton of flavors. I had Tiramisu and it was delicious. The woman working the shop was really sweet and chatted with us for a few minutes. Since Keira kept trying to eat mine, the woman gave her a tiny cone with raspberry gelato. I'm pretty sure she was enjoying it.

Shortly after, it was a bath and then bed. Part 2 is coming soon, I promise.