Bonjour from Montreal!

I took the train from New York City bright and early this morning to Montreal. New York City is a nice place for visiting for a short time, to me. Sort of like Las Vegas. There are things to do, shows to see, good food to eat,  but it is so expensive and so crowded that it is tough for me to really feel co fkrtab!e after more than a couple of days. I met a friend of mine in the city Friday night after some unexpected travel delays and snafus. There was a minor derailment at Pennsylvania Station on Friday morning, which caused a lot of chaos throughout the entire day. I ended up switching trains in Albany and taking a train in on the metro north commuter line to Grand Central because trains weren’t running at Penn. My friend ended up on a train to New Jersey and then a bus to Port Authority. All told, neither of us were delayed a ton, and it didn’t affect the weekend much at all, really. We saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on Saturday. I enjoyed Ellis Island a lot. What an amazing place to visit. It really was just a processing center, but they have a wonderful tour with audio that paints the whole picture really well. There is a hospjtal on the island that is not yet renkvated and ready for lrimetime, so to speak. You can do hard hat tours of it though. We stuck with the main building. Highly recommend a visit! I guess a lot of people don’t get off at Ellis Island, they only really take the cruise to the Statue of Liberty? That’s what we heard, anyway. I didn’t get off at Lady Liberty and there definitely weren’t many who skipped the statue, but I thought a pretty large crowd got off to see Ellis Island, too. Not everyone finishes the whole tour. It really drops off after about halfway through the audio tour. Tired feet and info overload, I think. I just really enjoyed myself there. My fami!y didn’t go through Ellis Island but my friend’s grandma did, so that was cool.

Yesterday was really cold in NYC, but my goal was to walk through Central Park and we did! I literally couldn’t feel my nose when we got back out of the park, but I am glad to have gotten in there! I saw Bow Bridge and the Belvedere Castle and a couple of lakes. Heard a really beautiful gospel choir singing in the park, too. AND: I totally found the benches where Robert Redford sits in the movie “Barefoot In The Park” (and also that were used in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, I think?). After that, we were freezing and contemplated trying to get tickets for a Broadway matinee, but ended up pub crawling and watching the NCAA basketball tournament games. It was an early evening because of how early we each had to catch our trains this morning.

The Amtrak experience of crossing the border was so smooth. I can recommend the Amtrak Adirondack as a long, but beautiful trip from NYC to Montreal. The train was in early to Montreal and apparently this city has an excellent metro system but I am really not familiar with it and it wasn’t obvious how to get to it from Gare Central, so I just took a taxi to my hotel here in the old part of Montreal. My hotel is Epik Montreal and it is so adorable. There are just 9 rooms but mine has an entry, a bathroom, a separate bedroom and up a three step staircase: access to a garden! And they offer free breakfast! I got here about 6:30 p.m. and most of the restaurants near the hotel were already closed or closing at 7. I ended up going to a place called Porto Mar, a Portuguese restaurant down the next street. So good! I just had split pea soup (but made with yellow peas, not green), a coke, and their chocolate mousse dessert. Wow. If you find yourself in Montreal, look this place up & get this mousse. It is perfect. The best way to end a meal. Yum yum yum.

I’m not sure what I will do tomorrow, but I feel like enjoying my time here will not be difficult! I saw the giant cathedral from the taxi & definitely feel like it deserves a visit. This old part of Montreal is so cuts that I think just exploring all the little streets is high on my list of probable things I will do.


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