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Last updated 11pm Thursday 30 August 2012

August 29 - Montreal - Olympic Stadium and Tower / Views

Good morning Montreal.  Time for some new exploration starting with the subway and bus systems. 

We were on our way to Pie - IX station.  From there we could walk to the Montreal Botanical Gardens and the Olympic Park Stadium (Parc Olympique).  It was going to be a big day of walking.  We had to change trains along the way and we hardly got started before the train was delayed due to a "burst water pipe" they say. However we got talking to the man next to us who had translated the French announcement to us and he mentioned that it is usually a suicide they are cleaning up but don't want to let the public know about.  I apparently happens a bit.  He left soon after to take the bus that usually assists in ferrying people to the next available working station.  (just like home on the Hurstbridge line)

Take a good look at this train.  Can you tell me what is different? 

These trains certainly speed along I can tell you and if anyone was hit there would not be much left of them.

Did you guess what was different?  That's right - no graffiti, in fact I have only seen one little bit of graffiti since arriving and that was under the bridge as we walked over to the botanical gardens, but that is really not the answer.  The answer is - the wheels - they are rubber wheels that sit in between tracks.  The power source must come from those double yellow tracks in the centre of the picture. It makes for quite a bouncy but comfy ride.  The air conditioning in them isn't too great, it was quite stuffy in the carriage.

Soon we arrived at Parc Olympique - but hang on, this looks more like the 2012 version of the star ship Enterprise!  We have stacks of other pictures from the top of the tower and you should see what this building looks like from overhead.

There is an elevator that ascends to an obersevation deck 165 meters above.  You can possibly identify the observation deck by the three horizontal windows at the very top. The elevator travels up the left hand side of the building.  You may also be able to notice some cables attached to the tower that span down to the roof of the stadium below.  This is the cabling that opens the roof up.  We had a very interesting tour around the stadium and learned that this stadium is very underused. They have had only two events there this year.  I cannot see how they keep the place running. 

Pictured below is the Eco dome - looks like another space craft ready for take off.  The tour guide said it was modeled on the top of a bicycle helmet.  It used to be the cycling venue. To me it will always look like an alien space craft :-).  The building now house a range of animals.

Views from the top of the Tower.  Breathtaking.

The picture below is inside the stadium.  The venue is used for baseball, expositions, dirt bike racing and from time to time the odd concert.  The acoustics in the venue are not all that great for concerts and that is just one of the many reasons the venue does not get used very much.

After a quick bite to eat we headed for the Botanical Gardens.

So much to see and so little time to see it and yet we managed it all.

The insectarium was first - David was off like a shot.  He did not like that place at all.
It didn't really take too long to go through.  I had been through a similar one in Kuala Lumpur.
It was designed quiet well with sections of evening insects, day time insects, night time insects then cold weather insects and hot weather insects - BOY!  The hotter the weather the BIGGER the insects!
Then there was a whole section devoted to "Social Insects"  Seems these insects have a whole communication system whereby they all have their own jobs to do and communicate it to each other.  Insects like ants and bees for example.  They all have jobs to do in order to stay alive. 

Next - Pictured below is the Japanese Gardens - Spent a while here in quiet contemplation.

The Chinese Gardens - I think this just had to be the best of them all.  Very festive and extremely colourful.

I loved this dragon. 

Aurevoir botanical gardens we have had a great day.

Still more to fit into the day to come - Time to get to Mont Royal.  A train and a bus later we were enjoying a most fabulous panorama of Montreal.

Then it was time to get back to the hotel for our nightly nibblies in the executive lounge.  I am starving.

August 30 - Montreal

Another day begins in Montreal and here we are in the heart of Old Montreal.  A most exquisite area of historical buildings.  In the background is a large domed building that in the early 19th Century was Canada's Parliament.

Down the bottom of the hill we turn left into this gorgeous old street (pictured below).  It almost reminded me of a scene from the musical 'Oliver'.

There are plenty of shops along the way.  Lots of things to look at.  One particular shop sold furs.  Furs of all kinds, mink, fox, bear, wolf, the list goes on.  If you had a spare Canadian $16,000 plus 15% tax you could score yourself a polar bear rug.  I actually thought there had been a legislation passed down a few years back that prohibited the sale of polar bear rugs.  Perhaps this particular one was one of the last left standing ... or laying flat as the case may be!

The shop also had quite an array of wolf rugs (head and all).  I had a lovely chat with the lady who owned the shop.  I thought it would be a hard call to get one of the wolf rugs through customs especially with the teeth.  She advised me that the teeth, tongue and eyes were plastic.  The shop also had a stunning Inuit style coat made of a lovely leather and fur, fully lined and tastefully embroidered - the price tag was $5,000.  THUD!

Pictured below is Vieux-Port. A lot less hustle and bustle here.  Sat on a park bench for a while and just
watched the world go by.

It was about 2pm by the time we got back to our hotel.  We promised ourselves a nice leisurely afternoon by the pool at the hotel.  Ahhhhh - Heaven.  I could get used to this.  :-)

One last look at Montreal at night from Mont Royale. Spectacular!

An unexpected surprise at Mont Royale park.  Rocky Racoon.  "Please sir can I have some more"?

Guess it is feeding frenzy time.  Racoons everywhere.  One even decided it might like to chew the toe of my shoe but quickly realised they were not as tasty as the bread the others were feeding them.  It does have a sign (in French) that says do not feed the Racoons.  I am not that good at reading French but even I knew what the sign said.

Deep sigh..... as the day draws to a close we say goodbye to Montreal. Bye bye Rocky.

Coming up - adventures in Quebec.
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