Jul 9, 2012

Frentures- Day 9!

A trip to Mont Royal:

Woke up to cooling weather, and a break from the heat was very welcome! Facebook and weather reports show incredible heat back home, and I hope our garden and cats are doing okay. Hope everyone is staying cool in Alberta!

We emerged from our basement apartment with high hopes and excitement for the day ahead. First task- find the metro (subway) station and figure out how to get to Mont Royal. The station (just like everything else with our location) was a short walk away.  We found an accommodating ticket agent and we sorted out the logistics.  She also told us that kids under 11 ride free all summer (yay!). Which was also the case in Ottawa, but no one told us that until we were on our last bus ride home... Score 1 for Montreal!

We arrived close to Mont Royal and headed for the hill. But of course we saw a few diversions on the way...

just for fun!

i don't even want to guess at this one...


We were on our way to Mont Royal for two reasons- to see the TamTam festival and to see the park. Once we got to the other side of the park we wanted to see the St. Joseph's Oratory, in time for an organ concert.

We got waylaid in Jeanne-Mance park for a bit. There happened to be a festival of India happening there, and though we did not take in all the entertainment, we did get our lunch here. Veggie wraps and samosas- so good! Then off to the tam-tams...

We could hear them as we approached- sporadic pulses of rhythmic noise rose above the sounds of traffic and drew us closer.  The tamtam festival is nothing more than a bunch of drummers sitting on a hillside drumming. They join into the beat as they feel moved, and drop out when they are done. Sounds weave in and around each other in intricate patterns; it was quite intriguing. People positioned themselves in groups large and small, with one fellow way off on his own. But he had an extra large drum with a sound that carried and would have overpowered any other near him. 

 hand, hand, finger, thumb. dum-ditty, dum-ditty, dum, dum, dum!

Here is where things started to fall apart. We enjoyed the tamtams, took Avery to a playground, returned to the festival of India for watermelon and more samosas and then it kind of hit us. Time was running out if we were to get to the other side of the park in time for the 3:30 concert. Mark said he was okay not seeing it, but to me, it didn't look that far and I said we should go for it.
watermelon in the heat is bliss...

watermelon immersion

The thing with maps is that they are smaller than real life. And it was far- at least it was too far to traverse at the speed we needed to cover the distance. And so we did not really enjoy the park. Avery wanted to explore side trails. No, we said. We are on a mission! There might have been many beautiful things in the park- I'll never know.  We did stop for a few speedy pictures, but really the underlying tone was not all that pleasant...

came across some people playing with swords in a clearing

even grownups play dress up sometimes!

looks nice, no?

are we still fooling you?

About half way through the park all balance and humour was lost. Avery was going for the passive resistance protest and had all gears set to dawdle. Mine were set to steam. Mark's were set to steam engine. All kinds of beauty passed us by. We did not see the observation deck. We raced past a lake. We burst through the other side of the park and carried on our less-than-merry way. Avery was near collapsed, so I got custody of the camera and back pack and Mark took Avery onto his back. And we soldiered on.

And we made it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We missed the first five minutes, but we collapsed gratefully into the pews, sweating and sputtering. I am sure the fellow was talented, but it was hard to hear over the sound of blood racing through my veins and thumping in my ears.

Blink. Blink. We are at the Oratory. Concert is over, and I guess we should look around here. This place is HUGE! It took 4 sets of escalators to get to the sancutary. I think there were more sanctuaries in the building, but we never found them. There was a lot of information about Father Andre- or Saint Andre as he became. He was a rather interesting fellow, and I did enjoy learning about him. He came up in the Museum of Civilization too. I struggled to explain some finer points of catholicism to Avery. What are saints, exactly? Why would they save his heart in a jar? We will do some google research.

this is actually the back of the sanctuary, where the pipes are

Montreal from the observation deck- feeling better now!

down the hill, past the gardens, by a statue, in front of St. Joseph's. It is still big!

So now we need to decide where to go for supper.  We decided on Schwartz's and instead of walking through that darn park again, we hopped on the metro. Why didn't we do that in the first place???  Oh yeah... so we could enjoy the park!!!!

Mark just thinks these are funny, so I put them here for him!

a line up. for sandwiches. it is really true!

digging in. We were told the perfect combo is sandwich, fries, coleslaw, and cherry cola. So that is what we did.

there are very few restaurants in the world that can get away with this decor, level of grubbiness and lack of comfortable seating and still line them up outside!  i tried not to wonder about the health inspectors reports.

okay, so it is good. triple aaa alberta beef, we learned!

very good, in fact!

family well fed, and humour is returning!  Mark already wants to go back for another meal

And so we were done with this day. It was time to head home. But did we take the metro? No. Looking at the map, the metro station was not that much closer than our place. So we walked. Sigh.


  1. loved your happy family photo at the end of the day at Swartz's!

  2. Curtis Tufts7/10/2012 10:18 AM

    I had lunch at Schwartz's back in 1973, and it looks exactly the same now as it did then!


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