Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Some people love them, want to live in them forever. Some people hate them, some like to stay a few days, or even just a few hours - say for the shopping, the museums, or the restaurants. For me, I'm starting to discover that the less a city is like a city, the more I like it.

Within the last few years I've spent a few days in Montreal, Portland (OR), Denver, Pittsburgh, Luxembourg, Ghent, and Amsterdam. Favorites? Portland and Denver followed by Amsterdam. What do those cities have in common? Bikes, an emphasis on outdoor recreation, and except Amsterdam, excellent bookstores.

Which brings us to Montreal. Hitting the road at 9 am it took until 2, for me to find 1 bookstore - and that was next to McGill University. Bikes? Yes, there are some but I didn't see a single bike shop which makes me wonder. There are several small parks (Place) scattered about in squares which are well kept but really no plein aire type features.

But while it is not my favorite city, don't get me wrong it is interesting. Old Montreal, or Vieux Montreal is old. 1700-1850's and well kept. One gets a deep seated feel of history walking the streets and there are plenty of museums to tell the back story. I went to Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, or the Sailor's Church, it being maritime and me being paid to be here and all. The original structure was built in 1675. That was followed by a few fires, and few renovations, and artistic additions. The resulting church is a tasteful blend of it all, the nave even has boat chandeliers.

And the could spend a whole day just reading menus. Making the choice of where to eat lunch was trying but the idea of Lamb and Olive stew just pulled me to the last one. That and micro brews.

Right now I'm taking a little break before this evenings party at the McCord Museum of Canadian History.

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