Halifax – 2018

From Quebec City to Halifax was a very long and uncomfortable train ride.  The train car seemed warm to me, and I was on an aisle seat instead of a window.  Once the sunset I guess that wasn’t a big deal, but trying to sleep proved more difficult than my trip a few years ago on Amtrak.  I just think Amtrak seats are more comfortable for sleeping in a chair.  But I did learn my lesson, a sleeping car on over night train trips in Canada would be worth the crazy price you have to pay; plus dinner/breakfast are include and you get access to a special observation car at the very end of the train.  But enough about the train… On to Halifax…

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Halifax Train Station

The train pulls into the Halifax Train Station at 7:06 PM local time takes a bit of time to get luggage, because unlike the previous trains the luggage is unloaded and put on one of those conveyor belts like at an airport.  And since I learned my lesson in Quebec City, I ordered a taxi and get to the hotel by 7:54 PM.  I check in, drop off my luggage and then head right back out to see the water front.  The whole time on the train getting into Halifax the sun had been shining and the day was bright, but it seems a fog rolled into Halifax just ahead of the train so visibility was down to quarter of a mile, maybe?

Its now around 9 PM and I’m hungry.  The turkey sandwich from the train had been hours ago.  So I try to find some place to eat, in what is really a tourist area.  It is a late Monday evening, and the I believe the fog had everyone moving in doors earlier then normal.  Or it could be that the area is always kind of slow on a Monday evening.  I did find a pub on the docks that was open, The Lower Deck.  They served fish and chips and I am a fan.

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After dinner, I go walking around a bit more, but there are very few people out and the fog has made everything damp and a bit chilly so I head back to the hotel to prepare for tomorrow’s adventure.

It is now Tuesday, July 3rd and I have a free morning.  My bus tour of Halifax and then to Peggy’s Cove is not until 12 PM.  I decided to eat the breakfast buffet in the hotel.  It was $20 but you get to eat a little bit of everything than just a larger amount of only a few things.  They did serve an interesting egg, broccoli, bread thing that I went back for seconds.  Breakfast all done I head back down to the docks to redeem my voucher for the ticket for the bus tour. By 9 AM the fog has cleared off and you can see across the bay.

After a short walk along the board walk, I decided to head east into Halifax and visit the Museum of Natural History. I head up along Salter Street toward Barrington Street, but half way only my trek I have to make a surprising detour. Like in each of the other cities I’ve visited, lots of construction is going happening.  I’m not sure if the construction worker are responsible or if it was just a bad fire hydrant, but water is gushing into the air a good 12 feet and running down the street about 3 inches deep. How do I know? Well, I stepped in the water and soaked my right shoe.

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I continue on my way as another police car arrives to block traffic from going down the street.  So I finally get back on course and head up Sackville Street and I notice the Halifax Public Gardens.

From the number of pictures I took, I think you can deduce I didn’t make it to the Museum in time.  I did go back to the Museum on Wednesday and looked around.  It was a very small museum, but it had an interesting exhibit of artwork created by some of the local tribes of the First People, what Canadians call Native Americans, that visualized the impact of Europeans on the lives of these people.  And remember these are basically the same Europeans that are moving into the America’s and Mexico so when I say things didn’t work out well for the First People, I am making a huge understatement.  And some of the repressive laws continued into the modern era and if I’m remembering the date correctly, it wasn’t until the 1960s before a woman of the local tribes no longer lost her tribal status with the Canadian government if she married a non tribe member.

The museum also has a mascot.  His name is Gus, and at night when the staff is closing up the museum he is allowed to roam his museum.

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The museum also has a bee hive behind glass inside the building with a pipe that allows the bees to come and go as needed.  It also has some good displays of the various types of rocks and minerals found in the area along with bones and some fossils of animals from the past and present.  It was a nice museum to visit, and gave me about 45 minutes out of the unusually warm day (The museum visit was on Thursday, July 4th)

After leaving the public gardens, after another quick walk through I walked around one of the edges of the Halifax Citadel National Historical Site.  I didn’t visit, but this is a raised area over looking the lower portion of the city and the harbor where a military fort had been built to defend the port.  From the level I was on it just looked like a huge grassy hill, but when you got to on of the roads leading up, you could see the fort’s structures.

The time is now 11:30 AM and I need to be at the departure point by 11:45 AM which is out side of the nautical museum.  I didn’t visit the museum so I can’t say anything about it, other than its location.  The bus leaves a bit late, around 12:!5 PM, and I am off to Peggy’s Cove which I knew nothing about before my trip and I only booked it because there was a lighthouse.  It’s almost an hours drive out to the location and our tour guide has many stories to tell mostly about tragic events that happened on the ocean.  Halifax was the closest port to the location where the Titanic sank so many of the survivors were taken to Halifax along with the dead that were able to be recovered.

Peggy’s Cove is a fishing village that mainly traps lobsters. On the docks of all the little houses, I saw many lobster trap.  The fog found me again here at the cove, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t get some good pictures of the lighthouse and surrounding landscape.  I even had time to grab a “lobster roll” for lunch.  Why the quotes, well it was lobster meat, but the “roll” was just a hot dog bun.  Still it was good, better than any lobster I’ve had at Red Lobster.

Another hour drive back into Halifax, with some more local stories that I don’t remember because honestly I didn’t really care.  I just wanted to see the Atlantic Ocean and the light house and I was looking forward to my next tour, The Halifax Distillery.

The Halifax Distillery is a very small rum distillery located on Lower Water Street.  One of main people responsible for running the distillery gave the tour.  In the pictures above you can see the pot where the mash is fermented. They only use molasses for their rum and I didn’t know this, but as rum is fermenting it is producing so much heat that they have to cool the pot.  That explains the dimples in the outside of the pots.  They run water between the outside and inside layer of the pot to cool the mixture other wise it would boil and kill the yeast and end the fermentation. My beer takes about 6 to 7 days to finish its fermentation process, rum is done in 12 hours.  Because of the heat produced by the fermentation the distillery only runs during the winter months when it is much cooler and their are less people wanting to take tours. After those 12 hours are up, the liquid is transferred to the pot and column still where it is heated and the alcohol is collected. It is than aged for 3 years in old bourbon and whiskey barrels.  Many of those being used here are from Buffalo Trace.  One of the other guests asked how many times a barrel can be reused, and the answer was up to 5 times before it starts to leak too much. I personally am not a fan of drinking rum, even in a cocktail, but the dark rum here was pretty good.  I even bought a bottle of the Rum Cream which is basically like Bailey’s Irish Cream, but made with golden rum and not whisky.  Overall, this was a very good tour, and I learned a few things I didn’t know.  It also helps that the business is still small enough that they owners are the people running the place and giving the tour.

After the tour I head back to the hotel keeping my eye open for a place to eat dinner.  I run across, The Old Triangle.  Maybe subconsciously the math teacher in me is drawn to the word triangle or the fact its an Irish Alehouse either way, that is where dinner will be.

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This is Tuesday night, around 7:30 PM and the place is pretty empty.  I over here the bartender and one of the waitress discussing that fact.  About 20 or 30 minutes later after I get my food the manger even lets the waitress go home earlier because she isn’t making any money on tips, because their is no crowd and the place is over staffed.  It seems I decided to visit between the arrival of the cruise ships.  Which is very good for me, I didn’t realize that Halifax was one of the major destination ports for cruise ships.  The harbor is deep enough that the ships can dock without issues.  I thanked my good fortune and sit back and enjoy the live music coming up from the lower section of the Alehouse while I wait for my meal.

Dinner was pan fired Haddock with potato leek soup.  And dessert, which I didn’t really have room for but decide to just go for it anyways was this awesome Guinness Gingerbread cake.  If all desserts tasted that good, I would always save room.

Since the sun is setting so late, it is still pretty bright out when I leave the restaurant at 8:44 PM.  I walk back to the board walk and get some really good pictures of the docks and harbor with my phone using the landscape and sphere setting.  Sadly they don’t upload well here and only look good on a phone.

And it is back to the hotel for some sleep.

It is now July 4th; the train back to Montreal doesn’t leave until 12:30 PM.  I take one final walk along the board walk, and then head up to the public garden again.  As I mentioned before I visited the History museum today.

I get a taxi to the train station and board the train and get a window sit on the single seat side of the train.  Here are some pictures I got while traveling from Halifax.

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Published in: on July 24, 2018 at 11:43 am  Comments Off on Halifax – 2018  

Quebec City – 2018

It is now June 30th.  I wake up at my normal time, even though I’ve changed time zones.  My internal clock and I really need to have a talk, because I should be able to sleep a bit longer when on vacation. So I finishing packing, check out of the hotel and since my bus pass has expired I call for a taxi to take me to the train station.  It’s 80 degrees at 7 AM EST, I almost feel like I’ve never left home.  I know I’m not responsible for the heat wave that crossed the US and Canada but it sure felt like the Texas heat followed me where ever I went on this trip.

I get to the train station, and look around and notice that this place could have been a good spot for lunch, because there are lots of restaurants with a variety of menu choices.  Now I showed this picture on the Montreal update, so look back at the bottom of that post if you want to look at them.

It’s now time to board the train, and very much like an airplane those that require assistance get to go first, than sleeper cars and finally us joes in economy.  I will have to make sure I have up for my next Canadian rail experience and book one of those sleeper cars, because you get access to a special observation car which serves free coffee or tea, and your meals are included.  Just to give you an idea in price.. economy ticket about $90 sleeper car ticket $450.  After the fact, I really should have just coughed up the extra money and booked a sleeper car for the Halifax to Montreal when I ended my trip, because that so one long train ride and the first time I every had my ankles swell up.

I’ve written enough for the moment enjoy some pictures from the 4 hour train ride to Quebec City:

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Leaving Montreal

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Mountain seen from the train

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Corn Fields

 

And we have now arrived at Gare du Palais in Quebec City.

 

 

 

It is here where I made a bad decision based on missing information from Google maps (had I used terrain view or satellite view I would have called for a taxi)  Here were the 3 options Google gave me and the one I chose is in blue:

the epic hike

So you might be thinking what mistake? A 20 minute, 1.2 km walk in the middle of a Canadian day (remember the heat wave it was in the mid 80s I did get the exact temperature, but that still isn’t the mistake) that should be pleasant. Here is a critical view from Google maps in 3D:

 

 

 

Yes, those are stairs.  What Google failed to mention was the 1.2 km hike was going to be 90% up a steep hill.  The start was the stairs and then just very steep roads.  I am happy to say it only took me 26 minutes to walk the path, but lesson was learned, a taxi is your friend when you first arrive in a city.

Luckily, when I arrived at my hotel, they were able to let me in early so I could rest a before going on the next adventure.

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View from my hotel window

After a short rest I set off to find the special visitor bus pass that most cities have.  It took a bit to locate the place to buy the ticket, but once found I headed to the area know as Old Quebec.  I later learned there is an Upper and Lower Old Quebec.  All of my first day I spent in Upper Old Quebec City.

All of this walking around and site seeing made me hungry, also the fact I had not had breakfast, so around 2 PM I found Le Casse-Crepe Breton.

 

 

 

 

This place makes crepes, not only the ones for breakfast, but lunch style ones.  I had basically a Philly Cheese Steak but in side a crepe.  I was delicious.  I also sat at the bar, because this is a very, very small restaurant and even at 2 PM was very busy.  This allowed me to watch the young woman that was making the crepes.  She had 4 round griddles, 2 she used for cooking the crepes and the other 2 for keeping them warm while she finished the orders.  That young lady didn’t stop making crepes from the time I sat down to the time I left.  In fact everyone in that place were always on the go.

Here is a link to a YouTube video I uploaded of the chef Making Crepes

Here are some random pictures of buildings that I thought looked interesting.

 

 

 

After all the wondering, my sweet tooth needed to be feed so I found this nice gelato place and ordered 2 scoops.

 

 

 

And its now 4:30 PM and I’m back in my hotel for few hours rest before I once again head down to Old Quebec for my 8 PM dinner reservations at Aux Anciens Canadiens.

I take the bus #11 down to Old Quebec an hour or so before my reservation for dinner and walk around some more and got surprised by this car driving around the main road.

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the St. Lawrence River

It is now time for dinner.

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One side of the menu is French the other side is in English.  This restaurant specializes in game meats,  so caribou, deer, duck and bison.  I started with the tomato soup, then had Wild Caribou, bison and deer rillettes, confit of carrots.  I had now clue what rillettes was until it arrived.  The simplest way to describe rillettes is to just call it a pate.  It is basically shredded meat in a paste form that you can spread on to toast.  While looking lease than appetizing, I spread it on the toast and found it to be less revolting than I thought.  I didn’t taste bad, nor did it feel strange in my mouth, but I will probably never order it again. However, the confit of carrots, I most definitely would like to find again. I’ve looked up the recipe on Google and can’t believe how simple it is to make.  I’m not sure if what I ate was sweetened by something or if it was just the natural sweetness of the carrots, but I could have had another serving. For the main dish I went with Grandma’s treat, which was a meat pie, meatballs, and fried salt pork.  The salt pork I could have skipped, because I’ve had better.  It was the meat pie that was to write home about.  The crust was most definitely made with lard, not vegetable shortening and the meat was seasoned very well.  And the meatballs you say, well those were just meat balls.  I think they were from bison meat but nothing spectacular. Dessert was creme brulee which I didn’t really have room in my stomach, but it was good so I dealt with the discomfort.

 

 

 

I then walked around a bit more to let dinner settle and to enjoy the cool of the evening.  By 9:30 PM I was back in my hotel and ready to think about getting some sleep for the next day’s adventure.

It is now July 1st and since I will be leaving today to head to Halifax at 9 PM, I have to get all my bags packed and ready to go in the morning.  My tour of Quebec is 6 hours and will get me back past the check out time.  The Delta Hotel was nice enough to hold my bags after I checked out at 8 AM.

I was then on a quest to find breakfast, and unlike Montreal, I didn’t want to eat in the hotel.  I head to bus #11 stops, which is across the street from the hotel and with my backpack ready I head to Old Quebec and hope there are some places opening for breakfast.  Old Quebec is pure tourism, I don’t think there is any business down in this area that isn’t connected with entertain tourists.  It is a Sunday.

Le Petit Chateau is my stop for breakfast

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again it will be crepes.

 

 

 

These crepes had egg and cheese inside with 2 slices of ham on top.  I covered it all in maple syrup and enjoyed every bite.

The tour guide for my tour was an Englishman from the UK. I don’t remember his story of how he came to Canada, but I’m pretty sure it was his Canadian wife that had him stay.  He was all excite about the upcoming English soccer game and was hoping for an English / French World Cup.  Remember this is July 1st, so he still had well placed hope.

The first stop of the tour was just 2 loops around the road right outside the tourist office where the tour began.  At that spot was a fort that over looked the St. Lawrence River.  Now there is a big hotel, art gallery and a Starbucks.  What I failed to find out in time, was an underground museum of the archaeology of that fort.

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I knew there were glass floor/windows on the deck around the hotel. I just didn’t know you could take a tour and walk under the decking.  That will have to be for next time.

 

 

 

Buildings and statues seen around this circular road.

The tour than proceeded down to Lower Old Quebec, where there were even more tour shops.

 

 

 

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I really liked all the signs hanging out front with the shops names on them.

The tour than returned to Upper Quebec around some public spaces that were being converted to music stages for the up coming music festival on July 5th.  You pay like $100 for a ticket and you can get into any of the venues, but its first come so if you want a good spot, you have to go early and wait.   The bands playing this year, The Weeknd, Neil Young, Shawn Mendes, Foo Fighters, The Chainsmokers, Beck, Lorde, Dave Matthews Band, just to name a few.  It all ended on July 15th.

 

In the above pictures, you will see one of the old city gates, a canon emplacement, some flowers from Jardin Jeanne d’ Arc, and Eglise Saint-Dominique church.  There were more things but it is hard to take pictures of a moving bus in traffic. We did have to take a detour through an area of apartment buildings rather than driving along the park, Plaines d’ Abraham.

The bus tour next headed out of Quebec City to and island in the middle of St. Lawrence River, Ile-d’Orleans.  This island is know for its organic farming and is one of the main food suppliers for the city of Quebec and has been for generations.  We drive to Sanite-Petronille, on the south-west tip of the island, closest to Quebec City to visit a locally famous chocolaterie.

 

The line for ice cream was too long, and while the weather wasn’t extremely hot, I didn’t want to spend money on expensive, high quality chocolate that could melt before I got on the train later in the evening.  I decide to get some picture of Quebec City, the bridge we crossed and the waterfall we were going to visit next.

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Quebec City

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Montmorency Falls and Pont de I’lie bridge

I took a panoramic picture with my phone, but it doesn’t look good unless viewed on a phone.  Maybe that is an upgrade to wordpress like adding video. *shrug*

On to the waterfall…

 

 

 

To get to the top of the waterfall you can use a cable car or walk.

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I think you can see which method I chose.

At the top, if you go via the cable car you find the Montmorency House with some pretty gardens and a cafe inside.

 

 

 

And I’ve kept you waiting long enough…

 

 

 

There is a suspension bridge over the falls that lets you look down on them or get another great view of the St. Lawrence River.

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Along the path back to the cable car station, you can see how nature likes to take over anything destroyed or modified by man.

 

 

 

After view this wonder of nature and creation, it was time to go to church.  Specifically the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre.  I’m going to take you on a wikipedia history lesson… The first sanctuary was built in 1658, by Bretons who said their prayers to Saint Anne saved them on a sea voyage.  After a flood, and relocation another stone church was built and last 2 centuries before it was demolished in 1876 and a new more grand church was built.  That church burned down in 1922.  What I saw was the 3rd church which began construction in 1923 and didn’t finish until 1962.

 

 

 

I almost forgot to include the stop before the church.  It was to Albert Gilles Boutique and Museum.  I didn’t have a clue who this guy was until one of his daughters, who is both a tour guide at the museum and artist herself.  This shop house all of the copper and silver embossed work of the Gilles family. The main doors to the cathedral you just saw above were crafted by Albert Gilles.  There was a “no cameras’ allowed rule in the museum not really sure why, but they did allow pictures in Albert’s “hobby/worship” room.  I’m calling it that because Mr. Gilles created 15 different copper plaques depicting various stages in the life of Christ I am assuming from the devotion to his faith.

It was now time to return to the Quebec Tourist Information Building and end the tour around 5:30 PM.  I still had a few hours before I needed to reclaim my luggage and board the train to Halifax. So I went in search of something to eat.  I debated the Irish pub I had seen yesterday, but it was very crowded and had a short line, I thought about the red roofed restaurant next to the tourist building but decided against it after I read the menu options.  I was looking for something simple.  Portofino, an italian restaurant near the irish pub was my final choice.  The smells of its stone pizza oven drew me.  I didn’t have pizza though, I went for the spaghetti and meat balls.

It was then back to the hotel, get my bag, take a taxi to Gare du Palais, and then a bus to the train station in Sainte-Foy about 8 miles away.

The train was suppose to arrive at 9:30 PM, but we didn’t leave until 11:09PM.   So began the next train ride of my trip in Canada. Next stop is Halifax at 7:06 PM on July 2nd.

Trian Ride

Published in: on July 18, 2018 at 12:23 pm  Comments Off on Quebec City – 2018  

Montreal – 2018

I’ve decided to organize this year’s trip by the cities visited versus a daily journal.  I will start with Montreal, then Quebec and finally Halifax.  I will include photos and comments from the train trip as its own post.  So let’s begin…

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Montreal, Canada is the most populous city of the province of Quebec.  (And yes I used wikipedia for that fact.) Of all the cities I visited it was the most “modern” feeling, ie. in line with New York City or Dallas.  There were plenty of skyscrapers and office buildings which interfered with my phones GPS from time to time just like when I was in downtown NYC a few Spring Breaks ago.

When my trip began I wasn’t sure I was going to even make it to Canada.  I don’t remember why I picked flights out of DFW going to Montreal that had me switching planes, I’m going to guess it was cost.  This did prove to add some “adventure” to the start of the trip.  My first flight from DFW to Newark was on time and landed without any issues; however, I had setup my layover to be only about 30 minutes between flights and as would be expected I had to go from one end of the concourse to the opposite side.  I made it to my flight as United was making one of its last calls for passengers.  I do want to point out, I was not the last person. There were 3 other people that boarded the plane after me.  This plane from Newark to Montreal was delayed for an extra 15 minutes because of a maintenance issue, one of the overhead bins would not close.  The mechanic arrived hit the mechanism with his hammer a few times, and boom. All is well.  The mechanic left the plane to cheers. Cabin door can now be closed and we can be pushed back from the terminal and wait our turn to taxi and take off.  Here is were the camels back got broken.  When we got pushed back from the terminal, we were parked a bit too close to one of the other planes which had that plane’s pilot request that we get moved a bit more.  This is now by my count delay 3, it’s only like 10 minutes but these little delays are about to add up.  We finally get setup to wait our turn to taxi to the runway and we wait and wait. About 15 minutes later the pilot announces that the flight has been canceled due to the fact the pilot’s on duty clock was going to tick past the allowed safety window.  Oh and also, all those delays had made us miss out window with traffic control and our flight was sort of forgotten.  We get to be taken back to the terminal and have to de-board the plane and wait for a reserve crew to be found that can continue the flight.  To shorten the story, because honestly you are reading this to see and here about Montreal, the reserve crew is found, they are not happy about it, 3 hours late finally take off.  We arrive in Montreal very late and the Montreal airport has to find us a terminal to park, so a short wait on the plane.

So I’m finally in Canada.  I’ve not traveled out of country very much but I do like Canadian Customs the best.  You have your passport scanned at a kios, answer some question on the touch screen, take your printed report to one of the Canadian Customs officers and you are done.

My first praise of Montreal is its public transportation. I was able to get a 24 hr pass to use the buses and the subway for $10 Canadian = $7.56 US.  There is a special bus that runs from the airport to downtown, every 30 minutes.  And even with the construction going on, the bus stop is only 1 block from my hotel, Le Nouvel Hotel and Spa.

I get checked into my hotel, by 9 PM and quickly head down to the hotel’s restaurant/bar order a burger, fries and a local red ale.

It is now June 29th, 7:30 AM local time and I’m dressed and ready for my tour of Montreal.  I head down Rue Sainte-Catherine capturing pokemon and visiting poke stops as I head to the tourist information office (0.8 mile walk) to get my ticket for the bus tour of Montreal.

Walking in Montreal

The tour leaves at 9 AM so I have time for breakfast, at La Belle Province.  It is a “greasy spoon” dinner with 50’s decor.

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I had the breakfast with 2 eggs, 2 sausage, potatoes. When you look at the menu, notice that French is the larger font and English is the smaller.  I mention this because in Montreal and Quebec, French is the dominate language.  The street signs, warning signs, bathroom signs and menus are all in French.  When you walk into any place, you will be greeted friendly with, “Bonjour”  By the end of my trip I was able to say bonjour well enough that instead of switching to English automatically, the server or store clerk would continue in French.  When speaking with one of the attendance on the trains, that is one of the tests they had to take, being fluent in French and English.

Breakfast done, and happy tummy it was time for the 3.5 hour tour of Montreal.

The first stop was Old Montreal and Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal.

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We had about 30 minutes here to explore the church or walk around Place d’Armes square.  Since the line to get inside seemed a bit long and I didn’t want to pay the $6 entry fee, I just walked around the square, listening to a street musician and taking more photos.

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Maisonneuve Monument

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Saint-Sulpice Seminary

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Bank of Montreal head office

We board the tour bus again and continue the tour crossing the St. Lawrence River to Ile Sainte-Helene and Ile Notre-Dame so we could get a view of the Biosphere.

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Leaving Ile Sainte-Helene we cross the Jascques Cartier Bridge heading toward the Olympic Stadium. (The stadium is the white dome under the bridge.)

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We had another 30 minutes by Chalet Du Parc Maisonneuve, which is a huge bicycling park with trails running all through it just north of the Montreal Botanical Gardens.

Now here I’m going to pause the bus tour and time travel forward to July 5 when I returned to Montreal and visited the Botanical Gardens. The Chinese Garden portion was being remodeled so extra walking was added, plus it was 98 degrees so I only saw a portion of the Botanical Gardens. Below’s slide show are some of the pictures I took while there:

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And we time travel back to June 29th and continue on the Montreal bus tour.  The tour continues up and around Mont Royal, the hill towering up in the middle of Montreal, to Vue Mt Royal which gives you a wonderful view of Montreal.  I took some cool photos with my phone, but they are sphere and panoramic view so they don’t post well.  Here is the best from my camera.  You can see Olympic stadium to the North.

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Next we circled around to Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal our last “stop”.  This Catholic Cathedral was started (wikipedia clip) “in 1904, Saint André BessetteC.S.C., began the construction of St. Joseph”, and after some upgrades and expansion it was completed in 1967.  Another quick clip from wikipedia… “The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims (handicapped, blind, ill, etc.) poured into his Basilica, including numerous non-Catholics. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were purportedly healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André in 1982. In October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI canonized the saint.”

The tour continues with no further stops and “get out to look” points.  We drove around the old cemeteries on the side of Mount Royal where we learned they were treated as public parks with walking trails.

We did drive through a bunch of residential sections and almost all of the apartments and condos were built with porches and walk up stairs some were curved, others bent.  Our tour guide and pointed out that to save space on the inside, the stairs were all placed outside and he kept repeating that public housing was placed within regular housing all through the city so there was no “ghetto” areas and from outside it was very hard to tell which housing complexes were for low income families.  According to the tour guide Montreal is also one of the safest cities in North America.

With the tour concluded I decided it was time to visit a museum. I had a choice between an art museum featuring Picasso or a history museum featuring Queens of Egypt and archaeological digs under Montreal’s modern streets.  I went with the history museum.

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Here are some of the Egyptian artifacts:

The next part of the museum was the history of Montreal with preserved archaeological dig sites you could walk through or over (glass floor).

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After exiting the museum my next quest was to find place to have some poutine.  Here is were I had some issues with my phone and GPS.  It didn’t help that Google was showing me the location Pub St-Paul and not the location to the door to entry the restaurant.  That was actually on Rue-Saint Paul; however, Google kept showing the place on Rue de la Commune.  So here it is a picture of poutine.  The dish all my Canadian friends talk about how great it is.

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My only issue is that the brown gravy made the french fries very soggy, but the melted cheese curds almost made up for the sogginess.  I would eat this dish again, just not on this trip.  I should have tried it in each city, but honestly, my first taste was disappointing.  I should have returned to the dinner I had breakfast, for a sample of their poutine.  I noticed the amount of fresh cut french fry potatoes they had soaking in the sinks.  I’m guessing they were getting ready for the lunch crowd.  This concludes the Montreal portion of this trip.  Enjoy pictures of the train station I took the next morning waiting for the 9:15 train to Quebec.

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Published in: on July 16, 2018 at 4:09 pm  Comments (1)  

The next trip…

I started out this afternoon on my next summer adventure. https://player.vimeo.com/video/277382448“>Plane video tease.  To make this even more of an adventure, I will be  trying to do new things this trip. To start I  used a local taxis service for the first time, so I didn’t have to leave my truck in long term parking.  IMG_20180627_104732479The was very little adventure from home to Houston… but a last minute gate change made it so I could only hit one pokestop in Houston Hobby… Oh, yes I’ve started Pokemon Go again and it will be part of the adventure. I even got my 3rd shiny pokemon at Dallas Love Field.  I should have screen shot all the Pokemon hanging out there.  Why I didn’t?  Well, I made it to Dallas from Houston without an issue although it was a close call.  I landed with just enough time to go to the bathroom and than board the next plane.  My luggage wasn’t so lucky.  And it wasn’t just mine, there was a small group of us hanging out in the “lost luggage area” in Love field.  Luckily, there is a flight every 30 minutes or so from Houston to Dallas and my luggage, along with the other passengers was on the next, next flight.

Luggage retrieved, I headed to the DART system and made use of the public transport system, bus to train to bus. Cost was $5 compared to taxi, uber, lyft, or any other method that was going to be $15 to $30… Yes, the trip took an extra 30 minutes, but I got to ride a train… The whole purpose for this trip.. Trains Trains Trains..

It was now time to grab something to eat… options very limited at the Hyatt Regency at DFW… The grouper sandwich was excellent though and the lent soup was decent.

Tomorrow, another plane ride and then….

Published in: on June 27, 2018 at 8:31 pm  Comments Off on The next trip…  

Public Lands Day

I took advantage of today’s public lands day and enjoy free access to Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge.  One of the last places in the United States that has ocelots on its land.  While I didn’t see any of these cats, I did take advantage of the bird blind and got some good shots of a pair of cardinals, and some green jays.  Enjoy.

Published in: on September 30, 2017 at 8:05 pm  Comments Off on Public Lands Day  

Summer Hikes and Wildlife

The summer has begun and I’m going to be out and about trying to hike and catch some wildlife in the wild. I decided to start closer to home, so I visited Hugh Ramsey Nature Park.  I’ve visited this park for the last 2 days, shortly after sunrise.  I’m using a “natural” mosquito repellent that is somewhat effective.  At least it smells better than most repellents, and I believe it works just as well.  There are just so many mosquitoes.  They have been leaving my legs alone but are obsessed with my right elbow (about 9 bites over the course of 2 days).  Well enough about my trials… here are some pictures of the wild life.

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Published in: on June 7, 2017 at 11:26 am  Comments Off on Summer Hikes and Wildlife  

Goliad, Salado and Thanksgiving 

So this trip started out interesting, while loading my truck this morning I locked the door to my kitchen and had to bust the door jam to get back inside.  I’m not looking forward to repairing the door frame.  After that though, the trip was very smooth and the traffic was light.

My first stop was Goliad State Park for  a geocache and to visit the mission I first saw 30 years ago as a middle schooler.  It is much smaller than I remember.  The mission itself was restored in 1935 by the CCC after laying in ruins since the 1800’s.

I then headed over to Round Rock to have lunch with one of my online gaming friends at Kerbey Lane Café.  The coffee was very good and the specialty yam pancakes were as good a the homemade sausage.

I then set off for Salado and my first Bed and Breakfast experience.  The funny thing here is I’m the only person staying here. So I have know one with whom to play cards and I don’t have to negotiate with anyone on what TV show we should watch.

It is now dinner time, sort of, so I setout to find something to eat.  The place suggested by my sister is closed on Monday and Tuesday, so I had to find plan B.  In the process I found this newly opened craft brewery / winery bar.  They don’t serve food, but do allow you to bring it in from the outside.  I chose to head to one of the few places open for dinner and had some BBQ.  Once my hunger was sated I went to quench my thirst at that bar I mentioned.  There were 50+ Texas draft beers on tap and I enjoyed 2 flights of 4 varieties.  All I would drink again.

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Flight Check

I am back at the B&B, writing up these notes and watching the movie 2012 on SyFy.  Breakfast is at 9 AM and after there are a few sites here in Salado I want to see before heading out to a park and do some more geocaching.

Published in: on November 23, 2016 at 7:19 am  Comments Off on Goliad, Salado and Thanksgiving   

July 2016 Final Day

So my trip finally comes to an end I ended with a concert in Dallas I saw a group called Icon for Hire

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and even had some cousins coming to town

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and see it with me.  

Tomorrow I drive home and then back to reality and work and school until next year when I can travel again to some unknown destination

Published in: on August 6, 2016 at 6:59 pm  Comments Off on July 2016 Final Day  
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July 2016 Seattle Day Two

Today I walked from my hotel to the Spaceneedle.  I started my walk at 8 AM so the streets were empty.  I got to the Spaceneedle shortlly after it opened so I headed up for a very chilly look at the city. The slide show below shows the direction and the view from that direction.

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Here are some pictures from two Seattle Museums.  The glass sculptures are from the Chihuly Garden and Glass and the others are from the EMP Museum (Music and Sci-Fi Museum)

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Published in: on August 4, 2016 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on July 2016 Seattle Day Two  
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July 2016 Seattle Day One

August 1, 2016

My train arrived around 11 AM in the morning and I can’t check into my hotel until 4 PM, so the plan?  Take my luggage to the hotel and then explore.

I purchased an Orca card which is the method to pay for public transit.  I like using the multi use passes because I normally get on the wrong bus at least once until I figure out the system.  Google is great at getting you to the bus stops.

The first place I went was the Pike Street Market, I can’t believe people even try to drive down that street.  The fresh produce is amazing.

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Next I tried to visit the original Starbucks but the line is very very long…

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The next place I visited and yes I realize I did some back tracking, but I was just wandering around with no real plan… here is the most disgusting thing I saw..

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yes, that is the gum wall, and the amount of gum that goes up and down this alley on both sides along with the “creativity” of some people making designs is total disgusting… A majority of people walking here said as much, but that didn’t stop too many of them from placing their own piece of gum on the wall.

I spent the rest of the day just wandering the streets and enjoying the cool weather.  Tomorrow is the Spaceneedle and EMP.

Published in: on August 4, 2016 at 9:50 am  Comments Off on July 2016 Seattle Day One  
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