Day 119 Montreal, Quebec: Like a Local Now (Almost) - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

August 27, 2011

Day 119 Montreal, Quebec: Like a Local Now (Almost)

My eyes opened quite early, body ready for another day of cycling. I realized quickly, though, that I was in my "familiar" sofa bed at Josh and Sabrina's. So no wet tent to pack up and nowhere to go, exactly.

I picked up the netbook from between my head and Dodie's, where it had lulled us with Big Bang Theory for the 3 seconds it took for us to fall asleep at 2 a.m. the night before. I fired up first Nancy Rice's account of the part of the route we had done yesterday. There it all was, though in reverse: The Velo centre on Rachel Street, The Biosphere, the bicycle overpass spiral thingy, the getting lost in Vaudreuil, the Chambly Canal, the getting lost in St. Jean, the beautiful but lonely Monteregiade trail to Farnham, the cows!

I switched over to Jeff Arnhim's most recent entry. In it, he is one day from home. I appreciated again his insightful writing, drew inspiration from it.

Finally, I checked on Trish Graham. She is currently doing pretty much the trip we are planning for next year - a river route across Europe. I scanned the images of canals and paved level paths, elegant food, quaint streets. Mmmmmm.

Dodie woke up enough to tell me where the keys to the bikes were, and I went down to them, freeing mine from its BoB. I headed out toward the St. Viateur bagel branch on Mount Royal. The commuter bike with Schwalbe 700x40 tires is heavy, but now without its load it leapt forward like a puppy.

Now spoiled by the Quebec bike culture, I headed immediately for the Rachel Street bike path, never thinking to brave an ordinary non-bike pathed street. I zoomed west and then jogged north to the bakery.

The Rachel Street bike path.
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On Mount Royal I realized that here on a Saturday morning at 8:30 the Montrealers were still sleeping off their wine and cheese from last night. No danger from them until they would arise later to search out croissants or stock up on fashionable clothing.

Mount Royal Street. Montreal is still asleep at 8:30 a.m.
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I ordered my dozen sesame, dozen poppy, Liberty cream cheese, and lox - in French of course.

Fresh bagels at St. Viateur Cafe on Mount Royal Street.
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Then I remounted the bike and cruised right down the middle of this main street, passing the now familiar fruit stores, bakeries, toy stores, etc. I passed the Royal Bank where Cameron had exchanged his $76 oh US money. There have been no entries on his blog for a long time. hmmm. I hope he is OK!

I crossed the Sherbrooke Street thoroughfare on the red light. No problem, no one around. At what time does Montreal plan on waking up today?

Back home, our own Montreal contingent was also still asleep, though Dodie was quietly reading Sue Rice in bed. Now, though, near 10, all are enjoyng the bagels, and they are wondering why I already have so much to report. You, of course, now know.

By 3 p.m. both we and the city were sufficiently awake for a foray to the local small farmers' market. Unlike in B.C. where all the action and the good produce can be gone by 10, this market does not even open until 10. Unlike the massive Jean Talon and Atwater versions, the co-op market at Joshua and Sabrina's corner offers only about 15 vendors. These vendors as is customary here do not include any crafters, and each one has a lot of high quality stuff.

Lots of good produce
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Montreal attracts people from French speaking countries around the world.
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An extensive bill of fare at one vendor. Probably the "bananes" are not local though.
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Josh and Sabrina score two pieces of high quality local cheese.
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There is also a man doing BBQ of chicken, fish, and pork. Again, in true Quebec style, you do not just walk up and ask for a chicken burger, or whatever. Rather you sit at a table and a waiter (yes, waiter) gives you a little menu. You order a plated dish that will include grilled peppers and zuchinni, potatoes, and tomato. Today the market was also boiling up infinite quantities of large very sweet corns, and giving them away. Boiled sweet corn offered outdoors is as Quebec as it gets (except for "tarte au sucre" - sugar pie!).

Boiled corn, yummmm. And free, too.
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Our picnic BBQ order is still presented with style.
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The market also included some traditional Quebec music. Dodie worked on getting Amelia to appreciate what will be her native culture:

The T-Shirt says "Traditional French Canadian Music"
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Amelia learns to dance
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Just in case you are wondering what this has to do with cycling:

There is bike repair at the market too
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Way back in Weyburn, Saskatchewan we escaped the flooding together with a cyclist from Holland who we dubbed at the time The Flying Dutchman. This was Juul, who had started in Calgary and who was headed for Montreal. An experienced cyclist, Juul was much faster than us. We managed to stop at the same spots as him for a few days, though, by putting in much longer hours. At those stops we shared some adventures and some meals. Finally Juul pulled ahead, seemingly for ever. We stayed in sporadic contact, though, and now found that we were both in Montreal. Juul will fly home Tuesday. So we managed to get together one last time tonight, at Josh and Sabrina's.

After four or five hours of comparing notes, we walked Juul back to his hotel. We hope to find him again - next year in Holland. It was strange to realize that as we talked, Juul was closer to his home in Europe than we are to our home in Canada. Soon he will be there, and we will still be on the road. It's starting to feel a bit lonely out here (except of course for Josh, Sabrina, and Amelia!).

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