Sunday, June 28, 2009

Montreal - More bicycling and walking

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal. The basilica's dome is 97 meters high, and is second in height only to St. Peter's basilica in Rome. The shrine is dedicated to St. Joseph. Inside, it's large enough to accomodate 10,000 people.

These are the steps leading to the doors. Many people pray the rosary and go up kneeling.

The votive chapel. The church has a history of healing, and there are many canes and crutches in the chapel, from people who used to need them.

After leaving the church we were going to walk up to the park and Mont Royal. A careful re-examination of the map revealed that it was waaaay too far, so we went back and got the truck. Good thing. On our walk we noticed some more of the very dense living quarters one sees in Montreal. These reminded us of something from a Soviet bloc country.

We had a couple of nice days, so we were able to ride. This is the draw bridge to the bike route in its up position. There were many people out, it was a Quebec holiday. The Fete Nationale. I think it used to be a religious holiday, but now it competes with Canada day. We saw an interesting news clip covering a smaller music festival that had required extra security to be provided. Two of the bands were Anglophone and there had been threats against them. One gentleman being interviewed was just livid that there would be English sung at a Quebec holiday. As an aside, although there is an insistence that Quebec is a Francophone society, we have had zero issues with talking to people. After hearing our American tinged "bonjour", about 98 percent of the people we've spoken to switch to English. So, while we can't read anything, we can talk to people.

This is the bridge that goes from the causeway over to the Ile des Soeurs. It's pretty dang cool.

There are two man made islands that can also be reached from the bike way. They were the site of the summer Olympics and have now been turned into a large park. This is the Biosphere Museum, designed by Buckminster Fuller. It's a science and education center.

This is a former Formula One race track. There was racing for 31 years at the Circuit Giles Villeneuve until they were dropped in favor of Abu Dhabi in the 2009 season. It's on one of the two islands and is part of the parks there. It's used now for NASCAR Nationwide series and other classes of racing. The rest of the time it's open to roller bladers and bikes. Many people go there to ride laps on their bikes for exercise because of its nice road surface.

We saw this when we returned to the truck. What, you may ask, is that? It's a marmot. They're all over the place here.

This is a better picture off the web. Doesn't it remind you of Caddy Shack?

Thursday saw another walking tour of Montreal. We got off at Peel and walked Ste. Catherine and Sherbrooke streets. Ooooh la la! Very nice shopping. We saw this at a Olgivy, which is a lovely department store. It's nicely done, it gives one a way to dry the decanter after use and washing.

Olgivy was having a sale on Lacoste alligator clothing. There was a huge line for it. The rest of the store was barely populated, they were all queueing for Lacoste.

Back on the street, we continued walking. This is a statue of Emily Carr and her friends. She was an artist and writer, born in BC.

More Montreal.

More public art.

This building is ancient. They appear to be rehabbing it. All of the interiors are gone. All that's left is the shell.

These are apartments. Is this a cool building or what?

Details on the building.

Detail from the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton on Sherbrooke. It's closed, and is now a condo project.

More Montreal.

Maison des Cyclists. This is at the intersection of the two major bike routes in Montreal. They have a cafe and they have bike guides for the area. We bought one book of Montreal rides and one for the province of Quebec. One wonders if we will use either one due to the climate.

This is the area around the Mont Royal park. It's a younger population than the area around Sherbrooke.

Market at the Metro station.

Friday we drove into Vermont to see what it looks like. It looked wet! The weather here continues rainy with massive thunderstorms. I think it's karmic payback for the beautiful winter we had in Tucson. Anyway, we drove down the spit of land that runs between New York and Vermont. It's signed as the Lake Champlain Bikeway. It would be a great ride. Anyway, the area we saw is quite lovely; lots of lake views, lush and really green.

Is it not a lovely view?

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