I, for whatever reason, hate the term "babymoon". I have no valid explanation for why, I just do. However, after much hemming and hawing, I suppose I can admit that a babymoon was what this trip was. To be fair, though, our credit card recently expired which meant that all of the thank-you points we'd accrued were going to expire as well. What to do when you have expiring points and a baby on the way that will not let you just up and take a vacation? You go to Canada, of course! We had originally wanted to go to Europe, but decided that with a pregnant lady in tow, we should probably stay a little closer (plus, what fun is Paris if you can't have some wine?). Since Montreal is only a 2 hour flight yet has the French thing going for it, that's where we headed. We were able to use our points to get our flights and hotel (and enough left over to upgrade to a hotel suite) so when we arrived, we had not yet spent a dime (or a loonie or a toonie).
We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and after we got situated at Le Hotel Crystal, we spent the next few hours walking around and discovering our new neighborhood (we stayed in Centre-Ville/ Downtown). First thing we noticed is how incredibly quiet it is there. No constant honking, no road rage yelling jerks. We felt like we should be whispering to each other as we walked down the street. Even their subway system is quiet. It's also extremely clean. Even though a ton of people smoke there, the street isn't littered with cig stubs (they actually have specific trash cans for cigarettes) and the parks aren't littered with, well, litter. Montreal also has these guys:
Here are a few randoms from our first day:
Even though it is starting to get chilly there, the majority of restaurants have terraces you can have dinner on, so that is what we did on the first night. They just turn on the heat lamps to keep you cozy. Plus, since you don't have the incessant honking and yelling you do in American cities, it was quite enjoyable. Again, we felt like we should be whispering over dinner.
Before I get into day 2, I have a belly-watch update. Here I am at 20 weeks:
While in Montreal, the kiddo started kicking, which is the strangest feeling but also really exciting. My belly button also no longer looks like the one I have known for the past 31 years, which is actually the weirdest thing to me so far. Think about it- what if one day your nose just totally changed shape? Trust me, it's weird.
Anyway, on with the trip. Thursday we headed out to explore Vieux-Montreal and Vieux-Port. Our first stop was Basilique Notre-Dame, which has been around since 1824. Our love of these old, amazing churches began in Italy and this one did not disappoint. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves:
These are from the second chapel:
This is the best outside pic we could manage since they are doing construction:
Afterwards, we went to this Christmas store...
...to pick up some nice ornaments for the tree.
Michael spent some quality time with this guy...
...then we realized we hadn't had poutine in, like, 8 hours so we sat down for more.
What's that? I haven't discussed poutine yet? Well it's only like the most amazing food ever. It's the comfort food of Quebec and it is ridiculous. It is fries topped with cheese curds and gravy and it is delish. At this point, we'd been in Montreal less than 24 hours and had devoured this at two different meals (with more to come). I started to picture the baby pulling on the umbilical cord for more poutine if too much time had gone by in between meals.
By the way, we kept seeing this sign everywhere. Anyone?
Our best guesses:
1. Teeter totter parking
2. Designated clacker ball area
3. Broken scissors depository
4. Rolling tv tray pickup
That night we had dinner at Au Pied de Cochon, which was fantastic. It was a recommendation from our friends, Eric & Courtney, not to mention that it made this list. We stuffed ourselves with French onion soup (a cream-based version that tasted like a four-course meal in itself), foie gras poutine, and shared a dish of pig shoulder that almost took up the entire table.
Before I wrap up the first half of the trip, I have to give a shout out to a couple of things at our hotel...
This little guy (our in-room espresso machine):
This big guy (who made the espresso every morning):
Making this girl very happy each morning:
As well as the hot tub that was so welcoming at the end of each long day of walking:
I should have the remainder of the trip up soon, I just need to take a break so I can put up my fall decorations. Yep, lots of important things to do around here.