Thursday, August 3, 2017

Aug 3--Day 52--For Not Having a Plan, I Saw A Lot!

Big cities can be overwhelming. What to see and do in one day's time? I thought maybe I would take the day off the bike, but to really get around, I needed to ride.


The young man at the front desk gave me a good tourist map of Montreal, and showed me a nice ride along the Lechine Canal. I didn't really need to do that as I will leave the city that way tomorrow. What I wanted to do was find a souvenir shop to get a postcard and maybe a t-shirt for Grayson. 


The hostel includes breakfast, but it doesn't start until 8:15. As usual, I was up well before that. I went to Starbucks for some hot chocolate, then came back for breakfast at the hostel. I had a bowl of fruit and some toast. Tomorrow I'll probably fix my own breakfast (meaning, use my own food), as I won't wait until 8:15.


I rode down to the Old Port area where I had been yesterday. I remembered a place where there would probably be a souvenir shop. Since I was too early, I ended up riding along the canal afterall--enjoying the fresh morning air after last night's rain. There were quite a few people out and about, but not nearly as many as yesterday.

There was one of these signs in Niagara Falls

Bridge over the Lechine Canal



After awhile, I turned around and headed back to Place Jacques-Cartier. Sure enough, there was a souvenir shop, and it was open. I found what I wanted. Place Jacques-Cartier is on a hill. I walked up to the top to take a photo. After that, I saw a sign pointing to the cathedral (Notre Dame), so I rode there. I thought about going in, but there was already a line. 

Place Jacques-Cartier

Statue at the top of Place Jacques-Cartier (strangely, NOT Jacques-Cartier)

Notre Dame Cathedral



I went back toward Jacques-Cartier to the Hotel de Ville (city hall--I think).

Hotel de Ville

It was very humid and getting warm. I'd forgotten to bring a water bottle, so I stopped and got a fruit smoothie. I saw two touring cyclists walk by with their bikes. Like me, they didn't have the bags on, but I could tell they were clearly bike touring. I went over to talk to them. They are from France, and are finishing their ride from Vancouver BC to Montreal. They left May 9th. 


Next I decided I wanted to ride up Mont Royal, the highest point in Montreal.

Mont Royal

I mean, I really had to since I rode up Mt. Defiance in Ticonderoga, NY, and up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia NP. Of the three, Mont Royal was by far the easiest. Not the shortest, but not as steep as the other two. 


The view of the city was great at the Chalet du Mont Royal. I also rode further up to La Croix du Mont Royal (a big cross). The ride down was fun, but the speed limit for bikes was 20km (about 13mph). That was okay because it was a crushed gravel/dirt road, and there were lots of people walking anyway.

The wide path up Mont Royal

There's even a lake on the way up--Lac aux Castors

Pano of Montreal from Mont Royal

La Croix



At the bottom, I pulled out my trusty Tourist map to see how to get to the Olympic Stadium. I'd seen it when I came into Montreal yesterday (I didn't remember that's what it was). It was pretty straight forward on a separated bike lane all the way to the stadium. The stadium seems to be in need of some...TLC. I saw a sign that might have said something about plans to turn the stadium into more of an attraction. I'm not sure though, it was in French.

Stadium tower

With the Olympic Rings



Next to the stadium is the Jardin botanique Montreal (botanical gardens). Since it was well past noon, and I was hungry, I went to the restaurant at the gardens. I had a rather substantial lunch of something resembling lasagna, and a salad. It was good and filling.

Jardin Botanical



I looked at my map again, but it seemed the best way to go back was the way I had come. I'm glad I did because I met Marie. I could see her riding a fully loaded bike ahead of me. I caught up to her at a light. This is the first day of her tour. She lives north of Montreal. She looked to be my age. She is only the second solo female I've met on this tour.





I worked my way back to the hostel, arriving at the time I usually finish for the day (3:00). For this DWFP, I rode 24 miles. Of course, I'm sure there are many other things to see, but I feel like I've gotten a pretty good feel of the city. I'm ready to move on tomorrow. 

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