{Trip Report} Montreal is not Paris

Scenario: It seems sacrilegious to post this report since I haven’t yet publicly documented the Big Island or Sanibel, but I was strongly motivated for some odd reason to write about this most recent adventure. Montreal has been in our sights since we lived in New Hampshire. I had always heard it was a city reminiscent of Paris, so it intrigued me. Last year, I decided we HAD to check it out. Ultimately, Christmas break seemed the most logical considering our remaining vacation time. In the end, we booked a two night stay.

Friday– We loaded the car and set out from NY for Montreal by 9 a.m. With no winter weather to delay us, the four hour drive was quite smooth. Nick wasn’t feeling 100% (too much Christmas egg nog), so I drove the entire way. The wait at the border was less than 10 minutes, and we had a pleasant agent interview us. The 1000 Islands looked quite pretty as we crossed the handful of tall bridges from the USA to Ontario. It is on my list of places to check out one summer. The Canadian portion of the drive was simple thanks to my GPS which still worked in airplane mode since I had downloaded the map prior to crossing the border.
As we approached the city, the traffic picked up and Nick kept remarking, “It looks like WWIII.” I agree, there were industrial areas, graffiti, trash, and an abundance of train tracks. The gray day did not improve the scenery. We did experience a couple hiccups though once we got to Montreal. I had selected 3 restaurants to try, but once we got to Montreal, they were all closed!

Closed 😦

What a disappointment! In fact, everything seemed to be closed due to the holiday season. We were starved by this point since it was nearly 2pm so we had to settle on a less than desirable place. As expected, the food was subpar and I left most of my poutine untouched. Once we had some sustenance (Nick ate everything on his plate) we were in better spirits to explore this new city.

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Xander visits Niagara Falls

I haven’t updated this site in a long time… so here we go!

Niagara Falls 2010

Niagara Falls 1980-something (Me, my bro Gwyn & my mom)

Over Father’s Day weekend, Nick and I took Xander to Niagara, Canada to see “the big waterall.” We opted to visit the Canadian side of Niagara which is far better than the USA side (better views and more things to do). A trip to Niagara Falls wouldn’t be complete without a up close and personal view of the falls on-board the Maid of the Mist! This boat tour dates back to the 1800s and is the only boat tour available to visiting tourists. It starts near the Rainbow bridge, continues past the American Falls/Bridal Veil Falls until entering the soaking mist of the powerful Horseshoe Falls. It’s quite the experience for $14.95 per person (Xander was free!).

We hoped on the 7pm boat tour and were handed disposable blue ponchos (much better than the wet moldy yellow raincoats that were used in the 1980s when I first visited Niagara). These things don’t offer much protection since they are lightweight and loosely fitted. Well, they aren’t fitted at all! They are like wearing a big plastic shower curtain! And the wind created from the power of the falls causes them to blow up like Marilyn Monroe’s dress in The Seven Year Itch!

2010 ponchos: its a trashbag, no its a shopping bag, no its a plastic shower curtain!

1980-something ponchos: cold & moldy

We positioned ourselves on top of the Maid of the Mist so Xander could get a clear view of the waterfalls and rainbows that were created in the mist. He was in heaven! He loves being on a boat!  When we entered the Horseshoe Falls it began to POUR on us! “Is it raining?!” Xander asked us. And I kept telling him “No, it’s the waterfall getting us wet!” After a few minutes (or was it seconds?) standing in this monsoon, we decided to go downstairs for cover. I was a bit concerned about ruining the expensive camera I was clutching under the shower curtain! We enjoyed the Horseshoe falls MUCH BETTER from below deck where we were protected from the falls’ wet wrath. Xander was a little bit dazed and confused but he had a grand time visiting Niagara!

enjoying the ride, the falls and the rainbows

soaked and a little confused

Weekend fun

Mark, Julia, and Nick have been killed by the weekend.

Mark, Julia, and Nick have been killed by the weekend.

If a picture can really speak a thousand words, then let the pic above sums up our weekend. Our Canadian friends flew in on Friday for a long weekend visit and boy, we partied like rock stars. Our backyard is a mess… lawn chairs, Baggo, tables, empty beer cans and other party-paraphernalia litter the lawn. Our recycling bin is full, our wallets empty, and our bodies sick of loud music, alcohol and little-to-no sleep. We had a blast hanging out and catching up, though. We made lots of memories! And Xander loved all the attention, hugs, and new faces. He truly knows how to ‘ham’ it up for our guests. Thanks for the visit guys and let’s do it again soon!

Dolled up and ready for the Martini Bar!

Dolled up and ready for the Martini Bar!

the ladies

the 'ladies'

the boyz

the boyz