Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Canada Trip Day 17: Boulevard René-Lévesque, Montreal

29 June 2010 - After settling our stuff in HI-Montreal, we wasted no time in exploring the city. But first, we were hungry from the long train ride and found ourselves being ushered by a lovely Chinese man in to a Vietnamese restaurant named Restaurant Caravelle located at a basement along Rue Crescent. We ordered the dinner set of fried spring rolls and Vietnamese pho. I love pouring all of the chilli paste and the fresh vegetables into the scalding hot soup and stirring everything together. It feels a little like cooking, which makes the meal somewhat fun. While the pho was not as good as the one in in Surrey, it was still good. The meal was pleasantly enjoyable, thanks to the nice food and the almost empty, modest but comfortable restaurant.

As dusk was soon upon us, we wondered along Boulevard René-Lévesque, passing landmarks such as the Centre Bell building, which is a sports complex and is also home to the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens hockey team, Basilique-cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde de Montréal (Cathedral-Basilica of Mary, Queen of the World) and Place Ville-Marie, which forms the nexus to the world's largest underground city in the world with access to a thousand over shops.

Photo credits belong to Sakana.

Parking payment stand

Entrance of Caravelle Restaurant

Interior of Caravelle Restaurant

Public rental bikes

Basilique-cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde de Montréal

Dorchester Square with a monument tribute to Laurier

Abstract sculpture of a woman's body nude on the fountain, located at the centre of a square where the entrances to the underground city are.

Close-up of the abstract sculpture at Place Ville Marie

An entrance leading to Montreal's underground city

Shops and eateries populated the spaces in the underground city

Underground floor plan and this is not it! It doesn't show the other parts such as Centre Eaton, Place Bonaventure, Bell Centre and many more!

Wandering around the underground city at Place Ville-Marie

Having ice cream at every city we visited is becoming a habitual practice. We are having it at Laura Secord Chocolates.

Laura Secord Chocolates has two ice cream counters! How exciting!

Walking back to the hostel, we passed Basilique-cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde de Montréal again.

Busy Boulevard René-Lévesque

Building of Aéroports de Montréal, main airport authority in Montreal, on the left.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Canada Trip Day 17: Hosteling International in Montreal

 29 June 2010 - HI-Montreal may have been a bit of a walk from the Montreal Central Station, taking about 20 minutes, it is just about a block away from high street Rue Sainte-Catherine O where all of the major shopping labels are located, including entrances into the largest underground city in the world which houses a network of shopping centres. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes walk to the wonderful Parc du Mont-Royal (Wikipedia), passing some of world class McGill University buildings along Avenue des Pins O.

Like the other HI hostels in Canada, this one has all the facilities any modest traveler would need. The usual laundry, cooking, Internet and storage facilities are provided in addition to a whole load of other organised activities. We had an en-suite room, which we were much happy about.

We stayed with a rather difficult room mate who complained a lot and was less understanding. She was quite uppity about how the hostel was cheap and she could not expect too much but had to stay a few nights to visit a friend. She was pleasant in a way but she had her moments. We were quite happy to leave Montreal after three nights of tension there.

All photos are taken by Sakana.

How to get from Montreal Central Station to HI-Montreal

View Larger Map

We were greeted by a colourful mural facing the front door

Lobby/Reception. Mum was exhausted from the walking and quickly planted herself comfortably on a couch

Signboards to direct us to rooms

Our room operated by a key card

Lockers in the room

Our bunk beds

Door leading to the en-suite bathroom

Basement where the kitchen is

Fridges and vending machines in the kitchen

Pool table in the kitchen and breakfast served at the counter

Dining area

Kitchen looking clean and tidy

Mum making cup noodles. There are food storage spaces available, stoves, toasters and a microwave oven.

Food label

Stoves and crockery

Right outside the hostel, there is the bicycle sharing system (community bicycle programs). These ones are run by Bixi.

They charge by time and it's pre-paid. Check out how it works here.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Canada Trip Day 17: From Quebec City to Montreal

29 June 2010 - We took a ViaRail train from Quebec City to Montreal, which cost us about CAN$50 for a one way ticket. The train ride took about three hours. Sakana takes pictures of pretty much everything, even of the toilets. She even made a video of the swirling motion of the water of the toilet flush, which she found fascinating. 0_o

What I love about train rides is the passing countryside which one misses when traveling by air. We passed some nice rivers, farm and country houses. In Canada, I particularly like watching those big trailer trucks going on the highway. They are so terrifyingly huge, they literally look unstoppable. 

Some photos are taken by Sakana.

Leaving Quebec City at Gare du Palais Station

Train cabin

Train toilet

Mum checking her bills

Electric sockets for computers in Canada trains

Sakana and I trying to make ourselves comfortable by extending our legs towards the facing seats

An industrial area

Construction site

Electrical substation

Bridges and electricity pylons


Bridge across a river

Another bridge across a river

Suburban Canadian houses

Eyot in a river

Trailer truck on a highway

Railway tracks taken from the back of the train

Silver trailer truck

Blurry photo of pickup truck

Murals on a building wall

Road closed for passing train

Farm house and barn

Arriving in Montreal

Montreal Central Station, located next to Place Bonaventure in De la Gauchetière Street