Exploring a new city can be quite daunting. My epiphany moment today was deciding to relax. Not to focus on getting to and visiting as many touristy things as possible, but to be true to myself and experience the culture, life and vibrancy of this city. The positives: I may not feel comfortable speaking the language but I know enough to find may way around, and this may be a different province and culture but it is still Canada. That settled I started out on not just a physical journey but one of spirit and quest.
My morning had started by finishing the book I was reading, “The Murmur of Bees”; the English translation by Simon Bruni of “El murmullo de las abejas” by Sofia Segovia. A soul stirring event that set my mood for the day. (Review on Goodreads).
Then out for the morning Mount Royal Challenge. With some experience of the paths and clad in suitable attire I was able to use some of the less formal routes up. Even though it was fairly early the mount was active with walkers, commuters, riders, runners and questers like myself. Bravely I greeted mainly in French, and then began to play a game of spot the English speakers.
Being off the beaten path allowed me to share these curiosities and treasures.
With spirit refreshed and challenge offering food for thought I was ready to locate nourishment for the body; a self indulgent pastry for breakfast.
After breakfast I was ready for further discoveries and action. I headed in a northeasterly direction, along Ave du Parc until I arrived at the memorial of Sir George Etienne Cartier. It is indeed an imposing art work, and set in surroundings that invite you to sit and relax, work, pause and rest. Hopefully the message of,”Canada must to be a country of freedom and all freedoms must be protected by law. ” can still be held today but I fear I may have to use the cliché, “It’s complicated”.
Walking away from the statue, continuing first North to St Laurent then east along S Laurent described as the “most with-it street in Montreal”. “A true reflection of Canadian Multiculturalism.”
I walked, and browsed, enjoyed the murals, wanted to, but resisted, entering every cafe, restaurant, and tea/coffee shop I encountered,but trying to memorize them for later consideration. I deliberately put my camera away, this time was for enjoying first hand, for indulging my senses in the sights, sounds, smells and feel of the fabric of this clustering of people. The camera in my amateur hands would not do justice to this place. At a later date, when I have tasted more, shared and received more, perceived more and understood my place more, I will use the words God gives me to sing and dance the rhythm of Boulevard du Saint-Laurent.
Later, thoroughly replete with experience and needing a good cuppa I chose a bagel cafe. Unfortunately although the bagels looked amazing, they didn’t suit what I needed at that time. However I did enjoy a cup of tea. Then the camera came out again to add this picture to my collection of possible Little Teasers….. But that’s another story.