Rainy followed by bright intervals

Heavy rain throughout the night and morning escalated this previous tiny trickle to a fast flowing cascade.

Crystal clear life giving stream

Why didn’t I taste it?

The inclement weather kept me indoors for much of the day. When I did venture out it was not much of a day for photography, however, retreating from Mount Royal, I looked up and managed to capture this view of the cross shrouded in low cloud. Atmospheric.

At most, ferrical

After exploring the artisan stores along St Denis it was getting towards supper time a good opportunity to experience some local quisine. I chanced upon this vegetarian/vegan cafe, with just the right amount of quirkiness; I ventured in.

Quaint, quirky and quintessential Quebec.

Not surprisingly they were quite busy but they seated me in a cosy corner and gave me the menu, filling up the glass of water. Such a nice touch.

The menu was full of choice, and of course no need for me to ask lots of questions, as everything was vegetarian. After considering carefully, I chose a pear, onion and cheese sandwich with salad. Then an almond milk chai latte to follow. Good choice? What’s your opinion?

I stated that I enjoyed the ambience. As I was eating, I was aware of two women enjoying a game of Scrabble. I asked if I could take a photo, they were a little shy, but they didn’t mind me showing the gameboard. I was intrigued that they were playing mainly in English: one of them was from England, learning French and her partner was French, practicing her English. I knew Scrabble was a good way to learn!

edf

Nourished by the food and the company, I meandered a way back to the hotel, capturing these lovely examples of street art and street furniture typical of Montreal.

My short stay in Montreal was rapidly coming to a close. The adventures keep coming…stay connected!

Sue




Finding my own way

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’m in!

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.

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Day one: Mount Royal challenge

This was my holiday break within my Canada visit. My family duties were changing as they managed the new routine of work, school, day-care and weekends. Time for me to adventure into pastures new whilst in my beloved country.

After the day of travelling, and wanting some time to adjust I had mentally thought to just relax, spend time in the hotel, enjoy some me time and catch up on writing and correspondence. However, after days of wishing that spring would come more than one day at a time, yesterday dawned as such a day. Far too nice to spend indoors. So, aimed with snacks, reading and phone I chose to explore the immediate area, which just happens to be Mount Royal. I did sit and read for a little while, but then itchy feet wanted to explore and shake off the uncertainties of yesterday’s realisation that this is a different Canada a different culture and the realities of yes, a different language and all that goes with that.

Who can resist the call of green spaces, trails through woodland, a spot of climbing and the promise of views, history unfolding and stories of man made monuments? Not me that’s for sure.

Upwards in more ways than one I took on what was to become an uplifting experience. With each step I became quieter in spirit and began to enjoy the familiarity of walking in nature. This was the rooting and grounding I needed. Gradually I became more confident to acknowledge and enjoy the people sharing the paths with me. I realised that these paths were everyday routes to work, school or just daily forms of exercise.

I easily slipped back into Sue mode and enjoyed noticing people. People going about their everyday business, riding, walking, jogging or running the paths. People with families enjoying time together on a beautiful spring day.

There was a man with his two children, sitting on some rocks at the top of a steep path down, absorbed in his books and papers, whilst his children played, regardless of the danger. To them there was no danger in the familiarity of a favourite place.

There was the young artist, seated with his inks and paper, working on interpreting the scene in front of him, noticing the play of light and shadow, the movement of leaves in the breeze and the powerful stillness of the surrounding height.

There was the man, seated on a bench, in quiet meditation and thought. To him Mount Royal was home and had the sanctity of refuge and familiarity.

There was the dog trotting along obediently behind his master; ignoring the urge to go and follow enticing smells and calls from the underground in favour of walking in faithful communion with his charge.
There was the family with the young baby, whimpering her protest at being carried along in the warm sun, uncomfortable in over protective clothing and bored with this activity.
Here was a youngster, who seemed happily detached from his family, playing happily in the dusty soil, because of the inquisitive nature that drives to understand why making tunnels in the dirt with your head feels so good.

Arriving finally at the destination for today, the Mount Royal chateau, I entered the coolness of the building to have my breath taken away by the open space splendour.

sdr

This was the summit for today. I knew there was so much more for me to enjoy, more secrets to uncover, more lessons to be learned. But I had reached the pinnacle for this occasion. The majesty of the building and the glory of that space fulfilled my sense of longing and adventure for this day, but the promise of more to come gladdened my spirit. However there was just one more beautiful surprise awaiting me….

I chose not to linger at the observation point, which was now quite noisy and busy. My eye was caught by the sight of a lone figure, standing to one side, just her and her camera. Intrigued I walked over slowly and quietly, pausing to ensure I did not disturb her ,’prey’.

Readers that know me will wonder at the discovery I made, that this was what was being filmed so avidly. Down in the wooded undergrowth this little fellow was happily showing off his true colours. Thanks to the wonders of close up photography, at least as much as my Huawei P20 will allow, I am not as close to him as it appears, otherwise, my unexplainable fear of birds would have prohibited the quick shots I did manage before making my retreat.

Now it was time to descend back to the hustle of practical life. But not without making this promise/challenge to myself. That I would explore Mount Royal every day of my stay here. Partly for physical exercise as recent injuries have meant I cannot do my usual exercise routine, but mainly as an exercise in creativity, spiritual and mental stimulation.

Mount Royal: challenge accepted!

Mount Royal challenge.

Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of Sue v Mount Royal