Sunday, May 11, 2008

Montreal, Again

I've been doing a lot of traveling over the last 5 weeks: Atlanta, Dallas, Austin, New York (see my Central Park in the Spring album), Nashville (see album - all taken INSIDE a building), San Diego and last week Montreal.

I've been to Montreal many times before and believed I've seen every corner worth touring there. I was wrong.

I met my parents after not seeing them for months. They asked me to arrange "an interesting" daily trip. We've been to downtown and the Old City several times before. We've seen the waterfront. We've been to Mont. Tremblant. We've spent a couple of days touring Quebec City last time we met. But I had to find something "new" this time.

If I haven't said so before, Montreal and Quebec are the closest you'll get to a European city without crossing the ocean. The ambiance is a mazing. The architecture is varied. And the coffee is good (sorry - couldn't find a good espresso anywhere in the US - if you know of one, leave me a comment).

I started my search by putting up the map of Montreal on the screen and diving into the green areas. The mont. Royal park is amazing - and crowded (similar to Central Park). The Angrinon park is nice, but empty - just a big green space. Then I saw Parc Jean-Drapeau. It's spread over 2 islands in the St. Laurent river - Ile Ste. Helene and Ile de Notre Dame. The islands are connected by 2 bridges, that also connect them to Montreal itself on both sides.

Ste. Helene island is amazing - a green lung in the middle of the river. You can hike, bike, visit the old fort, or the Biosphere (the site of the Montreal Expo 67). We just walked around and had a picnic in one of the deserted areas. I even saw some beavers (sadly, they wouldn't wait for me to focus my camera before escaping - pretty fast for their size).

From the island we continued to the Biodome, right next to the Montreal Olympic Stadium.

The Biodome is a unique natural environment. It's divided into 4 climate zones, separated by airtight double doors. Each zone contains the flora and fauna unique to it. You can see birds, monkeys, a gator and plenty of fish.

All in all, it was a great day and a recommended tour. See the rest of the photos here.

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