Whom & How

Sometimes, we just lose focus and get deceived by all kinda packaging. Sometimes, a get-away is what we need to bring the 20/20 back

The Montreal trip does serve the purpose, and I DO know from the bottom of my heart, know the "whom" and "how".

Canada to Hong Kong

Goodbye Canada!

12:00 flight to Narita, Tokyo

18:40 flight to HKG

It’s a lot more relaxing than the transfer I had in Beijing or Vancouver before. Although it’s a 3-hour wait, they got nice restaurants and shops, which make the whole experience relatively painless.

The services of ANA is a lot better than Air Canada, Air China, Cathay Pacific, etc.  Even though my flight was operated by Air Japan, the low cost subsidiary of ANA, what they served were a lot better, from food to washroom products.  For instance, they constantly offer Tropicana and green tea instead of water.

Back to Canada – Day 7

The plan was to leave early on that day to avoid the traffic and it turned out to be another half-day sightseeing self tour. 

We headed back to the old Montreal area for brunch, at a restaurant specializing in fondue and crepe. To my surprise, they even have the so called Oriental fondue, which is basically cheese fondue with the soup base being changed to beef stock.  It’s nothing like what we have in HK.

I really tried hard to have something light for the last day in Montreal and ordered a green apple walnut salad. Crispy and fresh!

The final destination in Montreal is the Bascilica of Montreal, the oldest church in Montreal. The whole building was built by wood, and took basically 3 years to build (excluding winter time).  The final touch, which covered every corner of the church took another 6 years. The stories related to the church are fascinating, which I would suggest some online searches for everyone.

The ladies working at there are all very knowledgable about the church and the audio tour is a must for everyone visiting.

It took about 6 hours to drive back to Highway 25 and QEW intersection where Harald picked me up at Timmy.  On the way to his home, we stopped at a supermarket and I found something new and cool! Yellow rasberry, yah!

Back to Canada – Day 6

The last full day in Montreal, well at least it was planned so, and it would be an artistic day.

We went to a bistro, soupesoup, located in a basement near the museum we would visit, Musee Des Beaux-Arts De Montreal.  Both the soups and toasts we ordered were wonderful there. Sean had a Aubergines et parmesan while I had a Lentilles Molesienne.  We also had a Poudding Chomeur as dessert.  I was told it’s something unique to Quebec.

Musee Des Beaux-Arts De Montreal is housed in 2 buildings, situtated on both side of Rue Sherbrooke. Too bad that one of the buildings is closed for renovation but the special exhibition on Napolean is nice, at least in North American standard.

Afterward, we did some shopping on Rue Saint Catherine, where you can find all the major brands, from Burberry to H&M. Italian was the protagonist of the nite. Baked vegetable soup and buffalo tenderloin. I found the sauce for the buffalo dish is a bit too sweet. All in all, it was still a pleasant dinner.

Back to Canada – Day 5

It was supposed to be a big day as we plan to go to the Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville for the nature.

Well, 1st thing in the morning was to visit post office as I really needa send the postcards out (it’s for you, Jenny). Too bad they ain’t willing to give me a postmark for the postcard without address.

for some reasons we’d visit the post office again 🙂

On the way back to the hotel to collect our car, we just grabbed something simple for breakfast, simple but reasonable. lol

Montreal autoroute system is indeed confusing. Our attempts to get to the island all ended in a failure.  We got so close to that it’s almost touchable but still had to give up in the end.

The observatory and biodome, which were built as part of the Olympic game buildings, became our next targets. To avoid the "uncharted" highway, we got back to the city centre and drove inside the city instead.  Although it took twice as long, at least we got there

The structures of all Olympic game buildings are marvellous and a friendly assistant of the observatory speaks 10+ different language and his cantonese is neat.  The cable car of the observatory is intriguing.  It has two decks and still looks very modern after 20+ years since it was built.

The Biodome is divided into 4 ecosystems, which are tropical rain forest, Laurentian forest, St Lawrence Marine and Arctic & Antarctic. They really did a good job in designing the dome, e.g. the ventilation shaft is just like a tree trunk and blends in with the surroundings. 

My trip in Montreal got a little bit scary as after I got back to the hotel, I noticed my camera wasn’t with me anymore and every part of the car was searched.  Leaving me no choice, I decided to go back to places visited in the morning and it turned out that my camera was left at the post office.

Dinner of tonite is the best meal throughout the trip. A restaurant with more than 280 years of history, Pierre du Calvet, serves fine French cuisine. The dark rum they served was wonderful; just by having it on the rocks would bring out the aromatic taste of it.

I had a portabella mushroom salad to begin with, and a braised rabbit meat as the entree. This rabbit dish is a lot better than the dish at Watermark in HK.  For dessert, I was all in for peach sorbet, which was house-made and very smooth.  The wine we had was a 2006 Chateau Garraud.  My friend also ordered something I did find it quite special, elk meat. Yummy.

Back to Canada – Day 4

The real adventure in Montreal began…….
I did not check any maps or tour guides and since my friend gotta get a strap for his camera, we headed to a direction that I saw a very traditional Chinese style building.  After getting what he gotta buy at the camera shop, we walked over to the traditional Chinese style building and it turned out to be the Holdiay Inn, which is kinda neat to non-Chinese.  A block or two up is the main street of Chinatown.  Everything is quite condensed compared to the San Francisco or Toronto Chinatown, and it is a lot cleaner too.
We then wandered around the area until my friend saw a nice classical building and we decided to get close to it and take a look at it.  Thanks to that, we discovered a very nice place for crepe, called Cafe Crepe located on Rue Norte Dam.  My aubergine, sausage and sundried tomato crepe was cooked to almost perfect, so was the espresso dopio.  What they offers do totally worth more than what we paid for.
A block down, to the side of the waterfront, we noticed a massive building, Gallerie des Metiers d’Art which hosts a wide variety of shops selling souvenir, stone display, Inuit Art etc.  Things are nice but pricey.  A walk along the Rue St. Paul would give everyone the spirital yearn for art.  Lots of wonderful galleries could be found there and even shops selling dragon and various medival time clothing etc. 
I noticed a shop in basement selling silver and gold made jewellery and almost all items selling at that shop are one of the piece.  I was very lucky to find a ring I really love and I do find it worth every single penny that was paid.  This artist prefers to create everything by single plate of silver or gold, by folding and twisting.  He was also very generous and demonstrated to us how he came up with ideas and the whole process of getting the products on display.  There is also a nice grocery store selling organic items there and the chocolate mousse cake is good, though not great.
After enjoying the cake at the hotel and dropped off everything that we got, we walked to St Parick Basilica, a small and second Basilica in Montreal.  It is relatively uncommon to have more than 1 Basilica in the same city.  To relax a bit, we decided to go to Mont Royal region and follow the suggested walking route according to the guide book.  The suggested route brought us to experience a lot of interesting shops, from bakery to orgainic tea shops.  We also visited Parc Lafortaine, which is a stunning place for photos, especially in the summer or with snow.
Dinner (yes, I know, it’s about eat again)…. Afgan food.  The resturant is called Khyber Pass and just the entrance itself would draw you into the restaurant.  The food itself, which was tastes a lot lighter than I expected (not sure if it is adapted to the Canadian taste), was still delicious.  Pilaf, using 3 different balsamic rices, and the saffron did bring the simple thing a notch up.
Station Beaudry, the Church equivalent is the last thing on the agenda.  Weekdays, as usual, won’t see a big crowd and I was there a bit early too.  Next time, maybe next time.

Back to Canada – Day 3

Got up early to renew my driver’s licence as it was the first day 6 DriveTest Centres provide limited services for people again since the strike had gone on.  I got there just before nine (they opened at 8:30) and there were already >100 people lining up.  The ridiculous thing was that they only let 2 people in every 10 minutes so everyone was waiting outside… in a cold wind blwoing environment.  If ya wanna know more about the strike, do some googling.  Anyway, got my licence renewed after waiting 6 hours in line and headed to Quebec.
Getting to Quebec ain’t without hiccups.  We got lost in the Montreal highway as it is one of the most confusing highway systems I have experienced.  We got to the hotel at 9p.m., and as soon as I dropped off my stuff, we headed out to search for something for our poor stomach.  Hotel staff recommended Holder or any restaurance in the same street.  As we strolled along there, Holder did catch our attention.  Holder it was then!
I had a french onion soup to start with and a medium cooked calf liver with balsamic sauce as the entree.  Both of them are wonderful, especially the french onion soup, something easy to make but difficult to make it good.  Medium cooked calf liver, which is an interesting experience.