Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 12th – Montreal Part Deux

What a fantastique day. Our lovely friend Manon kindly volunteered to be our local guide to the day, and to show us a few things that tourists don't normally see on a visit to Montreal.

We started with a trip up to Mont Royal (the hill that gave the town its name) to see its unrivalled views over the city down below – the leaves of the trees were turning some beautiful goldens, yellows, oranges and reds. Then, we travelled out of town, into the tree-covered Laurentian Mountains, where the autumnal colours were even more impressive. We were fairly glad to discover that the ski lift that we'd intended on taking up to the top of the mountain was only open at the weekend, because it was even colder than yesterday, so dangling on an open chairlift would have frozen us solid. In fact, it had actually started snowing gently – I think that this was the first snow I've enjoyed in my cruising experience.

Instead, we took an exhilarating hike along a trail beside the icy Doncaster River, through some rugged terrain in amongst the autumnal trees. This was about as unspoilt as you can get, plus the exertion kept us from getting cold – truly beautiful.

Manon's brother lives close-by in a beautiful house in the mountains, so we popped in to say bonjour. As a wonderful surprise for us, he was preparing a superb meal for us all, with his three impeccably behaved children. As we drank wine, talked the night away, and enjoyed the homely family atmosphere, it couldn't have felt further away from being on a cruise ship. A perfect end to a lovely day!