Saturday, July 07, 2012

Getaway, part 1

I can count on one hand the times G and I have left our kids overnight.

Once when S was a baby, we went all the way to beautiful Provo for an adoption conference. That was for one night.

Once when we were both at UC Merced, we needed to go to Yosemite at the same time for work.

Once we came to Montana to look for a house.

Once (last week) we went to Montreal for a few glorious days, just to be together and have fun.

Guess which trip was my favorite?

Here's a brief rundown:

Sunday morning, G flew from Bozeman to Montreal to attend a geochemistry conference. He gave his paper Tuesday afternoon. I'm sure it was brilliant.

While he was presenting, I was driving down I-15 with four kids in the van and four bikes strapped on or stuffed in in various ways. The wind blew hard and it was slightly scary. I am still amazed that we didn't lose any bikes along the way.

After a quick stop for lunch in Idaho Falls and getting to hug and say hi to my awesome friend Susanne, I dropped off my littler kids with my sister M1 in Ogden. (I love Ogden, and my sister has the most adorable, cozy, homey house in a gorgeous neighborhood!)  Although I'd worried a little bit about how K and Z would do, they seemed to settle in well and I took the older two boys down to my parents' house in Murray in time for dinner - fabulous pizza made by my mom. I still have to get her crust recipe. Best ever.

The next morning, my dear wonderful mother took me to the airport at an ungodly hour and I got on a plane. I flew to Dallas and got stuck there for a while, but was rerouted on a direct flight to Montreal and got there only half an hour later than planned. I used my airport time and flying time for some fiction writing I have been working on, so it felt productive and good. By the time I took the 747 Express Bus into town and dropped my things off in our great bargain of a sweet little old hotel, the Hotel St.-Denis, we had time for a late dinner.

The hotel desk clerk steered us to Le Saint-Bock, a pub up the street. Turns out, lucky for us, Rue St.-Denis is a dining hub of sorts (with lots of bars and partying as a side benefit). We ate salad with goat cheese, caramelized onions and a beer-honey vinaigrette, and pizza with chicken, pesto and blue cheese. I wouldn't have thought of putting pesto and blue cheese together - holy strong flavors, Batman! - but it was tasty and satisfying. I could see how it was definitely meant to go with beer, as that is what the Saint-Bock is really all about, but we did not partake. The place was crowded and hot for those not used to humidity, but the service was good and the atmosphere was kind of exciting.

So my Day 1 in Montreal was really just a plane, a bus, and dinner, but you know, not bad!

I told Dr. G I had two goals for my two full days in the city: to see old churches, and to eat some really great food. Thursday morning we dived right in with an amazing breakfast at La Brioche Lyonnaise. I had a divine ratatouille with a runny egg and fruit and some toasted baguette slices on the side. Glenny had crepes with lemon and sugar. We shared an amazing hot chocolate. It is hard to say what I found so great about this place. The food was simple but perfect. The environment was so delightful, so not-of-this-continent - exposed brick walls, an outdoor dining area, a garden room with a glass ceiling, a case of amazing-looking pastries and chocolates. Great service, of course. It was the perfect hello to my first day in Montreal.

We ambled around for a little while, taking in the experience of walking around in a busy, lively city and checking out the St. Lawrence river adjacent to the oldest part of Montreal, then landed at Notre Dame de Montreal.

That's me in the plaza.

After some debate, we purchased tickets for a guided tour so that we would be able to go up into the balconies and other parts of the basilica that are not open to the general public. It was a great choice. Tomorrow I'll pick up with the highlights of the tour.


Marta said...

I think you've found a new writing genre: travel. :) Can't wait to read the recap of the rest of your trip!

Valerie said...

The food - man alive the food you're describing. I should stop reading, I haven't had dinner yet.

And, I think you hit on something important. If there is ever a question about taking a guided tour, one should always do it. I nad to miss a Sound of Music tour in Austria to find that out. Good for you.