Kicked off today with a trip back out towards the Olympic Stadium to the Jardin botanique de Montreal or Botanical Gardens as us English speakers would say. I was kind of hoping for some amazing photo opportunities as the gardens are huge - second only in size in the world to Kew Gardens in my old stomping ground of London, UK.
I wasn't all that fussed with what I found, however, and actually found the whole experience to be a little odd as I kept coming across weird looking men wearing nothing other than pairs of budgie smugglers individually partaking in some kind of martial art ritual. Hmmmm... odd.
Next stop for the day was an arty floral and sculpture exhibition set along a sort of wharf in front of an old decaying dock factory down in the old town. I couldn't seem to find any literature in English that I could use to tell you more on here, so just go with me when I say it was colorful and fragrant from where I stood on the waterfront walkway. Turns out they wanted $14.50 admission for me to get in there and actually take some photos. That would have blown my daily budget out of the water, hence no photos. Sorry.
"After hearing the almighty screams of engines behind the makeshift fences over the past couple of days, I figured there must be some serious petrol head activity going on in there..."
The last remaining stop on my list of things to do for the morning was return to the bottom of Crescent Street to visit the F1 associated "BMW Pitt Lane Experience". After hearing the almighty screams of engines behind the makeshift fences over the past couple of days, I figured there must be some serious petrol head activity going on in there which, in my mind, equated to something that was going to be expensive to check out. Then I found out yesterday that the whole thing is free admission.
As luck would have it, of course, by the time I got back there today, half the fencing had been taken down revealing a pretty empty set of stands and marquees – everything was being packed up already.
So... yet again no photos for you.
In the afternoon, I headed to the foot of Mont Royal to check out Tam-Tams Jam, a weekly Sunday afternoon ritual where a collection of hippies and other free spirited individuals get together to bang drums and dance to their own beats. I'd heard about this from a number of people on my travels throughout the East already, so naturally I was keen to check it out for myself.
What I found was not only the aforementioned individuals doing their thing, but also armies of medieval, gaffer-tape-sword wielding nutters who proceeded to faceoff and beat the living daylights out of one another! And, to round things off nicely, a gaggle of chess playing geeks making use of the shaded areas towards the base of the mountain. It was all pretty bizarre, but the thousand or so people who were enjoying every minute of it (including myself and all the crew from last night) proved that being a little different was AOK!
We decided to continue the trend of practicing off-beat activities (in this case unusual to the Quebecois surrounding us) when Jesse produced a Sherrin (Australian Rules Football) from his backpack and we proceeded to play a little kick-to-kick in the searing heat. It was a really fun afternoon and something that I highly recommend to anyone who's passing through Montreal on a Sunday in the Summer.
The only way to quench a killer footy-induced thirst, of course, is by visiting a pub on the way home. Where we ended up though was no ordinary pub. Marty had heard about a rather special micro-brewery in the nearby Plateau neighbourhood, so that's where we trotted off to. I'd love to tell you what the place was called, but a French name coupled with much consumption of delicious brews has rendered my ability to do so, useless.
What I do remember is that Marty and Jesse both forked out $14 each to experience the "Sampler Set" – 11 x 4 ounce glasses covering the entire range of brews that the micro-brewery had to offer. What a delicious experience this was to top off the afternoon!
The streets were buzzing with activity as we made our way back towards the Metro as Portugal had just beaten Holland in the 2nd round of the World Cup Soccer. Evidently Montreal has quite a healthy (and not to mention vocal) Portuguese population who were joyfully taking to Rue Saint-Urbaine in vehicles filled with attractive Latino women waving Portuguese flags.
After showers and a bite to eat, I caught up with the gang again and some of us headed down to the Old Port to watch Team Italy do their thing in a fireworks competition reminiscent of Vancouver's Festival of Light. It wasn't anything special, so we caught up with the whole crew from the Quebec Day festivities last night and conducted our own pub crawl all the way back to the hostel in the wee hours.
A great afternoon, one of the best so far!
Links & Credits
- All images // Rob Masefield
- Jardin botanique de Montreal // espacepourlavie.ca
- Tam-Tams Jam thetouchofsound.com
- The Plateau mtl.org