John & Anne Wiley

2011/05/21

Montreal On A Bike

Filed under: Happiness,Has Photos,MeriTimes Adventure,People,Random — John @ 05:18

We slept fairly well last night in Hotel De Paris near downtown, partly due to exercise. We’d walked quite a distance from the first place we tried because they only had rooms with very small beds. Just as we felt completely done in, we climbed the stairs on the right (green domed building) carrying our relatively heavier than usual luggage filled with food and other extras imagined to be useful in Montreal.

0415 Stairs

0415 Stairs

We then carried it back down, across the street to where this was snapped, and up a similar set of stairs followed by two more flights up to our room. Luckily our feet grew back overnight.

This morning after a tasty continental breakfast with scrambled egg supplement, that of course began with a kick of French roast coffee, we rode. This is the home of the bikeshare concept we enjoyed in DC, and it’s crazy. There are racks of bikes every two blocks in many parts of downtown, like this one near the river where we made one of our swaps.

0513 Bikes Aplenty

0513 Bikes Aplenty

The system is great, in that with careful attention to detail and time you can ride for 24 hours on $5 rental. To do that though, your schedule runs in 25 minute increments with frequent bike return stops at different racks where you wait two minutes before taking a bike again. In this hopscotch manner we rode many miles over a long day in a city with many bike parking posts and dedicated bike lanes.

0514 Bike Lane

0514 Bike Lane

We rode down to the river and along it, but decided against climbing up to the bridge for a ride in the amusement park and other attractions on the island at the right.

0523 Bridge To Island

0523 Bridge To Island

Among other attractions was a ride through Chinatown, and several streets where cars have been banished. We often had the feeling of visiting yet another country because different neighborhoods of Montreal so often feel like France or Toronto or New York.

0528 Strolling Streets

0528 Strolling Streets

Art of course abounds, and near the contemporary museum is a wonderful dynamic fountain that attracts tourists and locals alike, with a seating area where people enjoy lunch while watching kids of all ages interact with the dancing water. The height of each jet varies, often in rhythm and sometimes in spurts that leave clumps of water hanging briefly in patterns as they pause in mid-air.

0562 Fountain Fun

0562 Fountain Fun

We rode around the campus of McGill University, enjoying yet another culture and mood as we looked at the mixture of architecture.

0575 McGill

0575 McGill

Then we checked in the bikes for a longer period as we climbed slopes and stairs to the summit of Mont Real. We started to feel sorry for our poor feet again until we saw people of all ages, many older than we, going quickly up and down the stairs for exercise. We forgot about feet completely when the view began to emerge from the trees nearing the top.

0600 Flying Lower

0600 Flying Lower

This is lower than we can fly of course, so although what we see on every flight is much more spectacular in many ways this was a welcome change of perspective. There are many trails at the top, and as sunset deepened several very helpful people pointed us to the best ways home so we could relax occasionally and take in the changing colors.

0606 Stadium Sunset

0606 Stadium Sunset

I think the angled post you see is holding up a large stadium roof. It was nearly dark as we descended back into the trees, but this last glimpse of the skyline reminded us of Paris. The rotating beacon atop a tall building looks so much like the one atop Tour Eiffel.

0617 Warm Night

0617 Warm Night

Because it started cool in the morning and storms were forecast, we carried jackets all day but never needed them. This included our return to the hotel tonight on another pair of bikes from a rack at the bottom of the hill. After that long ride, dropping them at the first rack we visited this morning a block from the hotel, we walked slowly to the hotel and up those last daunting stairs. Happy tired. 🙂

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