|Tenth anniversary trip!|
And J managed to get the Friday off work so it was a long weekend. He booked us tickets for the train and 2 nights at a hotel downtown, but that was it. We had no plans. We aren't really planners. Seven years ago we spent two weeks in Costa Rica after having booked our flights and our first night in a hostel (our adventure starts here). We did okay. We did more than okay and had the trip of a lifetime!
But back to Montreal.
We picked Montreal because even though we'd both been there multiple times, we'd never explored the city together. Turns out if you're looking for fun in the summer, Montreal is a great place to be! There were so many free festivals and things to do and see. We ended up wandering around all of Friday afternoon, completely freed from our usual scheduled lives, eating food from food trucks when we got hungry. We stumbled on the Just For Laughs festival and saw some of the street acts. One of them was by two of the guys from a group called Slightly Fat Features, who were giving out tickets to their show that night. J snagged 2 and our plans solidified.
|Street thai food.|
|My first fish taco.|
Slightly Fat Features did a show called Variety Soup as part of Zoofest, which was going on at the same time as Just For Laughs. I'd never seen a variety show live before but was almost constantly laughing or waiting for the next crazy thing to happen. My absolute favourite part is hard to describe but I'm going to try. One of the guys - he reminded me of a crazy clown - came out with a ukelele and started playing a sad song. Then he morphed it into a happy song and encouraged us to sing too. At first it was just an exhale and then we were all singing and clapping, getting louder and standing and jumping, and then getting quieter and softer until we were whispering the words. It was indeed a very happy song and something I'm so glad to have been part of.
|No cameras allowed.|
We went to bed tired and happy that night, but not before making a plan for the next day. Saturday we took the subway across town to check out Montreal's Biodome. Biodome is sort of like the Museum of Nature here in Ottawa where you can explore different types of animals except that everything is alive and in recreated habitats. I think I'll do a whole post about the biodome because it was so cool. I can't wait to take the kids there. My favourite part was the penguins, but everything was pretty cool.
|In front of the big aquarium.|
|We wanted to bring this guy home!|
Biodome is just one of the Space For Life institutions so with our passes we also bought tickets to the Botanical Gardens and the Insectarium. There is also the Planetarium that sounded neat, but didn't make the cut this trip. The Botanical Gardens were a bit boring after the Biodome, but along the way is the Insectarium where we watched ants traveling between two areas carrying leaves and food, we saw more beetles than I knew existed, and all sorts of creepy crawly things. We marvelled at the size of some moths, dragonflies and butterflies, and got pretty good at spotting stick insects among the branches.
|Botanical Gardens and Insectarium.|
|J checking out the monster butterflies.|
After exploring the Insectarium we found the Japanese and Chinese sections of the botanical gardens. The Japanese garden had a huge pond with big koi, but it was the Chinese garden that was my favourite. With huge buildings and a large pond, a little waterfall and little turtles, it was beautiful.
|The Chinese gardens.|
On our walk to the Botanical Gardens we stumbled on a skateboarding/motorcross festival going on so we went back. We were just in time for some really impressive motorcycle jumping. J and I were amazed at everthing we'd seen, most of it for free, but that wasn't it for the day. At 10pm there were fireworks being set off at La Ronde, which is across the river (like Gatineau to Ottawa) so we wandered around the Old Port and the big park areas near the water and had dinner on a patio where we could watch all the people going by. We watched the fireworks with a million other people and then made our way home. Now we were truly exhausted.
|Walking to the Old Port.|
|The clock tower right on the water.|
|Fireworks to end the night.|
One of the best parts about being away from the kids was being able to stay up late and get up whenever we felt like it, and not worry about little tummies. We checked out of our room but checked our bags and made our way to breakfast before spending some time shopping. We were determined to get something for the kids and were hoping to find something for J's parents too to thank them for looking after the kids all weekend. Shopping for the kids was no problem, but our thank you gift was going to have to wait, it was time for the train.
J's dad met us at the train station and brought us back home to our babies. It was so nice to see them and to be home, but so nice to get away. Montreal was so much fun, with so much to do and it seems like it's like that all summer long.