Day 7 – A Brief Rest
August 19, 2011
Not long after I arrived, my host, Hélène arrived home from work. I was welcomed like an old friend and after I had a shower, she asked all about my travels to date while her two cats introduced themselves themselves to me. Then, over dinner – grilled sausages and salad in the back yard, we began to plan the next day – a busy day checking out Montreal.
Despite staying up pretty late talking (for someone who woke up at 5:00 AM and then biked over 100 km), I found myself awake and ready to go at 6:00 AM. I had hoped to be able to sleep in on my rest day but my brain seemed to have been trained and was, in fact, quite ready to go. I made my way downstairs and made a bit of coffee and caught up on some email. As I drank my coffee the bells of the church down the street began to play a beautiful song while the sun streamed in the windows.
After Hélène woke up we headed out to the market and picked up things for breakfast: ham, eggs, cheese, bread, and fresh croissants from the bakery down the street. Along with that we picked up the newspaper to find out what was happening in the city that day. And after a huge breakfast and even more coffee, we packed up and headed into the city.
Our first stop was on the top of Mount Royal – Beaver Lake. As we went up the mountain I admired the cyclists heading up the mountain. Sure, I’d already come over 600 km, but these people were powering up a really steep hill like it was absolutely nothing. Of course the reward at the end would be to be able to ride back down. And having done a few training rides up the Niagara Escarpment, I can tell you that often those rewards can be pretty sweet.
Once we got there, we found a place that rented Pedalos – pedal boats. As it sounded fun, we booked one for a half an hour and headed out on the lake. While we were out there Hélène noticed that Luck Mervil had also decided to spend his morning there. We pedaled around for a while, enjoying the day. About half way through I had to laugh as I realized that here I was – having a day off and still pedaling.
After making our way back to the dock and having our photo taken, we headed back downtown destined for the Old Port. Our intent was to wander around there for a bit, grab a bit of lunch and then make our way over to the Parade Des Jumeaux. As we walked through the city it seemed that we couldn’t turn a corner without running in to a huge wedding party spending what looked to be immense amounts of money all for one day – something I have absolutely zero understanding of (but that’s neither here nor there…)
All went as planned until the parade. We found the parade staging area, we found several of the twins as well, but somehow we never actually saw the parade itself. Still it was a great time. This year the theme was “weddings” and so between all the weddings that day and the Bike Rally’s unexpected participation in someone else’s wedding photos, I was beginning to sense a theme.
After the parade we made our way back to the car, eventually ending back up in Longueuil. Once we were back we stopped at the grocery store to pick up things for dinner (brochettes, salad, and rice), and also for me to pick up a few snacks for the next day’s ride. I’m not terribly fond of the energy bar selection most grocery stores have but this one did have some “carrot cake muffin bars” that didn’t look too bad. And as it turned out they were actually quite good – so good that I was sad to eat the last one three days later.
After dinner, though, the day was still not over. After the sun set we headed back into Longueuil and stopped at an ice cream parlour where we both got soft serve vanilla cones – except in this case they were extra-decadent as unlike a typical soft serve cone, this one had real maple syrup drizzled on it following the cone’s twist.
Ice cream in hand we headed back toward Montreal and worked our way up the Jacques Cartier bridge which was now closed to traffic to provide space to observe the finale of the Montreal International Fireworks Competition – in this case 30 minutes of what might in many cases be the finale elsewhere. And thanks to the wonders of youtube, you can see it here:
As the fireworks finished, we worked our way back to the house where we chatted a bit more before it was time to go to sleep. I definitely needed a good night’s sleep as the next day I would be back on another ride that promised to be well over 100 km.