I can’t spend too long on this blog as Montreal awaits so I will leave the crazy anecdotes for a later date and let photos tell most of the story. Our Moose tour bus picked us up from our hostel and we were greeted by a savvy Canadian guide and a bus full of excited, multi-lingual, heavily accented and very friendly people. Many of them were going on a tour before a student-exchange, after working a ski season or just as a holiday. We have Australians, English, Dutch, German, Puerto Ricoan, South African and Scottish. It makes for some very interesting conversation about culture and language (the German lady talks to us!) and it is amazing to see the variations in the different versions of English in Australia, England, Canada, Scotland and South Africa. As the British guy put it (imagine English accent) “we’ve got representatives from every corner of the English-speaking world”.
We went on a Thousand Island boat cruise, which is a confusing body of water as parts are owned by the U.S and parts by Canada. I was given quite an animated tale of loons (a very interesting bird) that live in that area. Apparently they fall in love for life and are so heavy they sink when they try to fly.
After a lot of rain we ran back to our bus and continued the trek to Montreal. We looked over at some of the great lakes. Mark couldn’t believe it wasn’t the ocean because you couldn’t see the other side!
When we arrived in Quebec the difference was amazing. All the signs were in french and french alone. In the rest of Canada the french is under the english but not in Quebec (our Ontario-born guide says this is a very frustrating double standard on the part of the French-Canadians). We checked into our hostel (all a into different rooms i was a bummer). Hostel life is interesting… 10 girls a room with one bathroom is not too easy. We went for a guided tour of Old Montreal which was very beautiful. One the way we saw a squirrel! The rest of the group didn’t seem to understand my excitement until another Australian girl explained that we don’t have squirrels. It was trying to bury something in the ground – very cute and a bit twitchy.
Old Montreal was almost magical. Warm lights lit the pebbly streets were flowers cascaded out of baskets. To top off the romantic scene a horse and carriage trotted past.
We then moved to a lovely little place to eat. The waitress greeted us with a “Bon soir” as we sat at a massive table for the 14 of us. I wish I could remember the name of what I ate as it sounded very French and tasted very delicious. It was a really great day and the people on the tour are fantastic. I am really looking forward to the rest of it – but I need to get some sleep at some point too! Too much to see!