As we hit the cruising broad Canadian Expressways, the metropolis of Quebec & the second largest French-speaking city in the world – Montreal, was our first destination. We arrived in Montreal with Montreal Olympic Tower – the tallest inclined tower in the world, greeting us on the road. After getting lost in the confusing ‘Ouest’ & ‘Est’ grid, finally we found our small B & B. Without wasting much time, we moved out in spite of the big clouds hovering over the city. Montreal’s downtown scene is a bustling study in contrasts. We witnessed the Victorian brownstone nuzzling skyscrapers, and the latest architectural marvels soaring beside stately neo-gothic churches. Lucky for us, but not so much for Deenaz & Reshma, International Bier (that’s how they spell it) Festival was on, and as we entered the venue, it was nothing less than CRAZY. It was like we have arrived for the OKTOBERFEST of Germany.
It was the Grand Prix weekend in Montreal and the entire city was alive with street festivals, racing events & urban animation of the Formula One race. Without much delay we headed to where the whole of Montreal was going – Crescent Street, to join the
largest Grand Prix party in the world and experience the incredible atmosphere. This was something I have never seen before, the whole street was one big party place, with free drinks stalls, real racing cars on display, pit-stop challenges, live Rock show – we had an unbelievable time here. Although we couldn’t have enough of this place, we decided to head back, as we had a long next day.
Finally, that day arrived which was one of the main reasons of my Canada visit – Canadian Grand Prix. Under the heavy cloud-cover, Deenaz & I caught the metro train to Parc Jean-Drapeau – home of the Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix. Sitting in the middle of the mighty St Lawrence River, these two island retreats are the hub of all outdoor activities in Montreal. A wet & exciting Montreal GP just made up my day, and after watching those racing cars zip past at an unbelievable speed of 370 kmph, I was thanking my stars for fulfilling my dream. Not to forget the mention of seeing the The Master himself – Michael Schumacher – up, close & personal, was absolutely divine.
So, after those unforgettable memories
of Canadian GP, we joined with sister & BIL to do some more exploring. There is no place more conducive to a dreamy step back in time than the romantic district of Old Montreal. As we strolled on the cobblestone streets, art galleries, artisans’ boutiques, terraces & cafes made it appear as if we were in a European town. The Gothic architecture masterpiece – Notre Dame Basilica was as spectacular, as the Quays of Old Port of Montreal were serene. Dusk brings further enhancement, as strategic lighting brings out the loveliness of these old stone facades even more. After we explored the famous “Underground City” of Montreal, we ended our day listening & dancing to the tunes of French Music Festival.
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