Last Day in Montreal and the Train to Halifax


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September 22nd 2019
Published: September 25th 2019
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Day 5 dawned yet again hot but with a scent of the rain to come. A little overcast. Tonight, we take the overnight train to Halifax, but we have a last day in Montreal so we take it easy and don't get out till just before 11 when the Archaeological Museum opens. We walk down the old narrow streets to the waterfront and buy our tickets. There is a movie about old Montreal starting in 7 minutes so we scoot right in to learn about the immigrants who risked everything to leave their homelands to make a new life in Canada. Today Canada is comprised of English - 18.34% Scottish - 13.93% French - 13.55% Irish - 13.43% German - 9.64% Italian - 4.61% First Nations - 4.43% Canada's history is so very intertwined with the United States. They have 30 million people as compared to our 330 million. Since today is going to be easy, we decide to eat lunch in the museum. It was so lovely sitting on a deck looking over the wharf area. Very civilized ;-) Our waiter, Dionne, said he has been all over the west coast of the United States and this year is headed for a vacation in New Orleans.

We left the museum and decided to take a walk over to the Notre Dame Basilica as we hadn't visited it yet. However, when we got there the line was soooooo long, and we've seen lots of basilicas around the world...we passed. Heading back to the hotel Jean spied an alpaca shawl made by Canadian Indigenous peoples (she'd been looking at it for 3 days) so we stopped in and bought it. The rest of the afternoon was spent, napping and packing for the next phase of our trip... the train to Halifax, Nov Scotia.

We had late check out, so could stay at the hotel till 4 pm. At 4 pm we checked out, got a cab and headed to the central train station. Since we had a sleeper car, we were also entitled to "free" breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining car and snacks in the observation and dome cars. We wanted to make sure we got 7 pm seating as the next was 9 pm and that's too lake for us... so after sitting in the Concierge Waiting Room, Cope got in line to make our dinner reservations and... as luck would have it, got 7 pm. Our train boarded at 6:30, we found our car #32, cabin #4, dropped our stuff and headed to the dining car. Our room had a private bathroom and seats that converted to bunk beds. The smallest cruise ship staterooms are luxurious compared to this. Tiny, tiny, tiny ;-)

Dinner was surprisingly good with Cope having Salmon and Scalloped Potatoes and Jean can't remember what she had ...oh wait...Turkey and Gravy ;-) When we got back to our room, Dan, our room steward had our beds made up. They looked comfy enough with a nice comforter on top... but...each of them slanted about 1" down toward the floor. Just enough that you would slide ever so slowly until you found yourself falling off... but before you fell off, you'd wake up and scrunch back to the wall side of the bed, LOL. The cars were older and the tracks clickity clacked all night long and rocked heavily back and forth which added to our bed sliding LOL. When you walked down the hallways which were about 24" wide, you'd get thrown against the wall and then against the window as you make you way along these very long cars. There were 19 cars on this train and it was along way from our room to the Observation Dome Car.

Next morning, we were ready to get the heck out of tour "roomette" so headed to the dining car for breakfast where we had another great meal. As we talked to folks they were laughing and showing everyone else, their bruises from walking the hallways. Funny but not funny. ;-) Next we thought we'd try to get a seat in the Dome car and we got the last two. So, we spent part of the morning up there, watching the beautiful scenery of Eastern Quebec go by. The fall leaves were spectacular, interspersed with all the evergreens. In the afternoon we were serenaded by a couple of folk singers from Ontario. They were great and Jean bought 2 of their CD's. She was only going to buy 1 for $10 but, of course they didn't have any change, so she got two ;-)

The train was now behind schedule by and hour and a half and lunch was running behind too. Our lunch reservation was for 3:15 and it was 4:15 by the time we actually ate. VIA Canada Rail was very apologetic, seems we had a bearing on a wheel going out, so they called ahead to the town of Moncton, New Brunswick and ordered 200 boxed chicken dinners to be delivered to the train, for all the sleeping car passengers to take off the train in Halifax.

We finally arrived at 8 pm in Halifax, 3 hours late. We waited for our bags to be unloaded before heading to the hotel. Fortunately, we had booked the Westin Nova Scotian which was right off the Rail Canada lobby. Worked out great. We got a beautiful corner room on the 6th floor overlooking the harbor. Good part... BEAUTIFUL room. Bad part: We had to be up at 6:30 am in order to get the rental car and make it to the ferry in Caribou, Nova Scotia for our day on Prince Edward Island.

Tomorrow: Prince Edward Island


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