Six hour coach trip complete and I found my way to a metro station, navigated my way to my hotel and was able to check in a bit early. The metro station reminded me more of the London Underground than Toronto subway as it was smellier and just gave off a different vibe. My hotel is nice. Cheap and clean, with private washroom. I looked at rooms with shared bathrooms, but it is always nicer to have my own. The decor is beyond dated, but that’s ok.
Not one to hang around, my first stop was the Pied Du Courant Prison a 20 minute walk from my hotel. The prison has been closed since 1912 and was bought around ten years later by the alcohol supply board and used to store alcohol. Unfortunately they ripped out all the internal features and all that is left is some of the original red brick interior showing through, the windows and of course the outside. They are looking at restoring the gallows building outside, but all there is currently is a bit of wall with a door way.
I made my way to the Olympic Stadium, home to the Biodome and the Montreal Tower. The Olympics were here in 1976, but you would think it was last year by how modern the stadium design and surrounding areas are. Everything is about bright colours and unusual shapes with big open areas. The Biodome took me much less time than I anticipated, but it was well worth a visit. The tropical rainforests were so hot, I didn’t loiter too much. It is basically a big indoor zoo. The thing that makes it different is that the zoo has been split into different large areas recreating the habitat of the animals living there, and allowing the animals to live mostly without cages within their zones. There are monkeys swinging around all over, and apparently sloths in the trees – but I couldn’t spot one. The birds fly around and I could have hopped into the crocodile enclosure if I felt so inclined.
Biodome visit complete and I headed for the Tower. The tower is at a 45 degree angle and is the tallest inclining tower in the world. The leaning Tower of Pisa is only 5 degrees. There were great views from the top and, as always, a gift shop.
After the tower, I decided to make my way to Notee Dame as it was still early and light. I got the metro and then had to find the bus. Well due to the Just For Laughs comedy festival, the bus wasn’t in the right place as the festival was everywhere. I stayed and pottered around the festival instead watching lots of little choirs assembling and singing up and down the street and looking in shops and at food trucks. I got some poutine as I keep being told that the poutine in Montreal is the best. It was tasty, but no different to poutine in Toronto! And I still maintain that chips, cheese and gravy with a nice mature cheddar tastes better! I tried to buy tickets for a show but was told that the English show was sold out both nights I am here. Unperturbed, I showed up at the door as it was starting and was told, no sorry there is only one ticket left. The joys of solo travel! I saw The Ethnic Show. It was one host comedian and six ten minute slots by others. It was a mixed bag, but the host (Rachid Badouri) was great, and there were two brilliant female comedians that I will be looking to see again if they come to Toronto – Jessica Kirson and Gina Brillon. I walked back to the hotel and slept solidly for a good ten hours.