Daily Archives: August 2, 2007

The epic conclusion (Le fin): Quatre jours en Montreal

So, our last full day in Montreal, and then it’s back to regular (knitting) programming! Thanks for bearing with the blog-esque virtual tour!

However, I will say: there IS YARN in today’s post! Even though I never was able to make it to a yarn store. Also an evil Canadian squirrel.

SO: I wanted to hike up Mont Royal, which dominates the downtown area; one of the paths up was only a few blocks from our hotel. Too bad we left it for this day, as it was humid and supposed to rain. But it was projected to hold off till afternoon, so in the morning I urged people out of bed a little earlier than they had been getting up on their own, and we took off for the “Royal Mountain” (Royal Big Hill, actually). Anyone who’s been to EPCOT, the Canada area, and seen their film, “O Canada”, will have seen Mont Royal and the pavilion near the top in 360 degree projection.


We started up (to the right is the wall of the psychiatric hospital, maybe we should have gone that way….), and soon were on a serpentine switchback trail, easy grades, passing many flowers (I’ll spare you most of those pictures):


Past a drinking fountain and — what would you call this? A beautifully carved trough?


By the way, the carvings around the edge symbolize the settlers of Montreal: Fleur-de-lis, thistle, Tudor rose, and shamrock. (Heavy on the Anglo-Celtic, I notice; my French blood is warring with my Irish/Welsh/English blood.)

Then, in an hour or so, we made it to the Pavilion and viewing area:

pavilion-outside.jpg pavilion-mont-royal.jpg


Here follows a rare picture of the knitblogger herself with the Preteen and Gothlet (I’m usually behind the camera, and I rather like it that way).


The Gothlet liked being taller than everyone else down there in Montreal:


Then we went in the Pavilion to have some lunch etc., and saw the only Squirrel Joists I have ever seen:


The squirrel theme continued thereafter: On the way back down, we met the equally evil cousins of Stephanie’s fleece-stealing squirrel:


This possessed-looking squirrel came out with his little friend and gave us the evil eye;

then they surrounded us:



then they tried to extort food or small valuables from us. (I had an unfinished sock, but no fleece.)



We were outta there! Deranged Francophone squirrels are unpredictable.

On the way down, my husband responded in his usual charming way to my efforts to capture the moment:


Next, we had promised the Gothlet we would return to the Insectarium.


Yes, on the walls are mostly collected specimens, but the areas in the center have live bugs and very interesting info.


Like: Shellac comes from bugs.


Stag beetles are symbols of power and strength throughout Europe, are sacred to Thor, and are in the coat of arms, above, of the Schroter family.

This moth below impersonates a cobra.


And beetles make iridescent jewelry, actually prettier than the photo looks. (Not my idea of jewelry, I do admit.)


The Gothlet weighs 1.5 million ants.

And speaking of ants, this next part was my favorite part of the Insectarium; the Gothlet really liked it too, neck and neck with the bees:

Leafcutter ants! There is a colony out in ‘plein air’, very busy coming and going and carrying leaves and bits of flowers from the source to the area where the queen and babies are. It was fascinating. And extremely difficult to photograph well, so these are the best:


Their food source, which here is hibiscus.

And below, here they are trucking along, watched intently by the Gothlet.



Really cool!

OK, here it is, you’ve been waiting for it:



This yarn is dyed with cochineal, which is of course a red dye made from bugs. (The pink stripe is toothpaste….)

There was oh, so much more, but again I will spare you the photos. Having once again taken at least twice if not three times as long to go through the museum as our other family members, the Gothlet and I bought a small umbrella and raincoat at the gift shop (it had started pouring, and I couldn’t find the travel umbrella while packing), said “au revoir” to the giant mosquito:


and headed out into the Botanical Gardens to meet the other two at the Snack Emporium.


I think this picture was taken right before the Gothlet started dancing on the wet curb with predictable consequences. (Band-aids were required. Mom got brownie points for having them along.)

So no strolling through the beautiful gardens today, but here are some gorgeous roses in the rain:


As we walked in the pouring rain back to the area of the Metro station, we passed a movie theatre we had gone by several times on our sojourns. We were wettish around the edges; someone needed to wash her knee with soap and water; and they were showing the new “Harry Potter” movie — in English as well as in French — in 15 minutes! It was meant to be. Having overrruled my husband, who wanted to go back to the hotel and then maybe see the movie downtown (I pointed out that it was raining fairly hard, there was lightning, and it was a couple blocks to the Metro station; by the time the movie finished, there was a reasonable chance the rain would be better, or at worst, the same). And we could eat. The movie, which the girls had been dying to see (but were at camp that first week), was pretty good, and a great way to spend a couple hours out of the rain. By the time the movie finished, the Gothlet’s knee felt better, we’d dried off and the rain had stopped. Plus my blood sugar wasn’t bottoming out any more (very important, you don’t want to be around when I need to eat, I get snarky). It’s nice to be vindicated….

We came ‘home’ to the hotel, repacked, squirreled away (ha!) the travel knitting, and variously relaxed/collapsed.


Merci, Montreal, de votre acceuil. Nous reviendrons!