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Savoring Montreal

Post Date: September 19, 2017 by josiemounsey

It is mid-September, and summer has finally arrived in Canada! Temperatures soar to 27C, the heat forecast to continue for days. Time to make the most of the weather and explore this amazing island city in the year of its 375th Anniversary. From late morning until the early hours, the narrow streets are thronged with visitors and locals sampling a myriad of culinary dishes, from poutine (yuck!) to the best ice cream anywhere. Although in some areas of Quebec, English isn’t spoken, here in Montreal locals switch from French to English in mid-sentence. Our French accents must be compromised because, although we often greet shop assistants and waiters in our best High School French, they respond in English!



Refreshed after a good night’s sleep at our lovely old hotel, Auberge du Vieux Port, we devour crepes with fruit, and Eggs Benedict, on the sidewalk terrace at the Auberge. Time to explore this beautiful, if somewhat hilly, city.




Josie at Place Jacques-Cartier.



The beautiful Jardin Nelson restaurant.








At 1:00 p.m. we are at the appointed pick-up place for our Kava tours trip outside the city to two wineries. Our driver, Jean-Phillipe (JP), is a history major and gives a potted history of the city as we make our way to our first stop at Coteau Rougemont, owned and run by the Robert’s family (of trucking fame).





After a brief respite gazing at the views from the property, we are given a tour of the vineyards followed by wine tasting. They certainly don’t stint on the quality or quantity for sampling!













Then it’s off to Vignoble les Murmures, in St-Jean-Baptiste. The vineyard is run by husband/wife team Daniel Hamel (an agro-economist) and Monique St. Arnaud (agronomist who holds a patent in oenology). The couple bought the land, in the foothills of Mont St-Hilaire, in 1995. They cleared the forest, orchards, and moved huge boulders before planting the vines and building a house, to make it the beautiful property it is today.




In the shade on the verandah, Monique tells us about the vineyard and wines. Then, glasses in hand, we head down the steps to part of the vineyard.







In the wine cellar, we sample wines and nibble on home-smoked salmon, and slices of goat’s cheese made by Daniel and Monique’s son.












Two days after our visit, the harvest was to take place. Friends and neighbours pitch in and help pick the grapes and, after a hard day’s work, everyone sits down to a home-cooked meal, with wine of course. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work Daniel and Monique face year-round doing everything themselves.






The gardens here are magnificent, too.






























For our one remaining full day, we head to the Jardin Botanique on rue Sherbrooke Est. It is the third-largest in the world, after London’s Kew Gardens and Berlin’s Botanischer Garten. Some 75 hectares in size, since its opening in 1931, the garden has grown to include tens of thousands of species in 30 thematic gardens.

















Although not the best time of the year to visit, the gardens are still very colourful. Hundreds of butterflies flit from bloom to bloom, vying for position with bees.
















Swamp mallows provide a colourful backdrop.


















Tomatoes abound in every shade.















Amazing fungus.

Thank God the animal on the far left isn’t real – he’s made of twigs and mud!

















In the bonsai garden.

Far left: Trident maple (105 years old).

Immediate left: Sargent Juniper (275 years old!).









In the alpine garden.

Time to head to the Metro and back to the Auberge for a much-needed rest.

By the end of the day, we had walked 13 kms!














It is our last day and time for a walk along the river before making our way to Gare Centrale for our afternoon Via Rail train to Toronto.


























Trust Canada Geese to have the last word!

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