When I left work Friday afternoon, I had my work inbox down to ten undealt-with items – a level not seen since October of 2008. Finally, I had time to pack for my week-long trip to Montreal.
What was I thinking when I set up the 6 a.m. flight? Well, for one thing, no middle seats or red-eyes. For another, I planned on getting to bed at a reasonable hour. And then, on cue, the “Story Slam” was scheduled. Both of my kids were finalists, I could not not go.
Though I am so not a poetry person, Meryl’s was well done and touching. Seeing her and H was worth the late start and running nearly two hours longer than planned. Unfortunately, we got home at midnight. I was having doubts at the usefulness of going to bed when I’d have to be up again in less than three hours to leave for the airport.
I dozed off as soon as the Vancouver to Toronto leg took off. Just my luck that the guy next to me had a bladder smaller than my own. When the Fasten Seat Belt light binged off, he woke me up to go. Twice. I gave up trying to sleep and instead availed myself of two free in-flight movies: Grand Torino was fantastic. Pink Panther 2 – not so much, but my expectations were low.
Upon landing, I had the same disoriented, “I haven’t slept in 48 hours” feeling that I do when I’ve visited Europe. I picked up my rental car and tried navigating to my “room” (a dorm at U of Montreal) based on the theoretical directions posted on Google Maps that did not account for random exits being detoured for construction. My mind’s foggy, except that I had to Stop And Ask For Directions.
He was much more helpful than I’d expected.
Twelve (!) hours of sleep later, I was refreshed, optimistic I may have tamed this jet lag thing. Ate a quick breakfast, then started selecting some potential geocaches to pursue. The most interesting was a twelve-part multi tour of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (the final was tastefully outside of the boundaries). It took over three hours of walking around to visit all the points.
Never give up! – encouragement at Monument #1
Designed by Henri-Maurice Perreault, in 1854, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges is the biggest cemetery in Canada. There are more than 900 000 inhumations in the 53 acres area. Many renowned Canadian and Québécois citizens rest in peace here, namely Robert Bourassa, Québec premier (1933-1996) ; Jean Drapeau, Montreal mayor (1916-1999) ; Pierre Laporte, politician killed in 1970 (1921-1970) and Maurice Richard, Canadiens de Montréal hockey player (1921-2000).
It’s interesting how the areas of the cemetary contrasted. In the southern portion, most of the stones span from the 30s to the 00s. They’re different styles, interspersed dates:
The northwest section was dedicated to the 60,000 Canadian soldiers killed in World War 1. The uniform tombstones are a sobering experience.
Towards the far north, there’s a lot of prestige. This homage was carved in the side of a rock:
And this one looks like… um… slightly out of place relative to the others.
Having skipped lunch to do this, I was pretty hungry. I drove around a while until I found the elusive parking spot near a row of cafes. This local recursive mural was rather interesting:
Before calling it for a night, I hiked up to the top of the abandoned ski slopes on the University of Montreal campus to score this view of the sunset.