This was our first lighthouse that we saw, near Cavendish, Prince Edward Island (PEI) in North Rustico Harbour.  It has the shape, and the cupola on top, but alas, I think this is just a house.  We turned 180 degrees from this site, and saw this:

We soon figured out that the shape of a squared-off building tapering to a cupola (and a place for the light) were a popular theme.

This next one was spotted from our ferry across the Northumberland Strait–which one is the real lighthouse?  The closest building sat on the breakfront, which we glided past as we sailed.  We think the one in the background is the real one, because we glimpsed a flashing light.  All the lighthouses used to be manned, but slowly they were automated.

One fiddler we met got his start working in a lighthouse, as his first job demanded 11 months of isolation, before the crew was moved to a 28-day rotation.  We met him when we stopped on the east side of Cape Breton, coming down the Cabot Trail; we didn’t buy his CD of fiddle tunes, instead buying another where we could hear the stomping feet in the background (his recommendation).  He was quite garrulous–obviously making up for lost time.  Click on the picture to be taken to his website.

A third little building right as we’re leaving Wood Islands, PEI; I still think the real McCoy is in the background.  Click to enlarge and you can see the light.  I went onto the Canadian Coast Guard page and these three are known as the harbour and breakwater “lights.”  That’s what they call them–not lighthouses.

Pictou, Nova Scotia has a lighthouse on their pier, but again, it’s just a building shaped like a lighthouse for all I know.  Inside they had a map with lights for all the lighthouses in Nova Scotia, with the red, yellow and white lights blinking off and on, supposedly corresponding to the actual lighthouse.  This one was like a mini-museum, with lighthouse trinkets for sale.  The website that lists all of these is the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society.  Good way to waste some time looking at their interactive maps.

Looking for something else, we found this lighthouse in the Mabou Harbor.  I wish we’d taken the time to get out and take some better shots, but we felt we didn’t belong.  According to the NSLPS webpage:

“The pyramidal wooden lighthouse at Mabou Harbour was built in 1884 to guide coastal steamers transporting non-perishable goods into the only protected harbour on the western side of Cape Breton Island. At that time, a number of general stores served the countryside for miles around. At various times gypsum was shipped from here, and there was a lobster and salmon canning factory right next to the lighthouse. Now, the pretty lighthouse is the Mabou Harbour Museum and Tourist Centre, opened in June 1998, to showcase the history of the lighthouse and the village.”

Now I really wish we’d gotten out of the car.  Before we left Cape Breton, we saw one more “light.”

On the east side of Cape Breton is a huge salt water lake, still connected to the sea, called Bras d’Or.  This lighthouse, at Baddeck, sits on the point of Kidston Island.

The lighthouse in the evening, after our lobster supper.  I picked a buttercup flower from the grass and held it under Dave’s chin: yes, he likes butter.  When we were children, we morphed that old wives’ tale into “if you see yellow, that person’s in love.”  I like that one better.

The next up close and personal was near Halifax, on our way to the famous Peggy’s Cove lighthouse.  Obviously McDonalds is trying to fit into the territory with this design.

Peggy’s Cove is really as beautiful as everyone says it is, and windy, too (see post for that day for tourists with windswept hair).  We parked our car at the visitor center and walked in toward the lighthouse.

This is taken from the sea-side of the lighthouse, looking back toward the land.  The rocks are massive, and so right for playing.  I wish we had the grandchildren with us, as we remembered the fun they had in Pacific Grove, clambering all over the rocks.

The heroic shot, one of many that we took that morning.  The only lighthouse souvenir I purchased was a small wooden model, for sale in the restaurant in Baddeck.  It now sits on my kitchen windowsill, lighting my way to the dishes.

Sailors and First Harvest

“Okay, Dave,” I said this morning.  “Today is Eat Your Way Through Montreal!”

I’d been reading the guidebooks, the web, and had found several food items that seemed to be Montreal specialties, and since this was our last full day, we had to hit them all.  But first, a stop at the cathedral that we see from our hotel window.

Maria, Queen of the World Cathedral
Montreal, Canada

This is the cathedral seen from our hotel window, with a spectacular name.  It was made in the image of the Vatican’s St. Peter, at 1/4 scale, apparently, and it is deja vu when you enter, complete with the baldacchino in the center.

Next stop: Première Moisson (which means First Harvest), a bakery that I’d read about.  Luckily there was one just kitty-corner from our hotel, deep in the underground underneath the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel (or Main Train Station).

I think just viewing this counter, with all its fresh baked goods, revived our flagging tourist spirits.  It was amazing.  We each picked two things and shared them.  Look for more pictures on Menu–Montreal.

Just around the other side of this massive U-shaped counter, with pastries, baked goods, sandwiches, tarts, cakes, desserts, salads and other amazing things, was an area with tables and chairs.  I loved the murals on the walls.

Revived, we took the subway over to Marche Atwater to see what this indoor market looked like.  In front were the city bicycles for rent–we saw several of these Rent-A-Bike stands.  We just looked, but I had fun looking.  Of course, since today is supposed to be hotter than yesterday, we concentrate on going where the heat isn’t–but it isn’t working.  The heat is everywhere.

Well, this place wasn’t Lyon with its amazing street market, but we did see some interesting produce.

And flowers.  Now I know they just BUY those rounded baskets, instead of painstakingly clip them into shape.

Presentation, Chapel of the Sailors
Montreal, Canada

We headed back down to Old Montreal to go to this little church, Notre Dame de Bon Secours, where the theme is on sailors.  Ships in the stained glass and small wooden ships hanging from the beams (complete with two green votive lights) remind us of the impact of the sea on the early economy and on the lives of the early citizens of Montreal.

Detail of ship.  They have all kinds of these suspended from the ceiling: cargo ship, schooners, and several others I don’t know the names of.  This chapel was originally built in 1655, then re-erected after a fire in 1771.

Looking from the backside, the dome is the one with the figure on the top.  As usual, back home, I’m having a “should-have” moment, when I discovered that there is a tour to the top of the tower at the back.  Add it to The List.

We walk alongside these buildings, with a view of Marche Bonsecour in the background, heading to see the St. Lawrence river.

I can see why they call it the St. Lawrence seaway.  It’s huge, and while the section nearest us (where the little boat is) is fairly calm, the rougher water is moving very quickly.  We watched one boat tried to come across this section, engines full throttle just to stay in place until it could reach our side of the great river and navigate forward.  It was stunningly huge, and fast-moving. And it’s soooo hot.

This was very tempting.

It was so hot, in fact, that while walking back toward Old Town, we are interviewed on camera by a roving reporter for one of the local TV broadcast stations about how tourists are coping with the heat.  We make some chatter about being from California, but it’s not this hot there.  (We should have kept our opinions to ourselves, for the week after we got home, it WAS this hot here.)  We stood outside in the bright sun, the reporter capturing us on camera.

As soon as she was through with us, we made our way to Olive et Gourmando, another item on our list.  Check the Menu–Montreal to see what we ate, but here’s a picture of their dining room, which was a bit chaotic this very hot day. The fresh salad was just the ticket.

We tried to walk the underground, but after two dead ends, we opted for the Metro.  The Victoria Station stairs look just like the Metro in Paris.  Montreal is closely tied to France, I assume largely because of their language.  We were happy to take a break back in our air-conditioned hotel.

Continuing on with our quest to eat Montreal’s specialties, we head to St. Viateur Bagel, where the bagels are cooked in a fire-burning oven.  Just the thought of visiting a fire-burning oven on such a hot day seems crazy, but we must press on.

We shared a bagel, then went to the local park to rest awhile before tackling Poutine.  A few people were out, mostly dogs jumping into the large lake at Parc La Fontaine.  It was beautiful and we even had an occasional breeze.

What is Poutine?

French fries, fresh cheese curds and gravy to keep it all warm.  They have many different types, varieties and many different places serve them.  We were headed to one of the best.  Wikipedia says that “One often-cited tale is that of Fernand Lachance, from Warwick, Quebec, which claims that poutine was invented in 1957. Lachance is said to have exclaimed ça va faire une maudite poutine (“it will make a damn mess”), hence the name.”

We first walked past it (how could we have?) then went in the front door.  The smell of french fries hit first, then the sight of the cooks slinging potatoes into great vats of oil registered second.  We stood there, trying to decide.  A few people come in after us, and we tell them to go ahead of us.  The waitress looks at us, and Dave, ever quick thinking, asks to see the Menu.  Page after page of Poutine are listed.

There’s even a Poutine Matty with bacon, green peppers mushrooms and onions, which should make my son Matthew happy, who occasionally goes by this nickname. There’s even a Vegetarian version.  We really want to try this Poutine dish.  We really do.  But we just can’t.

Me, after having said Uncle.

One reason is that we still have to try the famous Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwich, which is 10 hot blocks away.

We pass the Frite Alors! shop (Frites = French Fries, but skinny).

And arrive here at Schwartz’s “Charcuterie Hebraique.”  Hebrew Deli, if you will.

I’d read up about this.  We should order the Viande Fumee, with a giant dill pickle.  We did, but passed on the fries, and still ending up splitting the thing.  I was really glad we hadn’t tried to eat the Poutine too.

We were on a deadline to make the Montreal Jazz Festival’s closing night festivity: the Mardi Gras Parade.

We walked down a lovely pedestrian street, through a park to get to the Metro station.  Our initial impression of Montreal is that it’s just not that accessible, just not that much to really see here.  Or that we’ve seen better in other European cities and that what Montreal has is just a faint impression.

We knew at the outset that this trip was not the Big Ta-Da location of some of our other trips.  And there certainly is a temptation to compare this to places that remain in our memories and in our scrapbooks (like my comment comparing Marche Atwater to Lyon’s incredible street market–really it was unfair).  I think the incredible heat wave didn’t help us to “access” the city, for we retreated for several hours each day just to stay out of the heat–and those several hours might have given us a broader view of Montreal. However, it’s when we see a street–and a lovely little neighborhood park like this–that we realize how little we’ve really immersed ourselves in Montreal, that we have just skimmed the surface.  But it will have to remain that way, as tomorrow we leave.

We line up with billions of other Montreal-ans and tourists, awaiting the beginning of the Mardi Gras parade.  It gives us a chance again to notice the juxtaposition of the new and old Montreal, captured by a building’s reflection.

A fun little parade, with the slightly rowdy, carefree and less-pulled together approach that evokes Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  A pick-up truck pulling a float? Horrors!  You’d never see this at the Rose Bowl Parade–the Queen of Parades from our locale.  One interesting thing was listening to the woman next to me talk to her friend about when she’d gone to a jazz festival in Switzerland (?) and was listening to some musician famous for long sets.  She could leave and catch her train back to the city where she was staying, or stay and listen.  She stayed, fell asleep, and woke up at 6:00 a.m just as the artist as finishing his set.  The field, she said, was littered with people like her who had zonked out.  The group ended, she applauded, then got up to catch the 6:30 a.m. train.

The first necklace I got I gave to her, as she was a true jazz lover.  But we soon got others, as every pick-up was filled with cardboard boxes from China, full of garish beaded necklaces that we all screamed for and waved our hands to get.

I get to listen one last time to some pipers–wonderful.  They’re about the only ones in the parade who aren’t wearing necklaces.

I catch in silhouette a float bearing a likeness of a trumpeter, and then it ends.  We donate our garnered strands of beads to a little girl, and head back to our hotel.

Notre-Dame and Jazz

Thought I’d show you the doors going into the Metro stations from the street.  They pivot on the center which means, now that we’re having a heat wave here, that they can prop them open to get a breeze into the extremely hot and muggy Metro Stations.

Just outside the Metro, Dave spots this urban art: snake on a wall.  We begin our Frommer’s Walking Tour with the bank, and I thought Dave’s photo (below), capturing the upper balconies in so many different soft colors was lovely.  We found four Montreal different walking tours online at Frommer’s, and while we didn’t follow them all, they were helpful to know what to see, what to head towards.  We’d also picked up their small Montreal Day by Day book which was invaluable (and also had some of the same walking tours).

Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
Montreal, Canada

Next stop on our walking tour of Vieux-Montreal (or Old Montreal) was this basilica.  Tourist whine: we had to pay to get in.  Tourist kudo: the apse (what you’re seeing above) is incredible, and in our pictures (this one’s taken by Dave) we decided it looks a Hollywood set.  But it was cool looking.

Pew Detail–carved figures in the ends of the benches

Dave had given me a portable tripod for my camera and we used it to great effect in this dimly lit place.  If you pick up a brochure at the beginning, it identifies all these carved wooden figures on the altarpiece; two which are shown in this photo to the left of the crucified Christ are Melchizedek and above him, Moses.  The polychrome statues represent St. Peter and St. Paul, as well as the four evangelists: Matthew Luke, Mark and John.

Those on the right are Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac and above him, Aaron sacrifices a lamb.  Mary is being crowned by Jesus.  It’s all very ornate, but because they use wood, it’s beautiful.  If you are interested in the details, visit their webpage.

The entry price includes a visit to the small chapel in the back which is more modern, as it replaced the original which was destroyed by fire in 1978.  The bronze sculpture at the front is massive, but I was more entranced by the elegant woodwork.

This is one wall, just as I came back from the small chapel.  While I usually hate to use my flash, I finally succumbed in order to see all the colors that this basilica is painted.  I loved all the different colors.

The organ loft that holds a huge organ.  Of course, I would have wanted to go up there, but better yet would have been to hear someone playing it.

There were a lot of tourists in there!

I decided to get a photo of us EARLY in the day because the weather conditions indicated that while the thermometer may read 87 degrees, with the humidity it FELT like 101.  Boy, howdy, were they ever correct. We kept walking, though, visiting the old courthouse with its stained glass windows in the judge’s chambers:

I was tempted to ask her to water me, instead of the flowers.

Notice that most of the tourists (us included) are walking (or attempting to walk)  in that narrow sliver of shade up against the building.

After lunch at the Marche Bonsecours, we dodged back to our hotel after lunch and did not emerge again until nearly 5 p.m., when we finished our walking tour of Old Town, and had an unremarkable dinner (but at least they had a jazz singer and a guitarist to soften the blow of okay food).

This is Place Jacques Cartier, with a statue of Lord Nelson on the pillar at the top of the street. (I used to live on a Lord Nelson street when our family lived in Lima, Peru–how’s that for a small world?) This “place” or square is pedestrian only and is rimmed by restaurants and small shops.  If hadn’t have been a billion degrees outside, it would have been more inviting.

So how did these people training do it?  I watched them go down the slope of the Place, switch places, and then run back up again.  Anything for a good workout, I suppose.

And just beyond the Place, across the street, is this view of Montreal.  We headed to the Metro. . .

. . .to attend the Montreal Jazz Festival, which was closing this week.  We thought we ought to at least catch some of it.

More Metro art, while we wait for trains to come out of that dark tunnel.

And when we arrived at Place des Arts, more art.  I’d done a little research before going, so I knew to look for the art in Montreal’s Metro.

Street Lights

Montreal Jazz Festival
Montreal, Canada

The Montreal Jazz Festival wisely had this free venue where lots and lots were gathered to listen to the music, or just to do something different.  We listened to “Cow Bop,” a County-Western band from California.

I’m trying to catch some passers-by to be-bop to their music.  I caught two.

Hi Mom!
Montreal, Canada

A friendly tourist took our photo and is our habit, we reviewed the shot in our camera.  Dave and I both burst out laughing when we saw the lady behind us waving in our photo.  I struck up a conversation with her: she’s from Boston, visiting the city, and is a quilter.  Like any proud grandmother, I whipped out my phone to show her pictures of. . . my quilts!  She did the same and we had a great conversation about quilting. Shortly after this, we left, making our way back through the swamp-like conditions of the Metro to our air-conditioned hotel.

As we sat in the Metro, I could swear that the gray tiled wall was slanting in certain directions, but Dave just said it was an optical illusion.  He’s right.  But I couldn’t stop staring at it.

Mont-Royal, Park and City

We flew early this morning to Montreal, leaving behind the green Nova Scotia islands.  First up: locate hotel.  Next up: persuade them to let us check in early (it’s 9:30 a.m.)  Miraculously, they did let us check in.  Bliss.  We took time to get the wireless working for our iPhones, took a break, then went to find lunch at L’Express.

As I said to Dave over our amazing little lunch, Montreal is like France–but without an attitude.  When I asked a question of the waitress, she didn’t roll her eyes one little bit, but instead switched to English, as the country is bi-lingual.  And yes, that is a vat of cornichons, served with Dave’s lunch (I enjoyed some too).

L’Express restaurant has no sign out front and is open from mid-morning until after midnight.  A popular place.

We then took Bus 11 to the top of Park Mont-Royal, where the views were accompanied by a soundtrack of a busload of 50 teenagers from New York City chanting rap rhymes. This park is across our view horizon when we sit in our hotel and look out.

The day became increasingly hotter and muggier.  Yes, Montreal was at the beginning of  heat wave.

We took a path from the viewpoint mostly UP to another viewpoint–I somehow thought it was going to be DOWN–and fretted most of the time that we’d miss our bus back downtown.  We made it but barely, by running to catch it.

We were headed to Vespers, here, at Montreal’s Anglican church.

This was our nod to church this Sabbath day.  I could see the light from the stained glass windows come in behind the singers and it was all I could do to not quietly creep up behind them and take the photo.  I resisted, and watched the kaleidoscope of colored light paint the wall.  After the service, I did get the photo.

The glass buildings surrounding the old church competed with dualing images.

The refracting lights gave an otherworldly effect to the front portico.

One soweth, another repeath, are the words in this little stone alcove.

Now Dave has been afflicted with Touristus Crankus, and sits out the snapshots I’m taking of these homeless meters. These meters are really quite an ingenious idea, and are placed all around downtown.  Instead of doling out your spare change to “l’itineraire,” you put it in these meters.  Not only does it solve the dual problem of lingering beggars and our guilt, it also brings in money to help them.  We put our spare change in a couple of times, and were able to dodge direct petitions for handouts.

We decide to get out of the heat and head to our hotel, but first duck into the church patterned after St. Peter’s at The Vatican in Rome.  The name of this is Maria, Queen of the World.  It’s right next to Queen Elizabeth hotel, and just up the street from the Marriott, where we’re staying.

Although the Marriott (on the right) was designed by a Famous Guy, it has earned the name of The Cheese Grater, because of it’s arched windows.  I don’t care what they call it.  It was about the most perfect hotel ever, in my estimation.  The elevators were swift and quiet, the room had a delicious view, the bed was terrific, they had a variety of pillows to choose from, free wireless, direct connection (via the underground) to the Metro, nice shower, good lighting, lovely bath products. and lots of well-placed mirrors.  I could go on and on, but while staying in a bed and breakfast is nice, sometimes staying in a hotel is nice, too.

For dinner we went back up to Plateau Mont-Royal area of town where we’d had lunch.  We also popped into a chocolate shop, Suite 88, to satisfy my desire for some chocolate.  The above is a well-decorated store front on our way back to the Metro.

Just to the left of the red and white “S” is Mont Royal, and the tiny white light on the right of the mound is a giant cross.  When we came back from dinner, this was the view out of our window.

Last Day in Halifax Area

We visited Lunenberg today, a place that has a lot of really old homes as well as others that they’ve painted bright colors (example above).  The trim on this is lavender and it has has a blue door, but I think they’re not quite done with the painting yet. We’re two too-tired tourists, so the place didn’t enthrall us quite like it could, given Dave’s aversion to gift shops.  There’s quite a few of these here.

But, if you had energy, a fresh take on things, the well-kept houses provide a narrative of sorts for a small Canadian fishing village.  We took in an art exhibit at a local gallery (there are LOTS of those–another reason to enjoy the place) which detailed the life of one old fisherman, and his life on the sea.  They did without a lot of comforts, both out on the boat and (certainly) at home, and he lost a lot of shipmates and good friends to the vagaries of the weather, tides and storms.

Here are some of the sights, in bright sunshine!

Another fishing village we saw lots of colorful houses was Burano Italy.  There is was said the women painted their houses bright colors to entice the men to return home.  I don’t think they’d say the same thing about Canadian men.

This is a map of Lunenburg, which is about twenty times larger than Peggy’s Cove, about 50 times larger than Mahone Bay and about a billion times larger than Prospect.  But I might be exaggerating a bit on that last one.

I like the dots atop this one.

This house is on a lot of touristy brochures, I’m sure for its bluey-periwinkle color.  Did I mention that Dave has an aversion to gift shops?  That’s one of the main activities here.  I actually went in one, looked around, decided that a) I couldn’t carry the item home in the suitcase, or b) I didn’t want another thing cluttering up my house at home that I’d eventually have to get rid of.  As a result of Dave’s aversion and my lack of enthusiasm, our souvenir shopping was limited to a grand total of $161 dollars for the whole trip.  Even Dave was amazed.  That’s why you have to wade through so many photographs–that’s about all we brought home.

Down on the harborfront, there were a series of brightly painted red clapboard buildings, which I really liked.

This bookstore–Elizabeth’s Books–also had the same color treatment.

We stopped for lunch into a tiny place that was seemingly run by cheerful teenagers, and had a quick, but delicious lunch.  This was not it, but we did like the flowers. After that we walked up to the St. John’s Anglican Church, which had been rebuilt after being partially destroyed by fire.  It was a hot muggy day, so we were glad to enter to cool church.

The exterior

The last quirky thing we notice was this curvy doorway over the main door and two side windows.  We saw this repeated in several different houses.

Mahone Bay, the next town, is know for its three (although we counted four) churches.  One of them is this striking example, with the phrase “Holiness to the Lord,” written out underneath the main stained-glass window.

They also had several gift shops that sold quilts–a delight to see.

This is the view of Mahone Bay (est.1754) from across the bay.  Nearly all these churches are on the same small street.

We’d pretty well exhausted all the things to do in both Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, so we headed back to Halifax to enjoy our last afternoon. First stop, the cemetery where the Titanic victims were buried.  We arrived at the same time as another tour bus, the tour guides all dressed in blue kilts (women).

Loved this ode to this particular Englishman.

I wanted to see two sets of graves in Halifax: the one from the Titanic (victims who were not taken to their hometowns for burial) and the ones from Halifax’s great explosion in December 1917.  This is one row of the former; the latter only had a “group” memorial plaque of the unknown victims, with no individual graves.

At the time I didn’t know where the rest were buried–thinking it was probably their own little church cemeteries.  However, after arriving home I found out about the Explosion Memorial in a local park.  Like any good tourist, I have to say I missed a few sights, but was really chagrined to have missed that one.

We decided to cross over one of the bridges to the other side of Halifax–an area called Dartmouth.  This is a view of the little dressed-up tugboat in front of the Halifax Harbor.  Notice the giant cruise ship (white, on left).  We’re glad we dodged them at Peggy’s Cove today.  About all we can say about Dartmouth is that it is an “Oakland” to Halifax’s “San Francisco,” in other words, we hardly got out of our car and zipped back over another bridge back to Halifax.  As usual, we’ve skimmed the surface and we know it.

I loved the giant flags–hanging up for Canada Day?  Or there all the time?

It’s too early to go to dinner, so we relax for a while in the Public Gardens, kitty-corner from the Citadel.

As soon as we walked in, I could smell the fragrance of lilacs.  For some reason (maybe too much for too long) I will admit to a certain amount of Tourist Crabbiness.  The fragrance began to help set me on the road to being cheerful again.  Maybe it’s because I’d been one too many days without chocolate or been one too many days on the road?  Who knows?  But being out in  Nature set it back right.

Navy Memorial Plantings

And we saw three different wedding parties taking photos in the gardens, this Saturday afternoon, distinguishable by the bridesmaids’ outfits.

As we walked by (after the kiss), I heard one bridesmaid tell the bride “Your butt really looks good in that dress.”

Ah, yes.  I’m sure that’s what the bride will always remember about this day.

We take a few minutes to sit on a bench: Dave’s reading his book and I write in my travel journal, which I can never seem to keep up with (regretfully).  We decide that FID restaurant is probably open now, and head over there.

This photo is from the restaurant’s website, and that long pointy thing to the left of the fireplace, up on the back of the checked wall is a fid–a rope-making tool for sailors.

After finishing our feast (the first time in Canada we went bonkers over the food), we headed back to our Faux B&B.  We wanted to pay with a different credit card that charged less for international charges, but the owner had already gone ahead and charged the one I used to secure the lodging.  This left us shaking our heads why he would do this, but then that’s how we felt about a lot of the stay there.  We packed and crashed–early start tomorrow.