Long overdue completion of Mom’s Visit

Hey everyone. Boy, I’m having some trouble motivating myself these days.  The rest of the Mom’s Visit was pretty jam packed, and I crashed the day after they left! I need a kick in the butt to get things done.  I’ve also started a knitting project, and to be honest, I sometimes get manic when I knit and only want to knit! I’ll post pics of that later.

A Gallery of the 2nd half of the Mom’s trip:

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Trip narration after the jump:

We spent Dec 4th going out to to the Biosphere, in the Ile de Montreal. It’s a holdover from Expo.  We were hoping to see the penguins and poke around the recycled craft fair.  The recycled craft fair was cool, but we had confused the Biosphere and the Biodome, so no penguins for us.  Still it was a beautiful morning, and the Biosphere really is a neat piece of architecture.  We then went for lunch in Old Montreal, at Creperie Chez Suzette.  While not officially gluten-free-friendly, I’ve had their food before and my stomach likes it fine.  On top of being one of the less-pricey Old Montreal restaurants, they have a delicious escargot! The Moms loved Old Montreal! Mummy-E even started musing about trading her house for one of the condos. Sigh, reminded me how ridiculous Vancouver real estate is: a house in a nice suburb is way more expensive than in one of the most sought after neighbourhoods in Montreal. After wandering the streets of Old Montreal for a few hours, our feet and legs were mighty sore!  We spent the end of the evening having a big pasta feed and swim at the Mom’s apartment. We intended to watch the Canucks game, but it was blocked out 😦

Dec 5th was a relaxing day, since we were so burnt out from all the walking the day before. We were originally going to try and go to the Biodome (we really wanted to see the penguins) or Jean Talon, but we were leaving the next day for Quebec City and decided rest was important. We hung out at our apartment, took the Dahg to the dog park, and spent the day gabbing and snacking. After the Hubby was done with work for the day, we ventured out to the Plateau to walk along St-Laurent, window shopping at some of the swanky shops that were still open, drooling at Schwartz’s Deli, and stopping for a bite to eat at Boulangerie Bocadillo, a Venezualan street food style place that is raved about in gluten-free circles.  I fully understand why, and it comes down this: GLUTEN FREE SANDWICHES.  You do not appreciate how much you want a sandwich until you cannot have one. The bread is totally gluten free, but doesn’t taste like it, which is an amazing feat. It’s also good and cheap – I will be returning. The Plateau was also the first neighbourhood I truly felt at home in. I will have to make a shopping expedition there in the near future!

Dec 6th and 7th we traveled to Quebec City, a 3 hour drive Northeast along the St Lawrence River. I have realized I am spoiled by 3 hour drives in Vancouver. 3 hours South is Seattle, a pleasant, quick-feeling drive (if there’s no border trouble). 3 hours East you end up in Merrit, which, while not gorgeous, you go up the various Cascade passes, which are scenic and challenging to drive.  3 hours North is Whistler, and one of the most breathtaking drives in North America I am convinced (I’ve driven a bunch of North America now, so I think I can make that statement). The 3 hour drive to Quebec City, while not as dull as, say, Jasper to Edmonton (or any spot along the prairies), is just flat, straight farmland peppered by the occasional Token French Catholic Church. It’s a bit of a bear of a drive.

The Dahg came with us to Quebec, since we found an amazing pet-friendly hotel: Auberge de la Place d’Armes. The hotel was built in the 1640s, so you get a far more authentic feel than staying in a bigger chain hotel.  We stayed in the loft – the pictures simply don’t do it justice. It was so cozy and accomodating – they even let the Dahg stay in the room while we were out site-seeing! The room had a dining table with log rounds laquered on the table top – totally inspired me for a side table or desk!

Quebec City is a pretty snoozy place.  You can do a lot if you really feel like checking out museums and antique shops, and I guarentee it transforms when a festival is in town. But the main thing to do, I felt, was eat.  There was adorable restaurant after adorable restaurant. I never felt like I would want for a delightful place to eat. The boardwalk is also delightful, and the people are very jovial and unpretentiousBUt be warned – winter time is COLD.  It is at least a few degrees colder than Montreal. Plus Old Quebec is on a hilltop, which means a mighty wind comes sweeping through the streets, particularly on the lovely boardwalk.  It makes for a great mood, though, with the Victorian Funicula all closed up and the umbrella-shops empty. The vibe felt extra special with the pre-winter weather and desertion.

We had a soup-lunch and the most delicious Maple Creme Brulee at the Hotel Frontenac, and then had a gourmet dinner at the hotel retaurant.  Mummy-A had Lobster Ravioli, Mummy-E had salmon, the Hubby had Reindeer, and I had Stuffed Rabbit.  Dinner was, by far, the most decadent meal I’ve had since coming here. The Hubby and I decided we will definitely head back for an anniversary. It seems like the perfect place to destress – eat delicious food, walk along the boardwalk, relax in a cozy inn, repeat!

The Moms left on the 8th, so we had a low key day at our apartment.  We walked east along Sherbrooke and poked in a few of the boutiques there. We had lunch at a small Greek place down the street – Villa Souvlaki, whose food was good but service left something to be desired. Then I begrudgingly took the Moms to the airport and hugged them goodbye.  We had such a good visit, and I really am grateful because they gave me an excuse to visit places I had been meaning to go. I think part of my crash this week is because the week the Moms were here was so full and so great, it reminded me about all the wonderful family and friends we have back home and are missing right now.

We are heading to Ottawa this weekend to see Jm and friends of his that we met while we were staying there.  And Jm is coming back to Montreal with us, which will kick off the Christmas baking season! I must start making my list of cookies and treats now! Okay, motivation coming back!



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