The 2009 Montréal en Lumière Festival and other weekend Highlights
On Friday evening we went to something called the Soireé au claire de lune (Moonlight Soirée) at the Biodome and Olympic Center. The Biodome is a kind of indoor zoo, a set of self-contained ecosystems containing plants and wildlife from all over the globe. There is a tropical rainforest zone (which feels just as hot and sticky as the real thing). It is particularly atmospheric at night when you catch glimpses of bats flying past your head as well as crocodiles and flamingoes by the water's edge.
Then there's an arctic and antarctic zone where you can see antarctic penguins and arctic birds up close (They are kept separate, in case you are wondering).
Something that really brought the experience to life though was that the centre had employed various actors and improvisation artists to interact with visitors as you wander through.
After we'd finished going round the Biodome, we went up the tower of the Montréal Observatoire (second time for us), this time for some night-time views of the city. While viewing some spectacular vistas over downtown and Mont-Royal, we also saw a magician and tarot expert, then wandered down to another room where red lighting and logs created the effect of sitting round a campfire.
On Saturday we paid a visit to Atwater Market, a really high quality market selling fresh fruit and veg, French cheeses and top quality meat and sausages. After that we went to pick up a microwave we'd found via Craigslist for the bargain price of $40 (25 pounds). We carried it back home on the underground and the bus which was fun! In the afternoon we were driven around to a variety of people's houses to buy furniture, by a man with a van who charged only $25 an hour! By the end of the day we had a bed, 3 bookshelves, a kitchen table and chairs and a futon, for only a couple of hundred pounds in total.
We spent much of Sunday making the apartment nice, arranging furniture and cleaning, but by the evening felt relaxed enough to put our feet up and play Super Mario Galaxy and Guitar Hero on the Wii. We also cooked our first proper meal in the house (albeit using the stove in the empty flat upstairs as ours is still not connected!). We had Butternut Squash stuffed with mince & veg (and for a taste of home, flavoured with Henderson's Relish - Sheffield's finest sauce - which Giles had given us as a leaving present). Delicious. It's really starting to feel a lot more homely now!
this website and many others show. I'm particularly looking forward to the Comedy Festival and the Jazz Festival.
The snow has continued on and off for the last few days, I've been very impressed how everything keeps running here - buses still run on time, people go about their business more or less as normal (admittedly with thick boots and lots of snow shovelling!) Here is a picture I took this morning out of our window - the streets were a hive of activity, with the bin men emptying bins and sticking markers in the ground next to cars they want the owners to move, mini snowploughs clearing pathways, people digging their cars out, and in the midst of all of this a school bus trying to get past!
Until the next time!