Friday, November 7, 2014

September 22nd and 23rd: Lights, Poutine, and We're Gone

It was our last full day in Montreal, so we grabbed breakfast in the apartment, then set out to do some exploring. A few people had recommended Fairmount Bagels, so a short metro ride later we were stuffing our faces.

Mmm...sesame bagel.

We spent most of the day wandering around the Mile End area, eating gelato and checking out random stores. We eventually made our way over to the Atwater Market, a really cool farmer's market. I wish we had thought to stop there on the first day; we could have had some great meals in the apartment! We picked up some strawberries and stopped for snacks, then made our way back to the apartment to hang out and pack a bit. It was a pretty low key day, but we had some fun plans for that evening.

We took the metro out to the Olympic Stadium, which was pretty neat to see. We walked around the corner to our actual destination: the Montreal Botanical Garden.

We started inside the greenhouses. I loved the patterns and textures in the leaves.

They had a pretty good cactus area, too...

...and some pretty neat bonsai trees.

We wandered all the way through the series of greenhouses, then backtracked through everything to get back outside. The girl at the art gallery had recommended checking out the Gardens of Light, so we wanted to see what it was all about.

It was still light out, but you could already tell that it was going to be neat. They set up all sorts of light displays in the Chinese and Japanese gardens. We walked around a bit while we waited for it to get darker.

You could go inside the little was pretty neat!

They had covered part of the ceiling in the Japanese Garden building with paper cranes that were lit from inside. It was still a little light outside when we got out of the building, and we had seen a few signs for an Insectarium, so we decided to go check it out.

It was one of the coolest things! It was a pretty big building filled with all sorts of displays of live and preserved bugs.

One of my favorite parts was a display of leafcutter ants. You could actually watch them cutting up little pieces of leaves, then carrying them back across a series of branches to their nest. It was really neat!

There were some awesome displays; they had pretty much anything you could think of. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was so busy just taking it all in that I forgot!

We spent a while making our way through the exhibits, and eventually made one final stop at the ants before heading back outside.

It was worth the wait...the gardens looked awesome at night!

We walked around for a little while, then made our way back out of the gardens. As nice as they were, we were getting hungry, so we took the metro over to La Banquise for some more poutine. As good as everything on their menu sounds, we both liked what we had the day before so much that we wound up getting the same exact thing. We were pretty full by the time we left, but we did manage to leave room for drinks at L'Ile Noire, a cool pub that has about five million different kinds of scotch. Mark was pretty excited and drank all sorts of different scotches before we eventually made our way back to the apartment and passed out for the night.

Our flight didn't leave until the next evening, so we had a bit of time to hang out the next day. We slept in a bit, went out to breakfast at Green Cafe down the street, then finished packing and said goodbye to the apartment. We still had a few hours before we had to head to the airport, so we spent some time wandering through Old Montreal and the shopping district, grabbing snacks and doing some last minute shopping. We eventually made our way to the airport, cleared security and customs, then grabbed lunch/dinner at a restaurant in the terminal before boarding our flight.

I somehow only took one picture the whole day! This was right before we pushed back to leave. Our flight back to DCA was fine, and when we got back, the terminal was full of veterans and volunteers from an Honor Flight; they had just spent the day touring the memorials in DC. Neat!

Overall, we had a really good time! It was definitely a more laid back trip than many of our recent trips, but we had a good time in both cities and I'm sure we'll revisit them both someday.

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