Montreal - - Day Three, Sat 3/28/15
Up at 7:30 AM. Why don't I show you our room? Richard in a chair by the bed:
Looking from the bed area to the sink and bathroom:
And the closet and shower, also a random pillar which thankfully we did NOT run into in the middle of the night on our way to the toilet:
Locale: back to Espace Cafe, where we went on Thursday. The proprietor remembered us and was all smiles.
Our meal: Richard had a toasted croissant with ham and swiss, I had a toasted ham, bacon, swiss, tomato, and lettuce on a roll. Two coffees. The proprietor later sent over two espressos, on the house. What a dear.
Topic of conversation: Zsa Zsa Gabor. Remember in 1989, Zsa Zsa Gabor got in trouble for slapping a cop? People magazine had a headline during the trial: "Zsaccuse! Ringside at the Zsa Zsa zsircus." A high point in American journalism. Actually, to be honest, Zsa Zsa was a topic of conversation at every meal.
Our primary destination for the day: the Pointe-a-Calliere, the Montreal archeology museum. Our friends John and David raved about this place. Our visit started with a dazzling film guiding us through the history of Montreal, way back to the day the glaciers started to melt. They had a time capsule in the basement that was going to be opened in a hundred years or something. Richard and I decided we should make our own time capsule, and open it in like a week and a half.
The exhibit on snow was amusing. Naturally it included an audio clip of Canadian songstress Anne Murray singing "Snowbird." The exhibit on ancient Greece would have been more pleasant if it hadn't been so crowded. Difficult to even move from here to there. You'd think they was givin' away free cheese. The highlight of the show: a gold mask of "Agamemnon" which had never been seen outside of Greece. I put "Agamemnon" in quotes because recent scholarship shows that the mask is from 300 years before the era of Agamemnon. If he ever actually existed.
We breezed through the gift shop and had difficulty leaving because the exit was blocked by a family of eight who decided that was the absolutely perfect place to stand still and have a long involved conversation.
Back to the hotel. Richard checked his email, I got caught up writing notes for this blog.
Locale: we ordered from room service. Quelle decadence!
Our meal: a cheese tray - - again with the cheese! It came up on a cart: four kinds of cheese (brie, bleu, white cheddar, and something smoked and vaguely Gouda), a sliced baguette, scattered raisins and pine nuts, two strawberries, and one blackberry.
Topic of conversation: did Eydie Gorme record Piaf's "Hymne a l'amour" in English? No evidence of it on the internet, but what does the internet know.
Richard took a little nap, I watched some stupid game show. Richard woke up, we watched a mediocre documentary about Vivien Leigh on youtube.
Locale: the best meal of the trip, at a delightful Polish restaurant near the water called Stash.
Our meal: we split a half bottle of the house red wine, a charming merlot. First course: Richard had pickled herring, served with cole slaw and fresh dill. I had malt and barley soup with shredded spinach and strips of kielbasa. Main course: Richard had stuffed cabbage with pickled cabbage on the side. I had kielbasa stewed with mushrooms, served with a potato croquette stuffed with ground beef, two pork pierogies, two potato pirogues, and the most sublime potato pancake I've ever had. Dessert: Richard had a slice of hazelnut layer cake, I had a peach cobbler with cream sauce. Everything was spectacular, the atmosphere was cozy, and the service was superb.
Topic of conversation: Richard told the story of his Aunt Hannah, who had a job in the accounting office of the Old Met. They had a speaker that broadcast whatever was happening on the stage - - she was new on the job, was annoyed by the singing, and said, "Hey could somebody turn down the radio, some of us are trying to work here!" I told the story of my dad putting one over on my Grandma Kooistra, who was 100% Norwegian, more or less. He said, "Arlene, I just saw on the news this morning - - they found a skeleton deep in the Norwegian forest. It was the Norwegian hide and seek champion." Grandma Kooistra said, "Oh really? What forest was that?"
They had a pianist at the restaurant, a slim young man playing a rickety yet quaint old upright. He played from memory and with great style and feeling, but a rather peculiar assortment of songs. It's one thing to play "True colors", "The winner takes it all", and "Tiny dancer" - - it's quite another thing to play "Spinning wheel", "Like a prayer", and "Bang bang, my baby shot me down." We gave him a $10 tip on our way out, which got a huge smile out of him, and bumped up the tempo of whatever power ballad he was playing. That alone was worth $10.
Back to the hotel. We finished the Vivien Leigh documentary. Richard stayed up a bit reading his book (*Past Imperfect* by Julian Fellowes). I fell asleep almost immediately - - Richard said my stomach was gurgling, good and loud.