Monday, July 9, 2018

An Excellent Eastern Expedition! - Day 8

--An Excellent Eastern Expedition--

(Previously: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6, Day 7)

This morning, the Maasdam docked in Montreal.

I was up at 6:45, had a light breakfast, packed, showered, went up to Lido for some cereal, returned to my room, waited for my number to be called (around 8am), and then left the ship foreverrrr.

Disembarking from a cruise can be a sad process. I will say, though, that the whole thing felt slightly more relaxed on HAL than it did on DCL. 

HAL's vibe: "Thanks for sailing with us! Have a great trip home!"

DCL's vibe: "Okay, the magic's over, go home now."

At least, that's the way it felt to me. DCL's embarkation process, on the other hand... well... night and day, there. ;)

Stepping off the ship and entering the cruise terminal in Montreal, I was expecting to find the luggage storage place, but it appeared to be closed. Great. Now what was I going to do? It'd be 7 hours before I could check into my hotel. Even if they offered luggage storage (and they probably did), I didn't want to walk all the way to the hotel now...  

But what I didn't realize was that there were actually several luggage storage areas at the terminal, and while one was indeed closed, this other one was open. So they took my 2 bags for $5 each, handed me 2 claim tickets, and then I was free to explore the city!

Except, at 8am, not much was open. I wandered toward the Notre Dame Basilica, figuring it would be open, and it was. It cost $6 to get in. 

There was no line when I arrived, and there weren't that many people there. Apparently, later in the day, it gets pretty crowded.

I've visited quite a few churches in my time; this one may have been the gaudiest one yet. 

I do love a good stained glass window, though!

After leaving the basilica, I found a cafe, where I got an Americano and a poppyseed muffin and used their Wifi for a while.

I continued to just wander around until 11am, when the Pointe-a-Calliere - The Archaeology and History Complex -- opened. 

That's the Maasdam, center, and the museum, on the right.

The price of an adult ticket was $22 (Canadian, of course, as will be all the prices I mention for the next two days), but it's only $15 if you're a "young adult" between 18 and 30. ("Oh, to be young again.")

The basement of this place houses the original foundation of the building that was on site in the 1800s.

I wandered the museum for about 2 hours. It was a cool place, with lots of artifacts found in the area and explanations of the items. I especially loved the more "modern" artifacts (ie, stuff from the 1800s) because they were often both recognizable and laughably odd-looking. I do love me some antiques.

There was a tunnel that used to be a waterway, then a sewer... but they had made it all new-agey and trippy. 

A video...

They also had a pirate ship room for kids, with lots of interactive elements.

The museum had a temporary exhibition called "Queens Of Egypt," but for some reason I thought it cost extra. Now, looking at the website, I think my ticket would've gotten me in to that. Oh well.

After leaving the museum, I got some strawberry frozen yogurt from a shop. (Put a giant cow out front of your establishment and you've got a customer, here.)

Then I visited another old church, the Notre Dame de Bon Secours Chapel.

Afterward I went down to the waterfront, where there were lots of cool things going on. There's a giant Ferris wheel, a zip line, rides, paddle boats, and lots more to see and do. 

A telescopic view of the La Ronde Amusement Park...

Below is a complex called Habitat 67, which you can read about here.

The globey building, below, is the former Expo 67 American Pavilion. It's now the Montreal Biosphere.

La Grand Roue De Montreal, below, may give you stunning views, but it will set you back $25.

At 2:30 I went and retrieved my luggage, then began making my way toward my hotel. The walk was less than a mile, but a lot of it was uphill.

When I arrived at the Travelodge Wyndham Montreal Centre, I was a bit startled because there were 30-40 young people, with their luggage, packed into the relatively small lobby of the place. Luckily for me, they were not waiting to check in. I don't know why they were there, actually.

I was able to check in, get my room key, and go on up to my room. My room was on the 10th floor. It was very small, possibly even smaller than my ship's stateroom... but for a solo traveler, it worked. 

Almost immediately, I took a nap.

After my nap, I walked a few blocks up to Tim Horton's, where I got some dinner and a muffin.

Back at the hotel, I relaxed for most of the evening, watching HGTV, part of Captain America, and about 1/2 an hour of The Goonies (in French!)

* * * * * *

Travelodge Wyndham Montreal Centre Pros & Cons


*Location -- Close to port, close to many tourist attractions, 2 blocks from a Tim Horton's. Not the most scenic block in town, but still.

*Fan/AC unit in room.

*Free WIFI.

*A good selection of TV channels.

*Room did not smell smoky.

*Nice-smelling soaps.

*Keurig in the room.

*Comfy bed.


*Tiny room. Fine for one person, though.

*The breakfast situation was awkward (more on that in my next post).

*Bathroom light and fan run simultaneously... I hate that.

*Non-carpeted hallway, and doors that slam and shake the walls.

*Towels are the thinnest I've ever seen. And they're even tagged with the hotel's name. Travelodge, seriously -- you'd have to be crazy to want to steal those towels.

*In-room lighting was minimal... only two bed lamps and a window.


Would I stay here again? Probably not. I would try a different place next time.

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