US Road Trip Epilog: 1st July 2005

Cornwall to Montreal is a direct run northeast on the Interstates. The roads into the city itself are a concrete nightmare, poorly surfaced with manic traffic and constant splits, with lanes disappearing without warning. Given all that, we find the Clarion Hotel with no problems and I wait in the car whilst Alex goes in to ask them where the car park is.

Alex returns to tell me that not only will they not let us check in (because we're too early) but they also won't disclose where to find the car park. I finally find a place to leave the car outside and we both go in to the lobby. Others are being allocated rooms, seemingly those who speak to the staff in French. Having been to France a few times, and dealt with the natives, I think I know what's needed here - basically, just keep asking the same question until you get the answer you want. After ten minutes of making a nuisance of ourselves we get allocated one cleaned room with the other promised in a few hours and the (obviously top secret) map to the underground garage.

The underground car park is horrible - steep ramps with corners that take a bit of reversing to get round in a car the size of the Buick. At one point I'm trying to reverse up a ramp into a parking space when the car stalls. Rather than stop it I think I'll just coast into the empty parking bay ahead. When we get all the luggage into the one room it obviously hasn't been cleaned, so we leave the luggage and return to the lobby. An apology would have been nice, but I think I've more chance of being awarded the Legion d'Honneur.

After hanging around for a while in a local diner, we return to a cleaned room for me and one for Alex as well. This was the only motel I could find on the internet this morning with rooms available, but they're still going to cost us around $200 CAD a night each after the 18% local taxes. A view out the window of an open skip isn't exactly what I expected. Having said that, with the net cutains drawn the room itself is actually very nice - spacious and well-appointed with wireless internet access that actually works.

Wet Montreal and wet Englishman
Wet Montreal and wet Englishman.

On our walk towards Vieux Montreal, which is supposed to be the nicest part of the city, a light rain turns suddenly into a violent thunderstorm. Despite trying to shelter in doorways where possible, we're both pretty much soaked through by the time we find a bar to shelter in. Of course, the rain then stops.

Downtown Montreal
Downtown Montreal.

Vieux Montreal is really nice and after a bit of a walk to dry off we can begin to enjoy it. Being that it's Canada Day, the place is obviously pretty crowded though they're probably used to lots of tourists here. There's also a free jazz festival on, but that doesn't detain us long and after a vain attempt to drink Canada dry it's time to head back to the motel.

US Road Trip Epilog: 2nd July 2005 >