Chinese Garden, the Underground, and Real Fall Colors!
The Biodome and the Botanic Gardens are both in the Olympic Park area of Montreal, so we planned to see both on the same afternoon. What the guidebook didn’t mention is that it takes nearly an hour to walk from one to the other. Not only were they far apart, there were no directional signs, so finding our way was not easy. We had planned to meet Roscoe and Joanne at the botanical gardens, but by the time we got there the day was nearly gone and we had time only for the Chinese Gardens.
Fortunately, they were spectacularly beautiful, as you can see here.
The Underground is a unique feature of Montreal – we’ve never seen its like anywhere else. Beneath the downtown streets is a huge shopping center with over 1800 shops and restaurants. It’s not confined to the underground, either – it goes up inside the middles of the buildings, as high as four stories in some cases. You can walk for blocks and blocks, all over downtown Montreal, without ever going outside or crossing a street. Yet this shopping center has no main entrance, no visible presence. Entrances are on every block, typically coinciding with subway entrances. All of the downtown subway stops connect with the underground.
We timed this trip not only to coincide with our retirement, but to see the fall colors that upstate New York is so famous for. Well, the retirement went off as planned, but the fall colors, almost everywhere we went, left much to be desired. The weather had stayed warm through September and into October, and most of the leaves simply didn’t turn color. When our trip was over and we returned to Oregon we saw beautiful fall colors – far better than anything in New York or Canada.
Our trip back to Albany from Montreal had the best fall colors of the whole vacation, and you can see some of them on this page (right here, and in the title at the top).
We were really not too disappointed about the missing colors – Montreal was a great city to visit, and it was a lot of fun being there with Roscoe and Joanne.