My kids went to Michigan to see their grandparents for the week with their dad, and I was faced with a week to fill with an adventure. Tim and I have both wanted to go to Montreal, and it's only 6 hours away, so we seized the opportunity and took off.
Montreal is a French speaking city, but most people speak English too. There were so many European touches, especially the coffee and the great crusty breads for breakfast.
We spent our first night in the downtown area, and then decided to move out to a different hotel near the Olympic Parks. What we had there was a nice hotel with free parking, an outdoor pool, and a lush, green park to run in. Also, an incredible view of the Olympic venue. We explored one morning and found the Olympic pool and diving boards. It was so cool to stand there and imagine the energy in that space in 1976.
Many of you know that my father grew up in Germany. When he first left home in his mid 20s and set sail for North America, he landed in Montreal and lived there for several years before he moved to the states and met my mom.
During our whole trip, I was struck by two things: I missed my dad so much, and found myself sort of looking for him everywhere we went. I also missed my kids fiercely. Maybe it was the physical distance from them. Maybe it was that I'm still not used to going for stretches of days without them.
So in between all of these photos, and all the love and beauty we found there, I was wondering what my kids were doing at every second, and I was looking around Montreal saying: "Dad? Did you come here? Did you walk this street? Did you see this view?" I kept imagining him there, and felt this magical sense of knowing how his life unfolded after his Montreal years, being the lucky product of the family he created and he didn't yet know it.
Dad? Did you climb the mile of steps up to Mont Royal?
And here? Did you go to the Basilica of Notre Dame?
We had sunshine and a whole day ahead of us when we came upon Old Montreal. We walked and walked. We walked 12 miles one day and 8 miles the next. There was so much to look at.
It was just so charming and cobblestoned and French.
Speaking of charming...
How can this amazing city be such a short drive from home? Well?
Montreal reminded me of Barcelona, in that there are many places where the old and the new collide. Take, for example, the Starbucks one block from the cathedral.
On our last morning, on a tip from my friend Colin, we tracked down the famous bagel place St. Viateur Bagels. We ate hot bagels right out of the bag while we made our way back to the car. The star of the show was, hands down, the rosemary-sea salt bagel. That's a winning combo.
For our final day of vacation, we made our way to Burlington, Vermont. It's such a lovely city, too. The last two times I went to Burlington I ran the marathon. This time, I decidedly did not run a marathon. Instead, I ate good food and ate some more good food and meandered at a very moderate pace around town and the paths along Lake Champlain.
It was a wonderful trip. And we made the very best of it.
And as of a few hours ago, I am reunited with my babies, who are now sound asleep. And all is right with the world.