Subway travel may be a ubiquitous form of a daily commute for some, but for me it is an unusual occurrence. Was I looking around the metro station with wide-eyed wonder and grinning like a loon, every indication that I’m a tourist broadcasting to any thief open to receiving such signals? Pretty much, yeah. But instead of getting mugged, many people stopped me to say that I have a beautiful smile. I was thinking about moving there just for the compliments alone. That is until I realized that when it snows it’s measured in yards instead of inches. Yeah, yeah, I know – they measure in meters, but the sentence just didn’t have the same punch using meters and centimeters as it does using yards and inches.
Old Montréal is a major tourist attraction, with some of its buildings dating to the 17th century; it is one of the oldest urban areas in North America.
The day was warm, and there was a cooling breeze that kept us from overheating. There were all sorts of people milling the streets and shops, a kaleidoscope of colors and styles blended with conversations spoken in many different languages. There were sidewalk musicians and 7 (count ’em: 7!) booths to have your caricature drawn. Yet somehow it didn’t feel like a tourist trap.
I might not be able to tell the difference between a Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian style column, but I do take pleasure in looking at beautiful buildings. Old Montréal has many lovely building to admire, from Gothic to Neo Classic, and beyond. Wandering around old cities admiring the architecture and exploring quaint shops is thirsty work. When we spied a Chinese tea shop, we couldn’t resist its lure. The aromas that greeted us were welcoming, and the ambiance embraced us like old friends.
Ming Tao Xuan Tea House was not only visually and aromatically tempting; it was appealing for its education in teas, as well. The menu translates the tea’s name from Chinese to English and details the region in which it’s grown. The menu further describes how the tea is brewed, the flavors steeping produces, and the tea’s medicinal properties. Should I find myself in Montréal again, I will return to Ming Tao Xuan. I enjoyed myself here immeasurably.
For dinner, we selected Jardin Nelson. While it’s known for its beautiful garden rooms, and the plant-scaping was magical, I preferred to sit on the patio where I could people watch. The food was good, and from the dishes that we ordered the calamari and rabbit crêpes were my favorite.
The day was enjoyable, the company witty and charming. The metro ride back was quieter than the morning’s trip, a companionable silence settling between us.