Friday, August 26, 2011

Endings & Beginnings: Old Montreal and New Students

2:00 pm Fri Aug 26, 2011

The Montreal Skyline from Montreal Harbor

Dan on the Docks at Montreal with the MV Explorer behind

We arrived in Montreal around 7:00 am on Thursday after watching the sun set over Quebec City the night before.  What a contrast Montreal provides from the river: a modern skyscraper-laden skyline with only a hint of the old walled city in the foreground, lining the shore.   

Habitat 67 Public Housing Complex

The dock is near the old city, however, and across the river from the famed (controversial?) Habitat 67 housing units, designed by Moshe Safdie and built for the Montreal Expo in 1967 and used as part of the Olympic Village in 1976.

Our first phase of orientation with the SAS staff has come to an end, and the actual semester is about to start with the students set to board Friday.  

Dan & Pat's Cabin: 4077

We had a full morning of final orientation activities before we could explore the old city, however, and that included being able to move into our new “permanent” cabin: 4077, “Kyklámino,” Greek for I'm not sure what!  

Cabin 4077: World Quilt courtesy of Cousin Jill Hastings!

The cabin is lovely: brightly lit and relatively spacious, with a large window looking out the starboard side (right side facing the bow or forward).  Pat and I have quickly settled in, and have photos of many of you and Montana gracing our walls.

Dan & Pat Head into Montreal; Notre Dame Cathedral in background
By early afternoon we were able to disembark and make our way into “Vieux Montreal”: the old walled city (though not much of the wall remains).

Street performer, Old Montreal
Sidewalk cafes, galleries with Inuit art, street performers, and narrow cobblestoned streets beckoned.  

Municipal Bike System in Montreal

One thing we hadn’t anticipated were the excellent bike paths and a whole system of municipal bikes one can use to get around.

We returned to the ship for supper and to meet the roughly 70 “Life-Long Learners,” senior retired folks, who will be accompanying us and taking some of our classes.  They seem to be a delightful bunch, with lots of energy and enthusiasm for sharing this voyage with nearly 500 college students.

Also on board were nearly 650 parents who boarded the ship for a reception (without their sons and daughters!) and to see what they had committed their resources to for the next 4 months.  Pat and I found ourselves in the somewhat awkward position of being “experts” as we led tours of the MV Explorer – after only 5 days on her we are still finding our way around!

MV Explorer in the Montreal Harbor at night
Financial District at night in Montreal.  Note bike paths!

Then Pat and I headed back into Old Montreal for the rest of the evening, when old buildings and streets are lit up and filled with pedestrian and café patrons.

Vieux Montreal at Night

It really is lovely, and we meandered through the streets sampling real maple ice cream and buying our allotted two litters of wine for the Atlantic Crossing (we are hoping to leave the St. Lawrence and be well into the cross before Hurricane Irene passes through here – expected by Monday!). 

Now we await the arrival of the students tomorrow, and then our departure for Casablanca.  We are getting close!

1 comment:

  1. Wow--your cabin is lovely and spacious (compared to ship cabins I've been in anyway!)! I'm hoping you have smooth sailing, and that you're well out of the way by the time Irene moves that far north. Bon voyage!