Canada

A long day travelling to Montreal

Our flight from Vancouver to Montreal was at 9:20am but we left the hotel at about 6:45 so we had plenty of time. Our arrival time was 4:50pm with a 3 hour time zone change during  the flight.

The flight was just under 5 hours – pretty easy….

We then caught a taxi from the Airport to the hotel – fixed cost $40 + tip ($4)

Old Montreal

The old port of Montreal and Old Montreal is quite a small area – only 1 square km so it is a very compact place.

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It only took us a short walk to basically see most of it in about 1 hour.

There are tons of restaurants and souvenir shops in the area and in full summer it must get pretty busy.  There was lots of places getting renovations for the new season of tourists.

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Being in Canada it was quite strange that French is the main language but everyone speaks perfect English as well.

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There was also lots of art shops with very expensive art for sale and some for sale on the street.

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Montreal

We arrived that the hotel Auberge Du-Vieux Port around 5 pm and were shown our room. It was a nice room on the 5th floor – Not the sort of room that would survive an earthquake of any strength but still nice.

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The view from our window was nice over the river and old port.

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Last day in Vancouver

Our last day in Vancouver started with rain and it stayed that way most of the day.

We had a voucher for a hop on – hop off bus. http://vancouvertrolley.com/tours/hop-on-hop-off

The voucher (we found) was for 2 days but we only used it on the last day but it was OK.

The trip if you stay on the bus takes 2 hours to do a full loop – we got on and off a few times so it took about 3 hours for us.

The route we took called the “red line” takes us around parts of downtown and through and around Stanley Park.

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A horse drawn tour – pretty quiet in the park this day.

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A number of totem poles

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One of the walk ways that goes around Stanley Park – we walked this section of the path

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The girl on the rock

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The view from the Prospect Point

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A quick stop at the Tea House where we had a beer and waited out the rain and waited for the next trolley to take us back to town.

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A night out on Mothers Day

This afternoon we did not know what we were going to do for Dinner and Pam had been out shopping for a few hours while I plugged away at the travel blog, watched some Ice Hockey and drank some beers.[Group 1]-P1080089_P1080090-2 images

I found a restaurant to visit called Yew at the Four Seasons Hotel - http://www.fourseasons.com/vancouver/dining/restaurants/yew_restaurant/

Since we have been here other than a small wine tasting at a wine shop we have not had any wine – and I felt like a wine with dinner.

Yew had a promotion that all wine by the bottle on a Sunday was 50% off – so my decision was made – a good place to visit – it also just received an award for being a sustainable seafood restaurant.

Using the services of www.opentable.com I made a reservation for 8:30pm

It has been raining most of the day today and it was at about 8pm so we caught a cab down to the hotel – probably a 10-15 minute walk for a $8 cab ride including tip.

We arrived and the table was not ready (also known as Please Drink) so we ordered a bottle of Riesling from not too far away – about 90-120 minutes drive from Vancouver. It was a dryish Riesling with Citrus flavours and lemon and was quite nice and crisp. $50 per bottle but with 50% off means about $25 per bottle and about the cheapest on the menu.

If you had money to burn, a $2000 bottle was a steal at $1000 on a Sunday!

We were offered a sample first which was really nice and it was pleasant so we purchased it.

We were offered our table and we asked them to wait for 10 minutes while we relaxed and had a glass of the wine. They were very friendly and offered to carry our wine and the bottle to our table – nice service!

The restaurant menu is very seafood oriented which was great but not if you did not like fish or seafood but they did offer other dishes but not many but they did have a VAGAN menu for those inclined – not us!

We both ordered the Pork & Prawn which were again the Spot Prawns fresh for the season. The pork belly was so tender - It was lovely.

  • Crispy Pork Belly, BC Spot Prawns, Local Pear Jam, Pecans - $19 + tax + tip

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For the main Pam ordered an Artic Char which is a cross between a salmon and a trout so we were told

  • Savoy Cabbage, Parsnip Puree, Savoy Cabbage, Beluga Lentil Vinaigrette – $29 + tax + tip

Unfortunately Pam did not like it too much and sent it back saying it was a bit dry.

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I ordered a Beef + Crab dish

  • 6 oz Beef Tenderloin, Dungeness Crab Béarnaise, Buttermilk Mash Potatoes, Charred Broccolini – $45 + tax + tip

My dish was lovely and well balanced but more crab would have been nice for the money.

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The waiter took Pam’s meal off the price for us and she ordered a duo of brulee

  • Popcorn, Maple Syrup, Nutella, Caramelized Banana

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The waiter also gave us a couple of biscuits and chocolates as well.

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By this stage we had ordered another bottle of wine and were quite happy to finish it up.

The bill came to $153 + tip – I gave them $17 tip

We left the table and went to a small lounge near the bar to finish our wine and get ready for leaving.

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Overall a nice night and great food (for me at least) – we both enjoyed it.

Dinner and Comedy on Saturday night

After being at Granville island we had a rest in the hotel room.

We had to have an early dinner as we had booked into the Dinner + Show package at the hotel a month or so before we left home.

The dinner is a fixed dinner in the hotel’s restaurant and then the show is the Comedy club down stairs. http://www.thecomedymix.com/club-info/beyond-dinner-pkg/

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The starter was a Leek and Potato soup which was lovely (forgot about taking a photo) and then we both choose the beef short rib.

The meat was so tender and no knife was required – it just would come off in strips.

The meat had no bone and had been marinated for 2 days and then braised for 6 hours.

After the meal and before the show we went back to the room – too full….

The comedy show started at 8pm so we headed down at 7:30 and go a seat with a good view.

It was very loud there and there were 2 comedians and a MC before the main act who was Charlie Demers.

Charlie Demers at the Waldorf Hotel

https://twitter.com/charliedemers

He main act was the best and was really funny, the others had some good stuff but most of it quite crude.

A good night out – well worth the effort $45 + tax + tip.

http://www.thecomedymix.com/

Off to the Granville Market

The next morning – now Saturday we decided to go to the local Market not too far from the hotel.

We caught a taxi $10 or so to the market

The market was very busy since it was a Saturday and a lot of locals go there – it could also have been busy because today was day 2 of the Spot Prawn 6 week season.

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First off the produce looked nice and fresh and nicely displayed. But overall the prices were expensive.

Meat was very expensive:

  • Rack of lamb were $66 per KG
  • Baby back ribs were $22 per KG
  • Large steaks for $65 per KG

A lot of the seafood also seems quite expensive, but salmon was quite reasonable.

On my previous trip here about 8 years ago there were a lot of vendors offering you samples of their specialities but this time not the case only a couple offered any sort of sample.

I had said to Pam that last time I had a smoked candied salmon that was really nice so we found and purchased some. 120grams cost about $7

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We grabbed a couple of espresso's and headed outside to the water to eat our treat which was very nice. I am sure when last here they said it was cold smoked but this time they said it was hot smoked so I am keen to try this at home some time soon.

We then headed in side and about some Oysters – 8oz for  $7 and went back outside to eat them.

They were very large but quite soft so not as nice as we would have thought and Pam only ate 1 and I ate 3 and we threw the rest away!

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After this we headed to the other side of the small island to check out the Spot Prawn Festival – we missed out on tickets as they had all sold out before we arrived and no gate sales but thought we should check out the area anyway.

The first boat had just arrived with the Spot Prawns and these are fresh – they are still alive and moving!

We saw where people who had bought tickets were waiting in line for their dish of 3 prawns and small salad and a bun. There was quite a long line of people waiting to be served and we were glad we were not in the line.

There were some cooking demonstrations going on so I stopped and watched one from a local chef.

He was making a cold Spot Prawn soup – I recorded the whole session about 20 minutes and will put on YouTube sometime.

At the end he cooked up some more of the Prawns and the put 1 on a dish with some of his sauce. I was lucky enough to get one for Pam & I to try – there was only about 12 of them.

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After this we headed back to the Granville island brewing bar to sample some beers.

It was $6 to sample 3 x 4oz beers that they make from a selection of about 6 or 7.

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We tried the following:

  • IPA
  • Hefeweizen
  • Larger
  • Raspberry
  • Ginger
  • Dark Beer

My preferences were the ones I choose in this order:

  • Dark Beer
  • Hefeweizen
  • IPA

We also bought a cheese platter for $12 which was crap…

When we left we bought a six pack of the Hefeweizen which I am drinking as I write this.

We catch another cab back to the hotel – a bit more expensive this time about $14 including tip.

Dinner at Shizen Ya

We found the restaurant we were going to go to and grabbed a menu while we were out earlier and made a booking for 8pm.

Pam found the restaurant before we left NZ and we decided to go their for dinner – it is a Japanese restaurant.

Click here for the menu – the web site is at http://shizenya.ca

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We only took  1 photo which was a pity – food looked good and we just go into it and forgot to take photos.

We had 3 dishes and a couple of beers

  • Sakura Blossom Rolls $12.95
    • Juicy fresh crab, albacore tuna, cucumber and avocado rolled with organic brown rice and wrapped with sockeye salmon.
  • T.S.T Sashimi $19.95
    • Wild sockeye salmon (5pcs), Albacore Tuna (5pcs) and Toro – tuna belly (3 pcs)
  • Assorted Tempura $12.95
    • Tiger prawns (4 pcs), wild sockeye salmon (2 pcs) and vegetables (5pcs)
  • Beers about $6 each

Pam thought the salmon was a bit tasteless – it is the very orange product in the photo above.

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After this we headed back to the hotel and crashed.

A quick stroll around the local area

Before dinner and not long after we arrived we went for a walk around the area to get our bearings.

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We stopped at a bar and grabbed a couple of beers – $5 each + tax + tip

I was a bit peckish and they had a deal that was a Pint (normally $5) + a slider + fries for $6 + tax + tip

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After this we went back to hotel and had a rest until time for dinner which we booked for 8pm at Shizen Ya.

Arriving in Vancouver

After a couple of flights (Christchurch to Auckland and Auckland to Vancouver) we arrived (16 odd hours) and went through Immigration and were out on the street in about 20 minutes.  We both slept pretty well on the flight.

We caught a Taxi from the Airport to the Hotel for about $36+Tip – think we gave him $40 or so.

The hotel is quite large about 30 floors and we are up on the 26th floor which has some good views across parts of the city.

The weather was quite nice when we arrived about 20c and stayed like that most of the evening.

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Copyright © Chris & Pam - 2018