Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back From Canada

Got back to my parents' house late this morning. We didn't spend as much time in Toronto as I had hoped, but we went to Montreal too, which wasn't originally part of the plan. In all honesty, I enjoyed the visit to Montreal more. For one thing, the fact the it's a French-speaking city made it feel more, for lack of a better word, "foreign" than Toronto felt, which added to the overall experience. Plus, in Toronto we mostly saw the new parts of downtown and the main attractions (I did enjoy visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario), while in Montreal we spent a chunk of time just wandering the streets and soaking in the city. We also met some very nice people in Montreal who pointed us to a few interesting locations worth visiting. They also told us some about the community programs they were involved with in the area we were in, which happened to be a very low-income part of town. One thing I was struck by, was that despite the fact that we were in a poor, somewhat dirty area with graffiti around us it never felt at all dangerous in the way those parts of US cities tend to feel. Also, we happened by chance to be there on the last day of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, so we got to enjoy some live music before we left.

After we crossed back into the states, we hit the northeastern corner of our country, since my dad wants to set foot at one point or another in at least the lower 48 states, and he hadn't visited most of that region yet. So we saw Vermont (Montpelier is a beautiful little town), New Hampshire (where we visited the Old Man of the Mountain and learned that his face fell off a few years ago), Maine (where we spent a good amount of time, with the highlight being an hour or so spent in a lobster fishing village called Friendship talking to a local lobster dealer about the life of a New England fisherman).

The trip back down after that was mostly just driving to get home today, but we did stop off last night in Concord, Massachusetts so my mom could see Louisa May Alcott's house.

It was a pretty eventful trip, and overall I'd call it a success. I wouldn't mind going back to visit Montreal and/or Toronto again with a smaller group (there were 6 of us) and with a little more time to spend. For now, though, this little slice will have to do.

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