Melbatb's DIBB Photo Blogs

I woke up at 3.30am but managed to get back to sleep until 5.30am which meant I got about 7.5 hours sleep! More than usual!

I faffed about, had a shower and was the first down to breakfast at 7 am.

The choice of breakfast was mainly toast in its various guises, yoghurts, cereals and coffee.

With my first round of toast I managed to burn it as the toaster was on too high!

Most of the guests were glued to the TV - bronze medal ice hockey game (Canada won! )

My plan today was to go up to Jean Talon market and explore that area using a citywalk app.

I walked to McGill metro station and caught the subway, changing at Berri-Uqam to go north to Jean Talon. It took about 20 minutes as I was lucky with the trains!

The market was about a 5 minute walk from the station. From the outside it was very non-descript!

It was a lot more atmospheric inside! And as it was still early, I could look around easily as therevwasn’t mant people around! I can imagine it gets packed at certain times of the day.

I liked these maple candles but I am always cautious of putting candles in my bag - not sure why!

I bought three small tins of maple syrup - one for home and one each for my 2 colleagues!

From leaving the market I walked to Little Italy which was full of Italian cafes and food shops. I went into the supermarket there that had all the brands I would see in Italy!

The cafes seemed full of older people enjoying a cappucino.

Whilst there was no snow on the pavements, you could see from the parks how much it had snowed.

There was an ice rink in this one, just down from Little Italy. However, it was quite wet as the temperature was quite high. I didn't need a hat or gloves all day.

The Montreal bagels are different from the usual ones - they are tinner with a bigger hole and are boiled in honey sweetened water before being cooked in a wood fired oven.

I took quite a long detour to the most famous one - Saint Viateur - but was quite disappointed that you couldn't have them toasted and eat in. I got two cinnamon and raisin ones that I will have for breakfast tomorrow.

I decided to keep going, following roughly the route on the app through Mile End to Plateau Mont Royal.

The route was actually not that interesting in the sense that the app made a big deal of certain areas that I felt didn't deserve it. I did enjoy looking at the local style of housing - most were three storeys with outside stairs leading to each floor so there were no internal staitways. Therevwere very few single dwelling houses.

Although only 11am I was starting to get hungry. I saw a cafe called Une Crepe and went in. I had their breakfast special without the beans. It was very tasty and was only $7 including coffee. A bargain!

I decided to walk back to the hotel rather than catching the subway! I went into a supermarket and got some cinnamon buns.

I needed the sugar rush as by the time I had walked back to the hotel I had done 13km. I recognised the route on Rue St Denis from our first trip to Montreal 4 years ago! I called into a couple of shops and added potential items to my shopping list.

I had a break of about an hour watching TV in french as training for Monday!

My idea for the afternoon was to walk up Mont Royal while the weather was dry!

It was uphill! The buildings on each side here are part of McGill University - one of the most renown universities in Quebec.

However, by the time I got to the bottom of the park, with at least another 2 km of uphill to go I knew my legs didn't have it in them.

So I turned around and went back down!

As I was close to the Redpath Museum I decided Iwould go in - only it is closed on Saturdays.

I decided I would go to Chinatown instead!

Another rink but no skaters! Too slushy again!

There were some interesting art works!

And a scary wolf which was bigger than me!

I decided that catching the metro would be easier on my feet. I am not sure it was any quicker but I certainly liked the sitting down aspect of it!

Initially the area looked like an average street with lots of chinese stores and restaurant.

Whilst the Chinatown was not very big, it did remind me in smells of Hong Kong.

These cakes looked cute but I am not sure if they would be style over substance!

I went into a couple of shops - I especially love the cooking supplies one! The whole area was certainly bustling! And there were some nods towards Chinese architecture.

Even though not particularly religious, I do enjoy visiting churches.

This one was Basilique St Patrick which had as its congregation the local Irish population. You could see the four leaf clover on the floor.

The organ was being played and I spent an enjoyable 20 minutes sitting on a pew in the calm.

I then headed to Le Complexe Desjardins where, as part of the En Lumiere festival they had a festival of cheese. As you can see, it was very busy with lots of stands showcasing their locally produced goods.

I had connected to the wifi to send a message to F (it was bedtime) and she facetimed me! We had a chat for about 20 minutes - it amazes me how easy it is now to stay in touch anywhere!

I then headed outside where the free activities for the festival were taking place. It was busy with lots of families enjoying the mild weather.

There was a toboggan run which seemed to be a big hit with the children. There were food stands and fire pits (which if it was as cold as it could be would be useful!)

There was also a small big wheel!

The atmosphere was one of fun!

You could also do a zipline. Having done this in Las Vegas (in the surrounding mountains) I was not about to volunteer to do it again!

I headed back to the hotel which wasn't far away. Another small rest may have been taken!

I decided to go to Brit & Chips for dinner. I had maple batter haddock and chips with ginger beer. It was delicious but I couldn't finish it. Good job I had done a lot of walking to use up some of these calories.

It was certainly a lot colder tonight - I needed my scarf and gloves and even resorted to putting my hood up.

Back at the hotel I went up to the 11th floor terrace to look at the view. There were still a lot of activity - people going to and from the En Lumiere festival which was only up the road.

I headed back to my room and tried valiantly to write up my report but between the wifi been slow and my tiredness I had to abandon!

I had enjoyed my wanderings! I ended up doing over 32,500 steps - over 24km. A record for me I think.

As soon as my head hit the pillow I was asleep!

Florida Tix

The day started very early - 4am early! I actually slept really well and was somewhat disorientated when my alarm went off! Usually I sleep badly because I am afraid of missing the alarm call! This time I must have been tired!

Poor J also had to get up to take me to the airport. He was then going to work as his office is literally 2 minutes from there!

We were ready to go by 4.45am. J even managed his porridge for breakfast!

By 5.05am J was dropping me off at the airport! I don't think he lasted all day in the office!

Check in was very efficient for once - I had only been able to check in on the BRU-YUL flight.

I went through security - for once I didn't beep! I grabbed a coffee and a pain au chocolat as I didn't think I would manage to hold out until Brussels!

I then went through passport control - this is a bit hit and miss since all passengers flying abroad have to go through passport control. Today was surprisingly quick.

We boarded on time - I waited until nearly everyone had boarded! We were a little late actually taking off - someone must have been faffing somewhere!

I must admit to nodding for most of the flight! This is a skill I have honed over the years! Passes the time if nothing else!

We arrived a few minutes late but nothing that worried me!

I daw that the YUL flight was delayed by 45 minutes so I was in no rush! It was a long 18 minute walk to the next gate. The good news was that the security had been moved and I didn't need to go through it again! I did need to go through the automated passport control.

I was a bit peckish so go myself an avocado and egg sandwich. It was ok - filled a hole!

I also got a cappuccino from Starbucks to try and keep me awake.

I also had to go to the gate to have my passport scanned and for the airline to check the validity of my eTa! All was in order!

The flight was on an Air Canada 787.

Boarding was again efficient - I was on an aisle seat so I could get up and down on my own agenda!

The flight was just a shade under 7 hours. I nodded (again! ), ate (a spinach, rice and lentil dahl thingy - why do they give you beans on a flight (the starter was a chick pea salad that I passed on)), watched “Blades of Glory” (very funny) and “Victoria and Adbul” (quite sad really) and did a few laps to keep my blood flowing!

We arrived about 35 minutes late!

However, immigration was quick. Since we were here in summer they have introduced machines. They are very efficient. However I got directed to an Immigration officer as I put I was here to study! She asked me a few questions and then waved me through.

My bag came through after about 15 minutes and I just managed to get on the 747 bus (I got a 3 day subway/bus ticket for C$18)

An hour and a half after landing I was walking into my hotel.

Even though it was only 2pm, I could check in!
The hotel is Le Square Philipps. As you can see the room is very roomy! It us on the 8th floor (I requested a high floor!)

It also has a kitchen!

I unpacked whilst texting the kids! I needed to get out as I was both tired and hungry!

When I went outside it was sleeting. I walked the 5 minutes to the Eaton Centre where I got myself some veggie sushi in the food court! It was tasty and got me through my hunger!

I then went up to Old Navy on the 4th floor to get F some of their running bras - she likes these a lot. They were on special offer (C$6) so I got her 4 different types.

As you can see it was raining by now - not much snow to be seen! It wasn't that cold either.

My other destination was Victoria's Secrets. The main shopping Street is a disaster of roadworks! I almost slipped on some black ice at one stage.

I took a photo of some hoodies for F. Need her approval for this purchase!

I made my way back to the hotel as it was actually raining pretty badly by now.

I picked up another cappuccino to try to stay awake - it was 4pm by now!

I watched the Olympic Ice Skating before heading out to grab some dinner!

This is Place Philipps - at least there is some snow! You can see my hotel in the top left hand corner!

I went to Copper Branch for dinner - a vegan restaurant.

I had a spicy black bean burger and oven fries. While tasty it was also very hot!

I headed into the RESO - the underground tunnel/shopping zones where I found a dollarama! I love these types of shops!

It was still raining (though more lightly) so I headed back!

It is now 8.30pm. I don’t think I will last much longer before falling asleep!

Here’s hoping the weather is better tomorrow!

Steps: 14,486!


Here I am again! I have been in two minds as to whether to do a trip report on my upcoming trip to Montréal! I'll explain why in a moment!

First of all - who am I? (actually a question I often ask myself ) I am Mel, a 49 year old language training manager. I am married to J and we have two delightful children - O aged 16 and F aged 13. We live in the south of France!

I don't need to introduce the rest of the family as this is another of my solo trips!

But it isn't really a holiday...

I am actually going to Montréal to improve my French! Really! I have had French lessons here and whilst I am very communicative and understand pretty much everything (well in French French - probably less so in Quebecois! ), my accuracy can be hit and miss! The hope is that a week in Montreal will help

I am flying out in less than 5 days! The timing was to clash with the second week of the kids' February holidays (yes they get 2 weeks). Whilst it may seem to be a bizarre time to pick, it makes life far easier for J as he doesn't have to do the school runs!

I am flying to Montreal via Brussels with Brussels Airline and Air Canada. The timing of these flights (both there and back) suited me best as the connection times in Brussels are short and I have connected through there many times.

The flight on Air Canada is a 787. I have flown once before on one and don't remember that it particularly helped my jet lag! It will be interesting to see if I son't feel so bad on the return trip!

I am staying for 7 nights - flying back on Friday evening to give me the weekend to get back the 6 hour difference!

I am staying right in the heart of the downtown - near to the language school and all the main attractions!

The hotel is Le Square Philipps. It is a suite type hotel so the room has a kitchenette - not sure if I will use it but it is nice it is there! It gets great reviews on Tripadvisor for its friendliness! There is a pool but I am divided as to whether I will take a swimsuit - I guess I should!

The hotel is also conveniently located to Rue St Catherine - one of the main shopping roads! F has given me a couple of items (running tops from Old Navy and a Pink hoodie!) but I don't imagine I will do much shopping!

Eating wise, I only have an hour for lunch (though I do finish at 2pm ) so it will probably be something quick! Keen to try again Montreal bagels!

Also on my list is a vegan burger place and a salad bar we went to last time!

Many visits will probably be made Tim Horton- love their timbits (donut holes)!

Evenings - it will depend on where I am! I may try some vegan poutine (I am pescartarian but am eating more vegan as time goes on!)

Weather wise - it could be cold! Last week was -13C but apparently felt like -18C - so cold. So far it is looking warmer but snow is forecast for next weekend! I actually chose this time of year because whilst this us my fourth trip to Montreal, it is my first outside summer! I hope there is lots of snow! I have my cold weather gear so should be ok!

My plans for the weekend are to walk walk walk!

I have downloaded a walking app that I can access offline! I want to walk up Mont Royal, visit the Plateau and perhaps also Jean Talon market. I may also visit a museum or two!

Also there is a big festival on - En Lumiere. Literally minutes from the hotel. There are lots of concerts but also free activities such as a big wheel, a toboggan run and a zipline. It should be fun to spend a few hours soaking up the atmosphere!

I am not sure how much time I will have in the afternoons but I will try to fill up my time as much as possible!

So I hope you will keep me company on another of my solo adventures! Obviously I will regale you with all the new grammar I learn as well as the interesting Quebecois phrases

Seriously though, I am looking forward to it! It will be interesting to stretch my mind - though I will probably be twice as old as the other students! And probably twice as difficult to teach as I do it as a living

See you on Friday!

The day started as it had done for the last few days - slowly and with a toast and yoghurt breakfast.

Most of the packing was done - just the wetsuits and what we were currently wearing!

J and I went for a wander down to the pier while the kids caught up on their social media.

It was going to be a warm day!

We went back to get the kids as they wanted a last beach session - easily pleased!! The waves were quite big today!

I had to watch out as the tide was high do occasionally the water crept a little too close!

I went yo get coffee - and then just after I ordered thought I had lost my small stash if cash! The lady behind me offered to put it on her card but thankfully I found it again! How nice are some people!!

We hung out the wetsuits in a vain effort to get them a bit dry.

The owner had agreed to a later check out of 3pm. We went back to Lil Farmer for our usual! We then took the body boards back to the shop where we gad bought them and sold them back to them - got $30 back (original cost $65) - $35 for a week’s worth of fun!

At around 2.30pm we were ready to leave. We filled the car up and took it back - a simple exercise! A shuttle bus took us to the airport where we dropped the bags off.

We had arranged with David to meet him at a restaurant near the airport. J worked out that we could get a shuttle bus to the Sheraton and it wasn’t far from there!

The restaurant was Coasterra - quite upmarket.

We had drinks plus tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole! Very tasty with a great view of downtown!

We even saw our plane come in on the runway behind us but I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo!

We have part of this painting as a print at home!!

David dropped us off and we went though security. F and J got a panda express to avoid having to eat on the flight.

We boarded on time. Nothing much to report on the flight as I am one of those annoying people who can sleep - I probably managed about 7 hours!!

I had two asian veggie meals which were edible!

We would have landed on time but for the fact that we were sent into the holding pattern for about 30 minutes.

O and F had lunch (or breakfast) at Huxley’s. J and just grabbed a meal deal from Smiths! We have a long 5 hour layover!!

A foggy day today!

The kids voted to stay close to home and beach time!!

Breakfast was the usual toast and yoghurt. J went out to get us a coffee. It was slow going this morning.

We firstly drove up to near Belmont park, walked along the boardwalk to the end of Mission Bay and walked back through the amusement park.

Neither child was bothered about going on the wooden rollercoaster nor anything else! They reckoned the 30 second ride was not worth $6!! Nothing would persuade them!!

We went back to Lil Farmer for lunch to get those veggies in!

F then had rolled ice cream from the ice cream shop next door.

Made to order!

O had a chocolate and banana smoothie!

Once lunch was digested we went down to the beach.

The sun was shining a bit when we arrived. The waves were better than usual!

I went and got hot drinks and then read my kindle.

However the sun disappeared and you could see the fog forming in the distance.

Even the pier was engulfed. The kids were happy to stay in though. J, on the other hand, was battered and bruised. Not easy being 50!

Once we had headed back and showers were had, we went back out to Mary’ Tack shop. F was in her element but we got away with just a reduced rain jacket for riding!

On our way back we picked up a takeout from Chipotle - a rice and bean bowl for me!!

I checked us in online. We are seated in a four across the middle and no seats to move us to. Not ideal as we would prefer a window seat but not at the prices BA wanted to charge for pre-booking!!

We then walked down to another ice cream shop which did cookies or brownie (or both) ice cream sandwiches! The kids both had one but J and I declined!

J went for a haircut to avoid faffing around on Saturday whilst the rest of us went back. I had done the washing this morning so packed two suitcases. Both underweight.

Need to pack the last tomorrow as well as the soft bag with the soggy wetsuits.

The day began with the usual breakfast at a reasonable time! J and I went down to the boardwalk to get a coffee. We were treated to the sight of a pod of dolphins - as usual though difficult to get a photo of!

Today's attraction was Seaworld. I had got the tickets off Travelzoo - a 7 day ticket cost $60 instead of $90 for a day ticket on the door. We didn't think we would go for more than a day but it was still better value!

Seaworld didn't open till 11am but we got there at 10.30 which was just as well as it took me 20 minutes to change the vouchers for a real ticket!

They let people in and held everyone until 11am in a holding zone. J took the bag whilst the kids and I got ready to hit Manta - the only rollercoaster open!

We went on twice whilst it was pretty much walk-on. O declared it pretty tame but F and I enjoyed it!

We then went to Dolphin challenge. We were all lucky enough to touch one of the dolphins. The trainers explained how they train them - with a healthy dose of explaining how much work Seaworld do rescuing animals.

It was nice to see these fabulous creatures!

Next stop was an early lunch - pretty standard theme park fare. F had a veggie burger, O and I had fish and chips, J a salad plus strawberries came to $60. It wasn't that great but filled a hole.

Our first show was the Dolphin one. It was very funny seeing people in the wet zone get very very wet!

The show was fun but quite short - less than 15 minutes long.

It was also pretty hot in the arena. Today was much warmer than yesterday.

Everyone then moved over yo the sea-lion arena. The warm up act was very funny.

As was the actual show based on TV shows. We all rated it as the best show we saw! We laughed a lot!

We walked through the Turtle tanks.

We then went on the Artic Adventure - a simulator ride. As O said, that was15 minutes of our life we will never get back. At least it was walk on!!

Next up was the Orca show. The three fish sat in the soak zone while I stayed in the dry zone.

Again the whales did a lot of soaking but thankfully the others didn't get too wet (unlike people in the first few rows).

Again there was a lot of information about their recovery programmes.

By now we had seen all the shows and decided to leave. I think in reality we are not big theme park visitors. J doesn't do rollercoasters and none of us go crowds very well. I am glad we went but a day was enough!

Once back at the apartment, wetsuits were put on and we went down to the beach. This was another of the statues that seemed to be dotted around. Probably my favourite one!

I went to get a coffee and a tea for J.

Again, my three were the last ones in the water.

Once back a fridge clearout tea was had - veggie omelettes, pizza, pittas!

A quick trip out to Staples (20 Sharpies for $10) and the supermarket (more cookies) and then back to watch Forrest Gump!

We woke up to a mist! As we had been relatively early to bed, we were all up by 8am! Some of us earlier though!

The usual breakfast was had - though the kids were delighted that I served them theirs in bed - such a treat!

After some discussion, we decided to head down the coast to Coronado.

Due to some dodgy navigation on my behalf (even with the gps and a map! ) we ended up at USS Midway - which was a good thing as J wanted to see it. We had been on the Intrepid in NYC last year so we had decided not to go on this one.

This is the Bob Hope memorial - there were sound effects too!

And the sailor kissing his girl statute. You can see how big it is by the small person in the background. Very impressive!

The whole area is very close it seems to downtown. It had probably been a good move to go there today as the traffic was fairly light.

We then headed across the bridge to Coronado. It is very impressive for a bridge.

Some good views of the downtown too!

We parked up along side the beach.

We walked towards the Del Coronado Hotel - one of the oldest wooden structure buildings in the USA at 140 years old.

They had the ice rink open. A lot of bambis on ice

We grabbed a coffee in one of the cafes on the main street before heading back tonwalk along the beach.

Lots of birds - these cranes as well as pelicans diving in the sea looking for fish.

We walked to the end where there was a fence across - the rest of the beach was on military land. We wondered what this yacht was doing!

It is a lovely area with some very expensive looking houses. Whilst we enjoyed our visit there, I am not sure we would want to stay there as it seems quite a trek from everywhere else! If you only wanted the beach though it was perfect!

We drove back over the bridge - interesting to see a Bae Systems container next tonseveral military ships undergoing repairs/upgrades.

We had lunch in a local pizza place - we vastly over ordered so now have lots of pizza in the fridge.

After a social media break we headed down to the beach as usual. The three fish went straight into the water.

I went to get coffee and tea - it was cooler today.

As the sun came down, the kids body-boarded under J's watchful eye! There were fewer people in the water and the waves were not as good as earlier in the week.

Dinner was a take-out from Chipotle. A veggie bowl between J and I, a burrito for O and tortillas and guacamole for F.

After dinner, we have been for another walk and to get some more cinnamon bread for breakfast!

As usual, we are now shattered (over 15km walked today! ) so it will be yet another early night!

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Park Hours - Sunday 25/02/2018

WDW & Other Florida Park Hours
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom
Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Blizzard Beach
Blizzard Beach
Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon
Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay
Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens
Legoland Water Park
Legoland Water Park
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Extra Evening Hours Extra Late Hours for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of Florida Park Hours

Disneyland Resort Park Hours
Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
Walt Disney StudiosCalifornia Adventure 8:00am
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of West Coast Park Hours

Disneyland Paris Park Hours
Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Walt Disney StudiosDisney Studios 10:00am
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of DLP Park Hours

US Dollar Rates
Cash/Travellers Cheques
Covent Garden FX  $1.3800
FAIRFX  $1.3685
M&S  $1.3522
Travelex  $1.3600
Prepaid MasterCard Rates
CaxtonFX  $1.3648
FAIRFX  $1.3685
Travelex CP  $1.3600
Updated: 14:02 25/02/2018

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Euro Rates
Cash/Travellers Cheques
Covent Garden FX  €1.1202
FAIRFX  €1.1120
M&S  €1.0877
Travelex  €1.1145
Prepaid MasterCard Rates
CaxtonFX  €1.1104
FAIRFX  €1.1120
Travelex CP  €1.1145
Updated: 14:02 25/02/2018