Montreal, Sunday, 7/8/12

Breakfast at the hotel – scrambled eggs, sausage, home-fried potatoes, chocolate croissants, and baked beans? And fruit.

Took the Metro to Parc Mont Royale, mountain named by Jacques Cartier in 1535, which then gave the name to the whole city. Visited Maison Smith for info on the park, which was designed/landscaped by local boy Frederick Law Olmstead (designer of Boston’s Emerald Necklace, and that other city’s Central Park). Walked up (and up) to Chalet Mont Royal and the Kondiaronk Overlook – great views of the whole city. Lots of joggers, bikers, walkers, families. Then down to Tam Tam Jam – every summer Sunday since the 1970s folks gather at the George Etienne Cartier (1800s Cartier dude) statue, with all kinds of hand drums, bongos, djembes, for a percussive be-in. We were there before noon, as vendors were lining up for their licenses, with a handful of drummers starting.

Too much to see & do – Bus & Metro to Musee Beaux Arts – small collections from Renaissance, Dutch masters, Impressionists, lots of painterly periods. Special exhibit of works by Pop Artist Tom Wessermann – a whole series of solid color nudes, 3-d metal painting, hyper-focused smokers (lips with cigarette). Colorful, interesting, fun.

Vegan lunch of felafel and soy milk in the coffee. Then on to Place des Arts, and Musee d’Art Contemporain – abstract art, a long video of the craziest longest Rube Goldberg setup, 3 Anish Kapoor pieces, strange gold animal heads.

Of course, back to Tam Tam late in the afternoon – much bigger, hundreds of people drumming, dancing, whirling, smoking, vending, watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xx26fzN1Zo&feature=g-upl

Walked through the Krishna Fest near the bus stop – heard a band playing a nice reggae version of Hare Krishna. Finally back to the Metro station near our hotel, and the Cirque Fest is happening – 40 acrobats in red outfits performing a tumbling, jumping gymnastics routine in the park by the station. They finish, then invite the whole crowd to follow them to another park for a big surprise. Of course we join the parade a few blocks, to another park where 4 gymnasts in black & white join them for high jump/flip routines. Impressive.

Spend the evening walking along Rue St. Catherine in the Latin Quarter – dozens of restaurants, bars, lively, crowds. Dinner at Lallouz Kababarie – mmm… kabobs!

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