By Jane Shelton
Visiting Montreal, Canada in the rainy season of May probably was not the best choice, however, sailing the St Lawrence to Quebec, the Gulf of the St Lawrence, Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, Bar Harbor and back into Boston made us forget the misty rains of the week.
When visiting Montreal, take time to take in the sights and sounds of Old Town, and most specifically the famous Basilica Notre Dame of Old Town. This is probably my favorite Basilica or Cathedral that I have ever visited as the detail goes on and on. Every look brings a new sculpture, painting, and awe-inspiring stained glass windows to your eye that goes straight to your heart!
Visiting the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec is a must, which you will find at the top of the funicular. Walking the cobblestone streets to the famous hotel brings a giddy excitement that cannot be explained. Old world charm surrounds you as you enter the porte-cochere and enter the grand revolving doors into the extravagant lobby. The beauty of the wood throughout the structure is amazing, and takes you back to a time throughout history as you wander the halls gazing at the old black and white framed photographs of the elite in their best dressed clothing seated with royalty. From there continue down the hall to see the opposite end of the spectrum of the works building the grand structure…if you look closely, you can hear the hammers and swift movement of the saws as the structure rises in glory. Explore the ballrooms, if not being used, and gaze out the windows onto the St. Lawrence river. Another option is to dine in the restaurant or the pub overlooking the St. Lawrence river, if you wish to linger a little longer.
Continue walking the cobblestone streets to explore the many churches and basilica in the surrounding blocks, as well as shops, restaurants, and museums. After completing your tour of the upper town, take the funicular back to the lower town to investigate more shops and dining options, and if you want to take in the Museum of Civilization, it is conveniently located across from the Old Port.
Continuing our cruise on Holland America takes us further into the beauty of the countryside sailing the St. Lawrence into the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. Our first stop is Prince Edward Island and the charming town of Charlottetown, very walkable from the port, and a great stop to enjoy ventures into the beautiful island flourishing with stories of Anne of Green Gables. Don’t forget to enjoy the local lobster for lunch! Delicious!
Next port is Sydney on Cape Breton, Island, famous for its very large fiddle outside the Spirit of the Fiddle auditorium. A great show!
Stay tuned for the remainder of the Canada New England cruise journey……