Atlantis Alumni

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Last Day In Montreal

Saturday after breakfast and Jim's workout at the hotel's large gym, we headed to the Old Port, the oldest part of this sprawling city, where we visited the 19th century neo-Gothic Basilica of Notre-Dame. This cathedral has many carved, gilt details and is a popular tourist attraction, After that we took a taxi to the Museum of Fine Arts. A pleasant lunch of tortellinis was followed by visits to the galleries to see decorative arts, the old master collection and early 20th century Canadians (see the photo of a landscape by Tom Thomson.) In between touring the museum's collection, we attended a concert of Bach's Christmas and New Year cantatas in the Salle Bourgie, which at one time was a church, renovated in 1937-8 by Percy Erskine Nobbs, considered one of Canada's most important architects of the 20th century. Sunday morning we return to Philadelphia by air after a short but delightful visit to three Canadian cities. - Dan

Saturday, December 21, 2019

An Art Pilgrimage

Friday morning we took a two-hour train to Ottawa to see the National Gallery of Canada. In the European/American art galleries there are masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Turner, Monet, Klimt and dozens of others, mostly high quality works by these great artists. In the Canadian art section, Dan particularly wanted to view the works of Tom Thompson and "The Seven," early 20th century landscape artists who captured the pristine beauty of their country. The mystical works of Emily Carr are also represented in the gallery. Readers, if you don't know the works of these talented Canadians, please look them up on Google for a visual feast. Paintings shown below are by Van Gogh, Severini ("Black Cat") and Tom Thompson. For dinner back in Montreal we ate at an old French restaurant, "L'Autre Saison," in a 19th century house. We could have been dining back in the 1950's, but the food was traditional and good. - Dan

Friday, December 20, 2019

Quebec-Montreal, December 19, 2019

On Thursday morning the weather turned much colder, and a cold spell here means 5 degrees F! We took a taxi to the Gare du Palais, the main train station in Quebec City to begin our journey to Montreal. The station is quite nice architecturally, having been designed by one of the architects who designed the Chateau Frontenac. Our three and a half hour train ride was like a journey through a winter wonderland, with fields and farms blanketed by snow that will endure until Spring. After checking in to our hotel in Montreal, we ate lunch at Shu-Dan, a popular Japanese restaurant nearby. After Jim ventured on line and Dan read for a while, we walked in the frigid air to Pois Penche, a brasserie, where we dined on lobster, a seafood soupiere (like a bouillabaise) and ended our meal with our favorite dessert, the chocolate fondant. - Dan

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Culinary Delights In Quebec

Wednesday morning, after breakfast, Jim enjoyed a workout in the well-appointed gym at the Chateau Frontenac, while Dan started reading an engrossing novel given to him by his friend Louise: "Disappearing Earth" by Julia Phillips. Light snow has filled the air of this beautiful city all day, creating a romantic atmosphere. Before lunch we visited the Musee des Beaux Arts, located in three connected modern buildings. For lunch we dined in old town's Echaude Restaurant, featuring the finest food we've had in this cuisine-oriented town. Dinner, after relaxing cocktails in the 1608 Bar, was at the hotel's Champlain Restaurant, run by award-winning chef Stephane Modat. We're sad to say goodbye to beautiful Quebec City this Thursday morning as we make our way to Montreal by rail. - Dan

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A Full Day In Quebec

Tuesday morning, after a special crepe breakfast at Le Petite Chateau, the favorite restaurant of our good friends Carole and Pete from Long Island, we walked down to a part of the old city called "Petite Champlain," named after the city's founder. The narrow streets are full of old houses, shops and bistros. At 11 AM we took a guided tour of our hotel, the Chateau Frontenac, which opened in 1893. Yet its most interesting wing was built in the 1920s, which still survives and includes the lavishly decorated lobby. Lunch in the old town, at the wonderful Lapin Saute restaurant was hearty. Jim had a seafood cassoulet, and Dan enjoyed a salmon vol-au-vent. A scrumptious chocolate souffle concluded our meal. We returned to the hotel by the funicular for a rest. Then, late afternoon we had a French language class (with wine!) at the hotel, with a vivacious teacher, a Quebecois woman who is both a licensed tour guide and a former nurse. Dinner later was full of Quebec specialties at Anciens Canadiens, located in one of the city's oldest houses, built in the 17th century. - Dan