My Travel to the City of Montreal for the Picasso Art Exhibit and others.
When the Picasso’s Art Exhibition was brought to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from Paris, France but not in Toronto, I decided to visit Montreal with my sibling and a close friend visiting from San Francisco, CA. I bought advance ticket sales for the Picasso Art Exhibition so that we won’t miss the show in case it will be sold out.
The other exhibit called “The Great Pharaoh Ramses II and His Time”, there were no advance tickets sale so it didn’t really matter, we can just buy the tickets when we get there. That summer long ago was also the time they held at the original French pavilion of Montreal’s Expo ’67 which was quite an unusual setting for the exhibition of Egyptian antiquities now known as the Palais de la Civilisation a show called “The Great Pharaoh Ramses II and His Time” and it was North America’s first important exhibition of Egyptian antiquities since the “Treasures of Tutankhamun”.
Ramses is best remembered for the building programs that resulted in the two rock temples at Abu Simbel and the mortuary temple of Rameseum in Thebes, works that were impossible to transport. But the objects shown in this particular exhibition which is the magnificent statue of the child Ramses protected by the Falcon God Horus, as well as various vessels, tiles, friezes and body adornments are imposing records of the workmanship that the Warrior King Ramses II helped to flourish in his kingdom during his reign.
We went to Montreal, Quebec during the Lobster Festival so we had lobster feast whenever we go out for dinner. Their lobsters were so succulent and huge, since they are so close to the Atlantic where most of the sea foods are abundant. We went on a long driving to the City of Montreal and it took us over five hours on the scenic route. If we took the regular highway and not the back roads scenic areas for sightseeing, we would have been there in less than four hours.
When we arrived in the city of Montreal, it was already getting dark. Since it’s not only the Lobster Fest season but also the Feast of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, most of the hotel rooms in the city were occupied. We tried the hotels downtown but most were fully booked so we drove a little out of town limits and still the hotels were full. We dropped by the Holiday Inn since it was getting very late, almost midnight and we were lucky that one room was available since the out of towners who reserved that room was no show, they cancelled their priority. We were told that it was a presidential suite reserved for a Japanese family but they did not arrive yet, flight delayed and we were only staying for a day so we got the presidential suite with a discount for airline employees. Wow, there’s only three of us in the group and the suite had two bedrooms and a living room with a family room also. There were three TV sets and lots of room for the three of us but we did not really care, because we were very sleepy so by the time we checked in and got to our suite, we were all tired and ready to go to bed. We went to sleep and woke up early for our tour of the city and checked out since we only stayed for a night.
Last night while we were looking for a hotel, I saw bright lights over the bridge somewhere in the city so I tried to follow the lights and ended up at the side of the bridge where there was an open roadway. It was a small winding road leading somewhere and for all I know, I ended up on the tracks of the Grand Prix Races. Why they never locked the entrance is beyond belief. There were no lights so the car lights guided me around the tracks, and after completing one lap driving at 30kph on a dark race track, I ended up where I started so I exited and there I saw the sign, bold and bright, originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit which is now the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Canadian Grand Prix Races. It was renamed in honor of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve who died in one of the Grand Prix Races years ago. If it was only daytime and there was daylight I would have driven 150kph there but I was not that lucky. They should have padlocked that entrance so no one will ever get lost in that racetrack next time. How could I have been so naive to have missed the racetrack sign, no idea, guess it was just too dark in that part of town.
From the hotel, we drove downtown to see the Picasso Art Exhibit, since we already have tickets to the show, we skipped the very long line ups that extended over two to three blocks. In the exhibit hall we had to obtain players for the taped summaries of the paintings that we can listen to while we moved from room to room to see the Picasso Paintings. Once you have passed one gallery room, you have to go to the next gallery and there’s no turning back to the other galleries allowed. Then after visiting the art exhibition that were staged in connecting big galleries, we ended up at the exit and had to return the taped art exhibition summary players. It was an expensive art show but it was worth it and if you wanted to see it again you need to buy tickets for the next show that was done every hour on the hour for the whole day and duration that the art show was open.
Then after we had lunch at a French Restaurant, we went to see the Egyptian Exhibition of Ramses held at the Palais de la Civilisation Museum in Montreal. I parked the car somewhere and we took a taxi to the museum because I couldn’t find it and it was getting late in the afternoon. After attending the exhibit at the museum, we drove to the City of Quebec to visit the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. We stayed at the hotel near the shrine so that we can just walk to the cathedral the next day and visit the shrine. After we stayed in Quebec City for a day, then we went to Port St. Jolie, a small town that we passed to buy some wooden carvings that they are famous for. Then we proceeded to the highway to return to Toronto after our short vacation to Montreal and Quebec City. We had to bring our guest to the airport the next day so that she can fly back to San Francisco where she lives. Sometimes we go there to visit her and her family and this time it was her turn to come and visit us on her vacation.