Meeting my Blog Buddies in Montreal!๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆPart Deux!

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Remember this motley crew from part one of this visit? We last heard that Dominique, Darren and I were heading to Mount Tremblant ๐Ÿ”ย for a fun filled day of laughter, food and reluctant hiking. And Linda and Bill, were scheduled to arrive the following day in Montreal.

Dominique saved the trip to Mount Tremblant for when I could go with her and Darren. She thought I would like it, and she was right!! She knows me so well๐Ÿ˜Š

This ski resort is a couple hours Northwest of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains. Like any ski resort it has a vibrant presence year round. Something that I forgot to mention in part un, is that it was hot in Montreal! We were experiencing some really warm temps, and it was gorgeous up here in the mountains.

We arrived and set out for the village. There was stunning architecture everywhere and I took far too many pictures. I will restrain myself and just post a couple.

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The main building at the base of the mountain

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This is one of Darren’s pictures, I didn’t even know he took this one! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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I loved the colors of the village shops and hotels

It would take two gondolas ๐Ÿš ย to make it to the top of the mountain, where the hiking paths were located.

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The first gondola took us to the shops and restaurants

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It truly was a gorgeous day!โ˜€๏ธ

By now, it was lunch time and we (meaning for sure, me๐Ÿ˜‰) were hungry. There were many restaurants to choose from but I saw a Crepe shop, and lobbied hard for that choice! Dom and Darren were kind enough to let me have my way! I could have had any one of the dishes, they all looked good. Dom and I settled on ham and cheese crepes and Darren went for the yogurt. Look at the differences in our lunches ๐Ÿ˜ณ

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Darren’s sensible and healthy lunch!

 

Look at these crepes!!! They are massive! And, mind you, Dom and I each had one plate of these๐Ÿ˜ฒ, and don’t forget the maple syrup we added ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ˜‚.

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Clearly Darren is the healthiest of us all! With a couple pounds of protein and carbs in us, we were ready to head to the top of the mountain. This required gondola ride number two, and was a rather long trek up. We had plenty of time for some photos. ๐Ÿš 

In all combinations possible!

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Damn, I have a lot of freckles!!

 

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Dom loaned me her hat

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This is my favorite picture of them both โค๏ธ

Now, we are ready to hike, or are we?๐Ÿงย The tricky part about the term “hike” is that it is subjective. What one person sees as a hike, might be a walk to another. I was prepared to let Dominique and Darren choose what they wanted to do. We were all full, and Dom had ย her running shoes on, so we went to the map.

I made a few modifications to the map, just for clarification purposes ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The star marks the gondola, which we were informed, would be closed by 5pm.

The arrow shows the “360 trail”. This is a short loop that is known for its views and observation tower. The three of us decided that would be a smart place to start.

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The views were as advertised!! So pretty๐Ÿ’•

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Dom told me that this lake has canoes, paddle boards and kayaks for rent. ย I may have to make my way back out here!!

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Darren’s picture of me being a big dork๐Ÿ˜œ

 

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Darren caught this image of Dom and I attempting to lure a crow out of a tree with some chocolate. We wanted a picture of it for Lisa! This did not work as the crow was too smart and the chocolate melted in the sun!

As we neared the end of the 360 trail, the observation platform became an option.

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Well, for one of us! Two of us decided that there were too many stairs๐Ÿ˜‚

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We made our back toward the gondola, where we faced a decision. There were many more paths to choose, should we go on another hike/walk? After careful study of the area, and some quick calculations on mileage vs time until the gondola shut down, we settled on the Sasquatch trail. We would go down the Sasquatch and back up one of the other paths to make our way to the gondola.

It is important to note that every opportunity was afforded all members to vote down this idea!! It was Dom who said “we have plenty of time, lets do it!”

The peppy girl with her hand up on the map is Dom!

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We started off well. As usual, Darren and Dom would stop and take pictures of inspiring critters or plants. About half way, Darren started casually mentioning that we were going down in elevation quite a bit. Then he would speculate on when we might be going back up. We had a group meeting to determine if we should just turn around at that point.

We decided that we would have time to make it, if we didn’t stop for any more pictures and picked up the pace. Ya, that did not last ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. You can’t have three bloggers together and not take pictures!

We made it to the bottom of the route, and turned to head back up the other trail (yellow arrow). That’s when it happened! Dom went down, voluntarily! I was a little further ahead scouting for the best/shortest path back up. I turned around and Dom is laying on the ground (๐Ÿ˜ต) and I hear Darren’s sweet, soft voice saying “are you ok?”

We really were not that far away from the finish, but I was getting worried that Darren and I may be carrying her the rest of the distance! I resorted to, what every hiking guide does at some point, lying! “Its just over the next hill!” They saw through my deception immediately! But, once Dom was vertical again, and with some well placed hands on her back, we made it to the gondola, with time to spare ๐Ÿ˜Š

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Another brilliant capture by Darren!ย 

We had another couple hours in the car to make it back to Montreal. And a delicious and hearty meal at a Thai place (I think). We were discussing what to do the next day, we knew Linda and Bill were planning on arriving, but not exactly sure when.

Dom and Darren had some photo work to do with Lisa, and I thought that they might need a break from me the next day๐Ÿ˜‚. We decided to do our own thing in the morning, and meet up for lunch. Dom and Darren were going to work on some photo shoots and me…..

I was starting to feel the need for a work out ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ! There were several climbing gyms in the Montreal area, however, I was on foot and wanted a good one within walking distance. Allez UP turned out to be just the right fit!

It was a 4 mile walk to the gym, actually 4.5 thanks to, you guessed it, more construction! I had to get going early so I could get there, climb, and get back for lunch with my buds๐Ÿ’•

It was another beautiful day โ˜€๏ธย and there were some cool things to see. This bridge, near the gym, had hundreds of spider webs! ๐Ÿ•ธ๐Ÿ•ทย Had to take a pic!

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I finally found an unblocked entrance to the building! And, had a great time climbing the auto belays and bouldering ๐Ÿง—โ€โ™€๏ธ

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I felt good and ready to walk back. Near the end of the trip I realized that I was seriously low on nutrients and caffeine๐Ÿ˜ฌย ย I didn’t want to eat lunch without Dom and Darren, but what to do? Remember that beautiful gift basket they gave me when I arrived at the hotel?
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I tore into this like a pack of hyenas with a fresh kill! Well, not the gourd! This, and the in-room coffee at the hotel, got me through!

After lunch, we still had some time to kill while waiting for Linda and Bill. Dom took us for a short walk to a beautiful cemetery. Ya, a cemetery. Honestly, I could have spent all day there ๐Ÿ˜Šย So serene and full of old architecture that you just don’t see anymore.

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Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name, but I do know that it is hundreds of years old.

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You just don’t see headstones like this anymore

 

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I loved this angle, where you see the old statue with the newer church dome in the background

While we were roaming around, we got the word! Bill and Linda were at the hotel๐Ÿ˜!

The three of us rushed back to find Bill in the hotel lobby. Somehow, Darren recognized him from a picture Linda posted three years ago!!! I am now officially in awe of Darren!

We chatted for a bit, the five of us, and decided to head to a nearby park that Dom knew to have amazing views of the city. Once again, she was right๐Ÿ’•

It was a short walk to the top of the view point. And, once again, I took too many pictures! I will just post this one.

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It was at this point in the trip that Dom revealed a very personal battle that she has been having with her phone. Apparently, she has “selfie” issues ๐Ÿ˜ฒย So, at the top of a very steep drop off, she decided to work on her craft. Darren and I were a little concerned as she seemed to be teetering on the edge of a long drop!

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My picture of Dom’s selfie form, it looks good from here๐Ÿ˜‚

I still haven’t seen any of her selfies and do hope she is making progress on this vital skill ๐Ÿ˜‰.

My last night in Montreal was upon us, and we went to a Thai restaurant (or was it Indian?) for the only meal I would share with Bill and Linda.

Sadly, I only saw them for a couple hours, and the lighting at the restaurant was not awesome for photos.

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Linda getting a shot of Dom and Darren

 

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Not sure what Linda and I were thinking with this one!

 

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I love this one of Linda! This is who she is, fun, warm and so very kind! Bill is pretty awesome too๐Ÿ’•

 

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These three are up to something!!

We ate, we laughed, we talked way too loud, we took tons of pictures, we told stories and we closed the place down!! Honestly! The dude had to kick us out๐Ÿ˜‚

And then I was out of time๐Ÿ˜”! I had a very early flight back to Washington, plus I walked a total of 14 miles that day๐Ÿ˜, I was tired!!

I know this was a long post, and most of you gave up reading by now. But this was an emotional journey for me. I never dreamed that when I started my blog, almost two years ago, that I would make such important connections, with such amazing people! It’s true that not everyone could make this trip, and there are other bloggers out there who are just as important to me. But the fact that I pulled myself out of that dark place, and put myself out there, and let’s be honest, that is scary, and came away with these friends…Well, all I can say is thank youโค๏ธย Thank you Dom, Linda and Darren, for rescuing this once sad, lonely and invisible person. I love you all๐Ÿ™

 

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Meeting my Blog Buddies in Montreal!๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆPart Un!

 

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It has been almost one month since I went to Montreal to meet up with some of my BBBs (best blog buddies). Why has it taken me so long to blog about the trip? Is it because I had a rotten time? NO!! Is it because we didn’t do anything fun? NO!!! Is it because I took so many pictures of all the places we visited that I could not figure out how to start this post? BINGO๐Ÿ˜Š

I was only there for three days, so how could I have a billion photos? I think this phenomenon has something to do with getting bloggers together. As individuals we tend to take more pics than the average human, but combine us! I can’t begin to imagine how many storage sticks Darren had to buy for his 10 day trip๐Ÿคฃย Not only was this my first time meeting Darren, Dominique, Linda and Bill, it was my first trip to Montreal. Another reason for my snap happy camera finger.

I decided that the best way to approach this retelling of the first annual BBB meeting, would be chronologically, and in two posts. Is my boring science background coming through loud and clear? ๐Ÿ˜‚

I flew in on Tuesday, about 3 hours late (thank you Air Canada). Darren and Dominique waited to have dinner with me! I felt so bad for starving them all day. We had a lovely dinner, not that the food was scrumptious, it wasn’t. But, meeting these two wonderful souls was a blast! I could tell this was going to be a fun trip๐Ÿ˜Š! ย It was getting late, so we called it a night and wound are way through the maze of construction that is downtown Montreal. Seriously, every street was in some state of reconfiguration! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Dominique chose the perfect hotel for our stay, the Hotel Terrasse Royale (not my photo!). As she put it, it is clean, comfortable, affordable and central to everything. She was right on all counts!

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I would definitely stay here again and recommend it to everyone.

There was one more surprise when I checked in.

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As if being the best host in all of North America was not enough for her, she and Darren put together a gift basket for meโค๏ธย This would be very important in a couple days!

The next morning, I was still on West Coast time, so I was up kinda early. I needed coffee so I ate at the hotel restaurant. Of course, being a food blogger too, I wanted to capture my gorgeous and tasty breakfast!

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This oatmeal with fresh fruit was so good, I had it the second morning as well.๐Ÿ˜‹ย I did my morning yoga and met Darren at the pastry shop across the street, for more coffee! โ˜•๏ธโ˜•๏ธMontreal is so much like Paris! I couldn’t resist taking some photos of the breads and pastries.

I didn’t sample any, but did have a fantastic cappuccino (or two ๐Ÿ˜‰)

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Wednesday was to be our Botanical Garden day๐ŸŒณย so off we went to Le Jardin Botanique de Montreal.

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I did not take this picture, I swiped it from the internet. I like it for a couple reasons. Firstly, the garden was presenting their Chinese Lantern Exhibit, and some of that is depicted here. Secondly, see that tower in the background? I was in love with this structure! I believe Dominique told us that it was part of a venue built for the Montreal Olympic village.

We began our tour inside, with the tropical flowers and plants. You can imagine how many pictures Darren, The Arty Plantsman, took๐Ÿ˜†ย He was a botanist/blogger/photographer on a mission!

As he is far more talented at plant photography, I will only share a couple of shoots and blooms that caught my eye. See Darren’s post for the real good pics!๐ŸŒธ

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I love these giant, prehistoric looking leaves๐ŸŒฟ

 

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I couldn’t resist taking a pic of Dom, taking a pic of the pathway. Can we just appreciate how she is dressed right now! She always looks fabulous๐Ÿคฉ

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This waterfall was located at the end of the pathway. I took a couple long exposure shots from the front….

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and the back.

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The ceiling of the inner building had these beautiful botanical drawings.

IMG_5172I could totally envision Darren’s artwork hanging up here one day ๐Ÿ’•!

Eventually, we made our way outside!

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I loved the reflection in this shallow pool

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the one dark berry caught my eye

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This picture just says “fall” to me and made me think of Lisa! She could do so much with this๐Ÿ’š

There were a few critters out too! I did my best to channel my inner Roda, who along with Lisa, we missed on this trip๐Ÿ˜ž

And speaking of Roda, I can’t see a sunflower, without picturing her! Anyone else remember that post of her carrying 300 pounds of sunflower heads?๐ŸŒป

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There were some structures in the garden as well.

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This little potting shed caught my attention

 

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Dominique took this picture of me, as Darren took a picture of her. I haven’t seen it yet! Dom does pretty well behind the camera too. Not just a a model my friends!ย 

Of course, while I am taking these pictures, Darren is capturing images of flowers the size of a pea and Dom is on her second wardrobe change! I can’t wait to see how those shots turned out๐Ÿ˜Š!

We continued meandering our way through the Chinese lantern display.

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I am determined to get this Silver Chinese Grass in one of my yards, maybe both of them!

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Another view of my favorite structure in Montreal!

 

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A beautiful bench for a cup of coffee โ˜•๏ธ

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One of the rare moments when Darren isn’t smiling! He is deep in thought, looking for his next shot ๐Ÿ’•

We posed in the corn for one last picture! We had a great time, but needed nutrients, well, caffeine! Darren and I opted for, yet another, cup of coffee and Dom would have passed out if she didn’t have that Diet Coke in the car ๐Ÿ˜‚ย it was hot and flat but she downed it like a pro!

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What a doof I am! Look at these two European gems and I am the dopey American with the white shoes on! I have got to read Dom’s blog more often๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

Off we went to an Indian Restaurant, my first! I have no idea what I ate that night as Darren ordered for me (thank God!). It was delicious!! Seriously, I will have to try that again, whatever it wasย ๐Ÿ˜‹. I slept well that night, after all that walking and laughing๐Ÿ˜‚ย Little did we know that our trip to Mount Tremblant the next day would require even more effort ๐Ÿ”.

I will save that story for the next post, but let me just warn you…..Dominique almost didn’t make it off the mountain. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ!

You may be asking “where was Linda and Bill”? They won’t be in Montreal for another day, but they should have started driving by now๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’•

Seven Days Photo Challenge, with a twist ๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿ˜‰, Day 4

The lovely Dominique at 3C Style has nominated/tagged me in a photo challenge. And, we all know how I can’t say no to a challenge๐Ÿ˜‰

Apparently theย rules are: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

No Explanations!! Ok, I will let this one speak for itself, but will include the color version and ask for feedback. I am taking a photo class and am looking to improve ๐Ÿ˜Š

Today I would like to nominate/tag Lisa from lismorepaperco. I know she has some gorgeous shots to share๐Ÿ˜‰

Seven Days Photo Challenge, with a twist ๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿ˜‰, Day 3

The lovely Dominique at 3C Style has nominated/tagged me in a photo challenge. And, we all know how I can’t say no to a challenge๐Ÿ˜‰

Apparently theย rules are: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

No Explanations!! Ok, I will let this one speak for itself, but will include the color version and ask for feedback. I am taking a photo class and am looking to improve ๐Ÿ˜Š

Today I would like to tag/nominate Amy from Bedlam & Daisies, she just returned from a fabulous trip and I know she has some awesome photos! And, don’t castles always look really cool in black and white?!๐Ÿ˜Š

Seven Days Photo Challenge, with a twist ๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿ˜‰, Day 2

The lovely Dominique at 3C Style has nominated/tagged me in a photo challenge. And, we all know how I can’t say no to a challenge๐Ÿ˜‰

Apparently theย rules are: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

No Explanations!! Ok, I will let this one speak for itself, but will include the color version and ask for feedback. I am taking a photo class and am looking to improve ๐Ÿ˜Š

Today I would like to tag Linda ๐Ÿ˜Šย I know that she doesn’t love tags/awards but I do remember her black and white and color challenge! So, maybe she will be interested in this one ๐Ÿ˜ณ, hope so, as she takes great photos!

Seven Days Photo Challenge, with a twist ๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿ˜‰

The lovely Dominique at 3C Style has nominated/tagged me in a photo challenge. And, we all know how I can’t say no to a challenge๐Ÿ˜‰

Apparently theย rules are: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

No Explanations!! Ok, I will let this one speak for itself, but will include the color version and ask for feedback. I am taking a photo class and am looking to improve ๐Ÿ˜Š

 

I will also tag Arty Plantsman even though Dominique already did! I know Darren has some spectacular flower photos ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒธ

Hint for tomorrow: Look out Linda!!