montrèal, quebec, canada
Arriving in Montreal as I did, late at night and with only the coins in my pocket, I don't think I have ever been so relieved to find compassion amongst strangers. The local public transport system was brilliant but not so clear cut on arrival and my accommodation was not walkable from the bus depot, instead the kindest of taxi drivers drove me all the way in exchange for a handful of change. Bless him! Perhaps because of this inauspicious start I did not enjoy Montreal to its fullest but on reflection I shouldn't be so harsh, this fair city held some wonders that on reflection I appreciate much more than I did at the time, the very least of which were fascinating subterranean shopping malls and possibly the most fun supermarket I had been to in Canada.
Just outside the city there is a magical expanse of parkland that is a joy to walk through. Like many reserves in Canada, the Parc du Mont-Royal is almost a woodland with scrub and well-established trees, hikes and stretches of grassy knolls that would be ideal in summer for lolling about in the sun.
Located in Old Montrèal, the Basilica is itself a work of art. There is a peace that settles over you upon pushing open the heavy, wooden doors and slows your breath as you wander the flags. The magnificence of the structure is in the royal blue aisle leading to the altar.