Hello there! My summer has started with rip-roaring fun. Leaving the humidity of Toronto behind, Andy and I packed up the car and drove five hours east to even hotter Montreal, Quebec, the French-speaking province in Canada. Not just the weather was hot there, but so was the music. Montreal was bustling with crowds of music lovers for the Montreal Jazz Festival. Before leaving Toronto, I packed some containers with healthy snacks to avoid mindless/endless snacking at those roadside trucks stops. I also made sure to eat a meal before leaving so I was full. Road trips are usually my downfall and I end up sabotaging my eating plan, so I was glad I planned ahead.
Andy and I met up with one of his closest musician friends, Ronnie, from his former band days. Ronnie is the lead guitarist in renowned reggae artist Burning Spear’s band and was there as a part of the festival. Ronnie gave us two guest passes to the show at the Metropolis in downtown Montreal. I haven’t been to a live reggae concert in a while and I really enjoyed it. It was great to hear the hypnotic sounds of Ronnie’s guitar again. He truly is a talented artist. Although lead singer Burning Spear is nearing his seventieth year, he sure still can move on that stage. I hear he has recently embraced hot yoga and credits this form of exercise to keep him quick and nimble.
We spent the majority of our time strolling the cobbled streets of historic downtown, trying to dodge the crowds who were out to enjoy the musical acts on the major bandstands.
Downtown Montreal, centre ville, as it is called by the locals, is filled with hip, European style bistros and we had no trouble finding good eats on a patio to people watch. We had dinner one evening at Cafe du Nouveau Monde. Andy had the tender steak, while I had a pulled pork sandwich with local cheese, from rural Quebec called Oka.
One especially hot night, we met Ronnie at his hotel for a few drinks. Andy was thrilled when in strolled one of his musical idols, bass player Mr. Marcus Miller. Andy was unsure whether to stop him for a photo-op, but I convinced him to ask. Mr. Miller looked pretty chill and was chatting and laughing with many fans. Finally, Andy approached him, and he replied, “absolutely” when Andy asked for the photo. I’ve never seen Andy so star-struck. It was kind of cute. Later, we watched a live jam session with a bunch of “cool cats.”
After two days of fun (and heat) in the sun it was time to check out and head home to Toronto. The Jazz Fest was fun, with a plethora of sights, tastes and sounds of music to engage all the senses. I couldn’t leave without having a Montreal crepe. It was delicious.
Until next time Montreal….