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Winter Highlights festival "Montreal Illuminaire"

Winter Fun in the Old Port

sunny -10 °C

The Old Port was lit up like a Christmass tree to celebrate the Winter Highlights festival. We headed down to see what was going on.

First stop marshmellow toasting. There were 44 gallon drums set up with open log fires burning in the middle and marshmellows and sausages on sale for toasting over the coals. We also tried roasted chestnuts - not our cup of tea.

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We were amused by an event called the "snow bath" where people tested their endurance by playing around in a patch of snow wearing only swimming costurmes. The event was hosted by Bon Homme - the Quebec City Winter Festival mascot.

We also tried the ice slide - 22 metres of down hill madness. They give us a sled to slide down a luge like slide made completely made out of ice, 22 metres of fun.


As it grew dark we had a go of the ice slide under lights. We then stopped for another Canadian classic - the beaver tail. Based on a pioneer food prepared with flour and water now it is a float fried thing that tastes and feels a bit like a doughnut while being wide and flat like a beaver's tail. Very yummy!!!


The local power company ran a heated cage in the middle of the festivities to warm you up if it all got too chilly.


The night was wrapped up with a historical and entertaining light parade ending in fireworks. As far as I could work out one of the founding fathers of Quebec/Montreal met with the Holy Trinity and this led to a Firework finale, all a little odd for us, I guess you needed to be Quebecois to uge it.


Posted by JenniM 16:51 Archived in Canada Tagged events Comments (2)

Ice Capades....

snow -9 °C

You have to see this, friends of ours built their own ice castle/fort in their backyard. He's an engineer and did a brilliant job. What you cant see are the slides and tunnel which lead from the castle.




We also got to see a little of the off island action. Frozen lakes are just amazing!


A on final one of us.....


Our love to you all, with more news to come xx

Posted by JenniM 16:51 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Winter Wonderland

Fun in the sun and snow

snow -5 °C

Well its January in Montreal, meaning that its deep in the heart of winter.

Well if when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, when life gives you snow and ice, play cricket and skate on it.

We went out and played cricket in the snow. A local group who play cricket weekly, inside most of the time, took the opportunity to play on a field where one of the first games of cricket were played in Canada. There was some pitch digging involved especially as the snow started falling heavier but with the ice underneath and slush there wasnt enough umph to get a bouncer and you could always see the hole in the snow where the ball drilled its way in. It was an absolute blast and Eleni made friends with several pople very fast, it helps to be cute and the only child there!



Beaver Lake on the top of Mt Royal has been transformed in winter to an outdoors ice skating rink and toboggan run. We went skating outside for the first time and Eleni had seen ice-skating on TV so wanted to try it. We hired "cheese cutters" these kids skates that strap onto the bottom of her snow boots. They also had a walker type frame for her to hold onto as she got the hang of skating. Well she got the the hang of leaning over the frame while other people pushed you around. It is fair to say that by the end she had learnt to keep her legs together, bend her knees and her feet were staying put. After a little ice skating we headed down the toboggan runs, it was great fun with Eleni joing the youth group (they happened to turn up on the same night as us) for a train ride down the hill, about a dozen sleds linked by feet, Eleni was on the tail and boy did she fly!!! After doing one Canadian tradition, we indulged in another with the church friends that we skated with, we had hot chocolate and "Tim Bits" think like Canadian style dougnut holes filled with jam or covered in chocolate or some other 'awful' substance.


Our other great journey for January was a visit to the Biodome. Daddy hadnt been before and there was a special drama called Caillou and the Innuit. The kids watched a great play with a man (who was pretending to be a boy), with a Caillou doll who was discovering the secrets of his grandfathers spirit by following the clues of the Innuit guides. It was very simply and well done, we all loved it. The kids were then encouraged to follow the trail around the biodome discovering animals in the Innuit's everyday lives (and lots of other besides). Well done and we all loved it.


Well its a new months and so much to do, lots of news to follow but our love to you all, happy new year if we havnt said so yet!!!
PS Did we tell you we also saw Veggietales in the Pirates who dont do anything, a must for young and old (no seriously!)
PPS We also had a flyby visit from Phil and Megan and friends, so muc great to here some Australian accents, now they're off to Edinburgh to live, there must be something in the water in Brisbane :)


Posted by JenniM 17:38 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Christmas Travels

Fun Family Festivities

semi-overcast 10 °C

We're back from our Christmas break.

We travelled to Baltimore to take up an invitation by our cousins to join them for Christmas. We travelled by train, as planes were cancelled in the last two snow storms, and we weren't feeling confident enough to drive down in the snow. The train was roomy and more spacious than the Australian trains we have travelled on but none of our trains were on time not mentioning the one that broke down or the other that just didn't show up and although we got priority seating heading South our carriage had really bad suspension bouncing us up and down and left and right through the Northern U.S.

We had a great time eating our way through Christmas feasts with plenty of big fat Greek hospitality, its OK they had lamb. It was quite novel to have big family gatherings for Christmas its been either us or one family for so long we got a bit lost initially but everyone was so welcoming and gracious we felt pretty blessed by the end.


Jen also celebrated her birthday while we were in Baltimore. I decided to take her out for dinner in an Aussie restaurant. However the Outback Steakhouse was more Aussie by name than by experience. Eleni did find a place where they could give her Chippies when she asked for Chippies not fries and I did get to drink Fosters out of an Oilcan. We didn't even get a "G'day!" when we walked in.

Jen also did some successful birthday shopping the next day as she went out speed shopping as my cousin called it (i.e. no kids just two girls shopping for themselves).

As well as catching up with extended family we also took a day out to explore Washington, D.C. After deciding not to attempt to keep Eleni amused on a bus or trolley around the sights for 2-3 hours we made up our own walking tour starting from the Capitol Building and walking down the mall to the Washington monument with a detour via a few of the Smithonian museums, then on to the White House and the Jefferson Memorial. By the time we got to the Jefferson Memorial Eleni had fallen asleep in the stroller, which meant that the last part of our walking tour was even more peaceful and we could wander back to the metro and a train back to Baltimore.



I got to go to my third, 2nd in the US, live American Football (Gridiron) game, I now have a greater understanding of the game. Despite the cold and rain the game was great! It helped that the Baltimore Ravens won on the night. Another bonus for me, during our time in Baltimore was that I got to play Playstation with my nephew. I hadn't realised how much I'd missed playing PS II games, but it was certainly an unexpected highlight of our trip for me.

We were not aware of how much we had acclimatised to Montreal's deep freeze that when we got to Baltimore and temperatures 5 to 10 degrees above zero felt quite mild.


Posted by JenniM 18:33 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (2)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

snow -6 °C

Its December and Christmas is coming. Eleni is so much more excited this year, she's understanding so much more and sh's already to recive those birthday presents Jesus gives on his Birthday. She also gets its Santas day too so what he brings is a bonus (love it). We talk aboit different santa's and Saint Nicholas and she laps it up. I get how kids believe everything at this age so we're trying to inject as much realism without ruining the magic that we can. She is loving it all not to mention all the Christmas movies!!!!

We've also decorated our Christmas tree, it's covered in home made decorations ala Jen & Eleni which are pretty cool.



After the tree was done we went sledding and have been a couple more times since. Montreal copped over 30cm of snow in a snow storm on Monday, and its stayed cold enough for it to hang around for us to play with. The bottom of the mountain was set up for kids to sled down with hay bails to catch flying objects!! It was great fun, we tired out Eleni long before we were ready to go home, well more before Marty was ready, what a big kid, I think he is definitely adjusting to the whole snow thing. I'm beginning to think he was born in the wrong hemisphere..



To add to the festive spirit we were given an authentic Austrian gingerbread house (well made by an Austrian friend, which we've decorated and we now have its lovely aroma in our living room, combined with the tree and the trillions of cookies everything smells fantastic.


We're also busy preparing for our trip to Baltimore for Christmas. It will be great to see how Christmas is done in winter and we're looking forward to checking a few American style lit homes.

So if we don't have the chance to tell you personally, Merry Christmas (et Joyeaux Noel) to you all have a blessed time!

Posted by JenniM 18:36 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

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