I was up at 5am this morning and out of the house at 6:00. I drove to Newark Liberty, parked and was shuttled to the airport arriving at about 6:45. My flight is at 8:30 so I guess I got here a bit early.
Newark Airport is one of my least favorite places on earth. Since the London bombings they have a new policy to limit traffic into the terminal area, my van service from the car park can no longer drop me off at the departures section of the terminal. Instead they have to drop me outside, away from the building, 3 levels down. Does that make sense? First of all you have to drag you luggage from far away, second you have to wait to be picked up in the cold or rainy weather. I understand that they want to limit the risk of a terrorist attack but I hardly think a terrorist will be coming in on a Airpark shuttle bus. I really think it's kind of ridiculous because I am taking a shuttle which prevents excess traffic and I am the one inconvenienced. Short of completely closing the airport, I don't really think there is anything they can do to stop an attack.
I am lucky today, because I am flying on an International flight I get to use United Airlines Red Carpet Lounge. What does this mean? I get to have free beverages, stale bagels and all the airline peanuts I care to eat. I also get a comfortable seat in a quiet place.
It's now 7:35am and we depart at 8:30 and there is no aircraft in sight. It looks like it's scheduled to arrive at 8am. Today I am flying Air Canada in a small "CRJ" jet. I hate those small jets but I did get an exit row seat and the flight is only 90 minutes.
Once in Montreal, I have to figure out how to get from the airport to my hotel. I read that there was an airport bus which stop right at the train station which is below my hotel.
I am staying at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth which is located right in the dead center of the city. I got a great deal from Liberty Travel which offered the hotel and airfare for 3 nights at $650. That's about $115 a night for the hotel plus the airfare. $115 a night for a Fairmont Hotel is a dirt cheap price since you can't get anything off their web sight for under $225 Canadian. You can't even get into a Holiday Inn for that price.
While in Montreal I only have 2 objectives, to eat well and shop. I am not really sure what sightseeing there is to do but I am sure I'll keep busy. I already scoped out a few popular bistros, bakeries and smoked meat emporiums. I just hope it won't be too hot.
I have only been to Montreal once before and it was only for a couple days in the suburbs. I really didn't get to see much of the city so I wanted to return for another view. Could I experience Paris on this side of the Atlantic? After all Montreal is the largest French speaking city outside of France.
Which reminds me...
I forget my translation book. Hopefully most of the places are bilingual. OK, it's time to head over to my flight. The next post will be from Montreal!
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