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July 10: Montreal
The tour director started the day out by oversleeping because he did not receive a wake-up call. Fortunately, one of the chaperones called him, and there was enough time to get ready and have breakfast before boarding the bus at 10:30. We drove to St. Joseph's Oratory which is a massive basilical that is perched on a hill. The girls sang at a noon mass, and then performed for visitors for about 20 minutes after the sevice. The audience seemed to be moved by the girls performance of "Turtle Dove" and "The Lord Bless You And Keep You." I know it brought tears to several of the chaperones' eyes.
After the performance we were given a walking tour of the basilica. We were a bit disappointed becaues the basilica was not the ornate European style we had anticipated, but was more of what one chaperone described as "Danish Modern". After the tour we ate lunch at a restaurant at St. Joseph's. We had to encourage the girls to eat healthy food because we have determined that several were filling up on junk food and not eating during the scheduled meals. As a result, they were not feeling quite up to par.
When we left St. Joseph's, we were joined by Marie, who gave us a 1 1/2 hour tour of downtown Montreal. She was very entertaining and full of infomation. The chaperones definitely enjoyed the tour and it appeared the girls did too.
After the tour, we returned to the hotel for an hour and then parted with the seniors who left for their night out with Mr. Wigal and Mrs. Tullock. They went to dinner (at an undisclosed location) and then went to see "Chicago", a show with a lot of music and dancing. The rest of the group walked down to Rue de St. Catherine for some shopping and then dinner at Nickel's. While shopping we were able to get the "flavor" of Montreal, and even got to hear bagpipes being played at one of the commons. Nickel's is a chain of '50s style restaurants that are partially owned by Celine Dion. We had a wonderful time and received excellent service from our waiter, Pierre. After dinner we walked back to the hotel just as the street people were coming out for the night. It seems that they very unashamedly beg for money to buy beer. We arrived safely back at the hotel in time to get ready for bed and turn in for the night.
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