Thursday, October 16, 2014

Silver then gold

After ten days of our having been the sole focus of the Silversea staff, cossetted and pandered to, welcomed and pampered, this morning their attention shifted to clearing us off the ship and preparing it for this afternoon’s intake, another eager and excited consignment of passengers who are at this very moment luxuriating in our suite, listing their preferences to our butler Janice, making friends with our cruise director Moss. It was hurtful, make no mistake, and sitting in the lounge, evicted from our suites, waiting for the call to go ashore for the final time, was a melancholy experience.

But here we are now in Montreal on a warm, wet day. It is – on the strength of a single wander around this afternoon – a very different place from Quebec: messier, busier, edgier (insofar as Canada can be edgy), with more skyscrapers, more churches and cathedrals, more smokers, more beggars, more traffic. Doubly rejected, by both Silversea and by Fairmont, who weren’t ready for us, we were pleased to find, eventually, and after much trailing through the underground city, the Basilica of Notre Dame, which is a gloriously beautiful place. Painted, gilded, carved and decorated on every surface, it still manages to be elegant and dignified, rising above the rabble of tourists weaving through the pews, ineffectually flashing away with their cameras.

Tomorrow may bring a different take on the city. Let’s see.

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