By evening we made it to Montreal and after wading through some rush hour traffic we met our host, Zenzhetty. After an early dinner we had a nice walking tour along rue Saint Paul, where the older buildings have all been snazzed up and filled with shops and restaurants. The streets were busy and folks were out in their dress up clothes for hot weather. Short slinky dresses and wobbly spike heels seemed to be the thing. Our host clued us in that the crowd was just getting started and people would be out until close to dawn. The weekend nights would be even busier. Montreal makes the most of summer nights.
The evening air was still hot and heavy so we took a turn and walked the river front where we hoped to find some cooler air. An impressively large and anvil shaped storm cloud cracked and flashed in the distance south of the Saint Lawrence River. We didn't feel a drop of rain in the city that evening as the orange lightning flashes lit up the last of the sunset sky and the city lights glittered on the river.
Cirque du Soleil had their big top on one of the Quays along the river near the boardwalk and a temporary photography exhibition. Montreal has implemented an excellent public bicycle system called Bixi. There are racks of these bikes all over the city and anyone can pay to use the bikes and return then to any other rack. They even have built in flashing red LED lights for night visibility. Some of the Bixi racks fill up more than others in popular destinations and we observed one of the trucks that regularly redistribute the bikes. I wish we had more time in the city (and a bit cooler weather) as I was itching to try out a Bixi. There were riders everywhere and Montreal accommodates bikes well. If only Los Angeles (where weather will keep you off your bike only 2 or 3 days a year) would make half the effort Montreal does it could be a two wheel paradise.
Our walk passed a temporary public art project, a cathedral, shops, cafes, and several museums. All were humming with activity. Too bad we aren't night owl a-go-gos. By the time things were really starting at midnight we had passed out in bed. If you have a taste for long summer nights out with cultural flair and Barcelona or Paris are too far to go, Montreal will fill the order with style to spare.