Weekend in Montréal

Andy poses at Notre Dame Basilica

The kids were on spring break, and John was touring with the Footnotes in France, so we decided to take a long weekend.  Weeks earlier, we had selected the weekend and were planning to spend it in Boston, but on Friday morning the news of the manhunt in Boston made it clear this was not the weekend for a visit. [Indeed, we later heard that the city went into ‘lockdown’ all day Friday, at the request of the Governor.] So we drove the opposite direction, to Montréal, for our own little taste of France.

Wonderful decision. Montréal is a beautiful city, and despite the windy gray weather (and a few snow flurries) we had a nice time. We stayed in the neighborhood known as Vieux Montréal, with cobblestone streets and old buildings, part of the original city enclosed by fortress walls. We were two blocks from Notre Dame Basilica, and two blocks from the St Lawrence River. Because of the chilly weather, we sought out indoor activities.  We explored a series of simulated ecosystems at the Biodome, including a tropical forest then a series of temperate and arctic settings. We explored the underground city for a little shopping, and checked out some stunning pieces at the Museum of Contemporary Art. And, my favorite part, we took in some excellent French cuisine and Indian food.

I took just a few photos.

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Cherry blossoms in Washington

I was fortunate enough to be in Washington DC last weekend, for a meeting at NSF.  I have always heard about the beautiful cherry-blossom season, those magical few days in April when all of the cherry trees blossom together in an incredible display. On Sunday, a beautiful afternoon, I drove downtown, thinking that it would be easy to park somewhere and walk around the National Mall.  Hah!  With over a million visitors each year, the Cherry Blossom Festival is very crowded.  I did manage to find parking near the Capitol and photographed some beautiful tulip trees.

I returned by metro on Monday afternoon, another day with beautiful spring weather.  I headed straight for the Tidal Basin, a lake anchored by the Jefferson Memorial on one side and the National Mall on the other.  The cherry blossoms were at their peak, with hundreds of families and office workers and tourists strolling underneath. Absolutely perfect weather, perfect trees. I’m so glad I finally got to see it.  Check out the photos.

photo of Cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial