Panamericana 2013

… somewhere between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego

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Do the Laundry and exploring Montreal

Preparing Lunch

The Supermarket Parking, on which we parked this night, is quiet empty still. We have breakfast here and luckily the sun comes out even though it’s still a bit cold.
Today we need to wash our clothes. Thanks to the WiFi access, we checked the internet to find a laundry nearby. We find so many addresses that we had to decide for the one with the best name: ‘Blanc en Blanc’ is our destination.

We arrived at the given address but we are wondering.
“This is a Café and not a laundry”, I said to Jan. “See, it says: Cafe, Tea, Panini, Toast, Sandwich, Fruits, OH!!! and Laundry”, I read out the sign.

We packed our stuff and went in. Even inside I am not sure this is a laundry because it’s a cute, colorful Café. The huge, ugly washing machines are hidden behind the bar.

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We like this place and idea. While our clothes are laundered, we enjoy a nice banana smoothie and again, use the WiFi access to check Mails and “talk” to friends via Whats App.

Luckily we didn’t decide to get any contract for our mobile phone. We can use the WiFi access very often. Nearly every Fast Food Store offers WiFi and some Cities also have an open City WiFi.

As the laundry is done, we explored Montreal. We did not park in the city centre and needed to walk quite a long way. After one third of the way, we recognized a “bike rental station”.

For those who don’t know what that is:
Up to 30 bikes are parked on the roadside. Each in its own kick stand. Next to the bikes is a “parking meter machine”. You put the credit card into the machine and pay 7 Dollar per bike and day. You receive a small paper with an unlock key. This key has to be entered on the kick stand and off you go for 30 minutes. If you cycle for more than 30 minutes you have to pay a small amount again. If you return the bike to another station within the 30 minutes you do not need to pay again.
You can always get a bike again 30 minutes are for free.

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We liked this idea and got two bikes. We cycled a bit plan-less, again without city map, around and landed in the old city.

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IMG_0878Actually we would love to have an ice cream but the prices are exorbitant and we passed on. As this is not a 2 week holiday we can’t say: “So what! We are on holiday, let’s buy whatever we like!”. As we have a monthly budget we need to balance our expenses and need to forego sometimes.

We just strolled around and recognized that we are not really city people. OK, we did not have a city map to find the nice places – that was a bit stupid.
As we wanted to cycle back to the car, unfortunately all bikes in the city centre were gone. It looks like lots of people use them to cycle home from work.
After we passed approx. 5 bike stands without bikes, we finally found a station with two bikes and cycled back.

As we tried to find our place for the night, we sadly recognized that it’s not allowed to park overnight on the supermarket parkings in Montreal. On every street light is a big sign with the following label:
THIS PARKING IS FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY. VEHICLES PARKED ILLEGALLY WILL BE TOWED AT OWNER’S EXPENSE!

“This is too risky. We better don’t park here.”, I said.
We drove out off the city, to a small restaurant parking without any prohibition signs.
It’s not very idyllic but OK for a night. We decided to sleep in the car so nobody can really notice that we overnight here.