Yesterday we took the train to Montreal from Toronto. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about pending snow storms or where to park the car once we got there. Montreal recently got hit with 41 cm/16.5 inches of snow and many of the streets have snow banks that come to just below the knee and actually extend at least the width of a car into the street. Cars park at odd angles and one can always hear the whir of tires stuck on ice hidden beneath the snow. So we chose the less adventurous, less stressful way to go.
The most memorable image, that I tried to capture with my camera, flashed by was as we were leaving the station. Unfortunately the photo didn’t come out. It was a very Victorian view of black pillars and arches, half-hidden by a dirty fog – almost sepia in color and reminded me of some of my favorite Anne Perry mystery novels set in Victorian England.
There are two words that best describe the scenery during the rest of the trip – Bleak and Grey – actually, I never realized how many shades of grey there are. The sky went from a soft powdery almost white to steel – except for a few moments near Kingston when the dirty grey clouds changed to white puff balls over blue skies. The interesting thing was that the ceiling of the train was painted to match. It was like a Magritte painting, where the outside IS the inside and the inside Is the outside.
Borrowed from Magritte.com
Lake Ontario was a steely blue-grey that went from pale to almost black. The fog or snow or clouds on the horizon made me think of those pre-Christopher Columbus sailors who believed the earth was flat and we would fall off the edge if we went too far. And on either side of the train were views of fallow farm lands with rusty spikes of wheat and unharvested corn stalks peeking through the snow; mini forests of black spiky tree limbs and the occasional evergreen coated with snow.
Close to the some of the small train stations en route were the rows and rows of suburban houses that always remind me of the Monopoly Game. And further away were smaller, rustic houses and the random bursts of color in an otherwise gray journey – flashes of a bright green fence, some royal blue shutters, pastel sidings on sheds….and everywhere the blur of blowing snow obscuring the view, the muffled train whistle announcing our passing and the wonderful rocking motion making for a lovely, lazy journey.
But enough about the view, more important – what and when do we eat? I am old enough to remember when a train ride included eating a meal in a real dining car, with real tables, linen tablecloths and napkins, china, silver cutlery, glasses actually made of glass and full course meals. Now, eating means coffee in a Styrofoam cup and some sad looking sandwiches wrapped in cellophane that you can buy for $4.25 Canadian; a teeny bag of potato chips or cookies for $1.50…you get the picture. And you eat it at your seat on a tiny 4”x 6”/10cm x 15cm tray that you pull out of the arm rest.
So we decided to bring our own snacks to sustain us through our journey.
Oatmeal cookies with dried cherries and pecans and sweet Mandarin oranges
Of course, that’s not nearly enough for me and my honey, but what can I make at 7 a.m. that will not go bad or soggy by noon? So I settled on some wraps of Italian salami and rosemary ham and Havarti cheese seasoned with a healthy spread of Kozlik’s maple Dijon mustard.
All that was left to do after lunch, was to read. I’m reading Timothy Findlay’s Pilgrim and my honey is rereading The Cluetrain Manifesto.
That's it for now....we're off for a Montreal brunch.
Related link: Food and Drink