Shocked into despair by the airfares to Europe this summer (family of three from U.S., $4,200 just to set foot on the continent), I was temporarily at a loss. We were looking for an interesting vacation to indoctrinate our 11-year-old son into the family tradition of learning and exploring cities with enthusiasm — the byway, the ignored side street, the out-of-the-way cafe.
Bien sur! Why did I fly Air Canada to Japan all those times, if not to amass enough miles for a Canadian vacation? And if we went to Montreal, it would be like a European vacation in many respects. And the tickets would be free!
Well, not exactly. Seventy-five thousand miles and $533 later (redemption and no less than 12 other separate fees, some involving cross-border and other illusory “costs”), we had our tickets, plus my Star Alliance Elite baggage privileges. So I figured at about $180 per adventurer round trip, we were still ahead of the game. I hope.
Once we arrived at our bed & breakfast, Le Terra Nostra in the Verdun arrondissement in southwest Montreal, I stopped worrying. We received a warm welcome, then dropped our bags and headed right out into the eclectic neighborhood.