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Old Montréal, QC, Canada

On top of the fact that I am uncomfortable driving into a city or on a confusing highway, it does not help that the street signs and names are in French.

I love the sound of the French language, but right now, as I need to concentrate and listen to Google Maps guide me in pronouncing words in French, overwhelming is an understatement.

I take a few deep breaths, trying to find a different way to look at my situation, hoping it will help me soften the edges.

I do what I always do in a challenging situation: I converse with myself. Yes, I literally have a vocal conversation with me and myself. (I know it's grammatically incorrect to write it this way, but it's fun to split myself. Now I have two minds trying to find the silver lining).

What is language if not just sounds in our ears? What are letters if not just art in themselves? I feel much better now! I am traveling through an art museum accompanied by sexy sounds.

My hotel is within walking distance of Old Montréal. By eight, I am already strolling in the streets of Old Montréal, enjoying the quiet morning before the crowd takes over. I plan to take my time and explore Old Montréal on foot.

My first stop is Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. I love visiting churches. I am not religious, but I always feel the beauty of it when I am inside a holy place. I sit down to pray for peace and to say some personal prayers.

One of the things I love about visiting a church comes from my artist self. As an artist, I admire the craftsmanship that goes into the intricate details in every corner. The colors that decorate the space always fascinate me.

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal is a gorgeous church. The pipe organ across from the altar takes ownership of the place. There are over 7,000 pipes. I can only imagine how captivating the sound can be.

For a while, I walked in no specific direction, which led me to a beautiful small garden full of tulips. Oh wow, that is a first for me. The purple tulips in this garden are so rich, and their contrast against the green bushes is a delight. I enjoy this lovely surprise my feet led me to.

I continued strolling, taking my time to visit the Clock Tower and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, which is another beautiful church full of history and many stories. I sat down for a while, chanting my prayers. I am lucky to be the only one in this welcoming place, and I can feel the magic a holy place can bless you with.

I am not a shopper; I have never been one (well... except in outdoor camping stores). Even if I were, I don't have room in my "vanpartment" to buy anything extra. Walking in Jacques-Cartier Square is interesting, as it allows me to observe the multiple cultures that visit Old Montréal, and I have a window of hope that peace can be achieved one day.

I have scheduled two nights in Montréal, however, the next day I need to take it easy. The nine miles I walked yesterday in Old Montréal on a hot day took a bit of a toll on me. There are also a few things back home that require my attention.

I am excited! Tomorrow morning, I will pack my car and head to explore Quebec City.

Quebec City has been on my list of places to visit for many years. I am not a city girl, period, but I love history. I am looking forward to exploring Old Quebec.

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