Raise your hand if you know the root source of the name for the city of Montreal.
(Waits patiently for loyal blog readers to raise collective hands.)
That is, until Andrew and I set off for an early morning run on a very muggy Montreal morning.
And when a nice, flat course just won't do, it's always a good idea to run to the top of the highest point in the city of Montreal, right? And everyone knows what that is, correct?
(Another show of hands.)
That would be Mont Royal.
And just what is Mont Royal? Funny you should ask. Here's where this blog provides another valuable geography lessons for anyone who cares to read it.
Mont Royal is a large, volcanic hill smack dab in the center of Montreal, consisting of three peaks - Mont Royal, Mount Murray and the Westmount Summit.
Fools on the Hill (sorry, Sir Paul) that we are, Andrew and decided to run up the 764 foot Mount Royal.
In some places, we decided to opt for running off the beaten path, trying to do some E Streeter trail blazing north of the border.
Note to hill runners: always take time for a cat nap on the largest logs you can find on your trails
And whenever possible, take the stairs. In this case, all 255 of them.
At the top of the mountain awaits Mount Royal Park, one of Montreal's largest greenspaces. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who seems to follow the Cooks on just about all or our road trips. (See previous Central Park blog post)
Is there any park this guy didn't have a hand in designing?!?!
At the top also lies the Kondiaronk Belvedere, and damned if Belvedere isn't following us on this road trip as well! (See aforementioned Central Park blog post again!!!)
It provided a perfect opportunity for Andrew and I to pause and take in the landscape from the outlook.
And then resume running
Inside the Mount Royal Chalet, Andrew and I are ready to host a feast, a la Game of Thrones. Just not a Red Wedding.
Further along the backside is the site of the Mount Royal Cross, the original of which was placed there in 1643 by Montreal founder Paul Comedey de Maisonneuve in a fulfillment he made to the Virgin Mary.
The newest cross is an LED illuminated one, first installed in 1924, then upgraded with new lighting technology in the years since.
Andrew was just praying we could make it back down the mountain safely
If you take the time to explore, the mountain is dotted with wooded trails, a route highly recommended over the more open access road that most travelers use.
Back on solid - and flat - ground, it was back to the hotel via Olympic City. (Montreal was home of the 1976 Olympics, dontcha know.)
This run would not go down in flames
At run's end, it was time to review the topography of our run.
Notice, I didn't print out the mileage pacing. Let's just say our splits were a tad off pace, especially at that apex smack dab in the center of the run.
Nothing like a hill workout, eh fellow runners?