On April 29th, 2014 to May 7th, 2014, my boyfriend and I went to Montreal! I’m really excited to be writing my first post in the “Travels” section of my blog!
We had sporadically planned this trip because, we had both never been to Montreal, we have a friend, named Kareem, living in Montreal who could show us around, and in the seven years that we’ve been dating, it was our first ‘plane’ trip together! YAY! We also recently decided that we should go on a trip to at least one Canadian province a year, until we’ve been to all thirteen together.
I’m one of those people who takes hardly any pictures on trips because I’m so busy taking it all in and having fun, that I can’t be bothered to pull out my camera every time I see something remotely interesting.
Even though Johnny and I both went to a French Immersion high school, we didn’t even try to speak French. We thought we would, but then we got there, realized how beautifully everyone in Montreal could speak French, and didn’t want to embarrass ourselves by trying. I did come to learn that the people in Montreal aren’t quite as nice to you when they realize you speak English. Nobody was plain out rude to us, but if we sat down in a restaurant, and our server realized we spoke English, they almost became snobby. People seemed annoyed anytime we went about trying to purchase things like a metro pass or ordering food, or even asking questions while shopping because we spoke English. Nonetheless, we still had a tonne of fun seeing the city, and being in a hotel situated in the downtown area where everything was constantly lively.
In Montreal, Johnny and I became pros at taking the metro. We also walked. A lot. Granted, everywhere we went, we constantly saw people walking, no matter what time of day. During our stay it did rain almost every day but that didn’t stop us from doing cool things. We did spend a lot of time in and around Montreal’s shopping mall ‘Centre Eaton’. One of the first touristy things we did was visit ‘Grévin‘ which is a wax museum inside the mall. It features life size wax figures of different celebrities including Barack Obama, Sidney Crosby, The Dalai Lama, Justin Bieber, etc. The tour started off with a neat depiction of the changing of seasons in a large room, this part of the tour was called ‘Le Palais des Saisons’ which translates to ‘The Palace of Seasons’. The admission was roughly $17.00/person, but it was well worth it to be able to see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, even if only in wax form.
We also went to see the Saputo Soccer Stadium, home of the Montreal Impact soccer team, but because there were no events happening the day we went, we didn’t get to go inside, but we did make a trip around the stadium and got a peek of the field from the outside. Johnny is a huge soccer fan (typical for someone with European blood) so this was one of the things he really wanted to do, so he was bummed that the stadium gift shop was closed.
We visited ‘Espace Pour La Vie Montréal‘ (Space for Life) which included four different parts; the biodome, the insectarium, the botanical garden, and the planetarium. Johnny and I only visited the biodome which was basically an indoor zoo with birds, raccoons, crocodiles, penguins etc.
Our friend from Montreal took us to ‘Mont Royal‘ park where we made a journey uphill (up a thousand stairs) and eventually, you get to the peak which is a massive concrete landing/balcony that overlooks all of Montreal. The walk up killed me, but the view is amazing and no picture, even if it were to be taken with your Nikon Nine Million, would ever do it justice. It’s one of those things you have to see for yourself. This same day we also visited ‘Vieux Montréal‘ which makes you feel like you’re in a different era. It’s amazing with all it’s cobble stoned roads, old buildings, small shops and outdoor entertainment. Our friend insisted that we go to a small shop in Old Montreal called ‘Queues de Castor’ (Beaver Tails) which is a small dessert shack that sells pieces of deep fried dough in the shape of a beaver tail, and if that weren’t unhealthy enough, you also get stuff on your beaver tail, like Nutella, bananas, Skor chocolate pieces with icing, M&M’s, Oreo crumbs… The possibilities are endless. I obviously got Nutella on my beaver tail, and then I practically died of happiness.
‘Le Distillerie‘ may be my favourite place in the world for drinks. Our friend basically took us to this small lounge that serves alcoholic beverages in pickle jars. The drinks are $17.00 before taxes, but have upwards of 5 shots of alcohol in them and they’re delicious and measure a litre. I had just about tapped out after a quarter ways through my first pickle jar, but managed to finish the rest and then took a shot of tequila. Johnny and Kareem had 3 pickle jars and 3 shots, EACH!
One of the last things we did was visit a hookah bar called ‘Café Arabesque‘. It was my first time ever at a shisha lounge so I was completely enamoured by the idea of smoking without smoking. Kareem seemed to be the pro so he ordered us a grape, mint flavoured coal to smoke and some tea, which is supposed to complement the shisha experience. I did get a light head rush from the shisha so I ordered nachos and fries and drank a caesar and a long island iced tea. The café had a relaxed vibe, and they played good music. The food and drinks were amazing and the decor was cool. Not bad for my first time at a hookah bar. We had to say goodbye to Kareem this night, which sad, as always.
The morning after the hookah bar, Johnny and I left our downtown hotel and checked into a hotel closer to the airport. We relaxed our last night and had dinner at the hotel restaurant, and woke up the next morning and flew back to Winnipeg.
We were really sad to leave Montreal. There was so much to see, and the liveliness of the people and of the city is really special. Johnny and I are already thinking about our next visit to Montreal.
Next year is British Columbia!
List of places we visited (that weren’t mentioned above, in chronological order, to the best of my memory):
- Hotel Visitel: If you want to stay somewhere cheap, clean, and central, this is it. We loved staying here.
- Presse Cafe: Johnny and I were walking around in the rain aimlessly one night, and decided to stop for tea, coffee and dessert.
- Saint Cinnamon: Fast food place that I had lunch from our first day in Montreal.
- St. Hubert: This is the first sit down restaurant we ate at. Super standard chicken and rib joint. The food was decent.
- Nickels: An old school diner style restaurant with amazing food!
- Les 3 Brasseurs: Restaurant we had lunch at while we were out shopping. Our waitress wasn’t nice, but the food was amazing.
- Travelodge Hotel: We checked into this hotel for our last night in Montreal because we had a really early flight the next morning. The guy at the front desk was a snob, and that’s putting it nicely.
- Venezia: Italian restaurant inside the Travelodge Hotel. We ate here twice in a day. Once before we checked into the hotel, and later that day for supper. Our server was the nicest guy on our entire trip.