It’s been a week since I’ve returned, let’s try to make a report about it.
I’ve been curious about Montreal for a while and it being relatively close (just two hours by train), I felt like I could make a small trip out of some time. But then you work with a weekly schedule that never gives you days off in a row, and you just keep waiting.
But no, finally there was Tuesday to Friday off, and I went for some last minute booking ($1118 for a plane ticket? Okay, let’s do the $133 for the train!).
Some points beforehand: I feel like my going-in-the-wrong-direction sense is getting stronger. Meaning that I walked much more than necessary. It took me until the third day to recognise that Montreal is like Manchester, but with a more laidback mood and more French (industrial, colourful, skyscrapers, a big mishmash). Taxi drivers are rude assholes. Oh, and a mini collection of pictures.
On the first day I managed to find a park and my AirBnB, so that was at least something. Everything else was a sweaty, frustrated mess, mostly because my shit phone provider doesn’t even cover the closest city and I had to walk around without Google Maps (managing to not even find the Tourism Centre at first try). Yay, paper city maps!
Having “lost” the first day, I went all-tourist-out on day two. Renting bikes (if you manage to not take more than thirty minutes between two stations, you can rent bikes for five bucks a day), cycling to the islands, to the old part of town, to the new part of town, up the mountain, through the cemetery (okay, I did that walking) (the cemetery had larger than I’ve ever seen before prairie dogs), finding the recommend food places (and loving them). Go, go, go!
Having me collapse at eight at night, trying to come up with something else I should do with my valuable time, and deciding that reading in bed isn’t that bad either. But Montreal is pretty awesome to cycle through, never a dull moment. I was surprised by all of the graffiti everywhere, the amount of parks and squares full of greenery, the asshole cab drivers. Poutine is still not that great in my opinion, though. Asian pastries are, I had steamed green tea cake, mochi and a Chinese donut, which came on a stick for some reason. What do you mean, I judge a city by its food?
And on the
seventh third day I falsely thought I could fill my day with shopping. Plenty of malls around! My train leaves at seven, that’s almost early!
I gave up after three hours, a dress, a backpack and a smoothie. Having heard about Five Guys I got a late lunch there, but the blowing away didn’t happen. I spent some time in a square instead, reading.
Being much too early at the train station worked in my favour with a free donut from the smiley Dunkin Donuts guy, and I finally found an Empire Magazine (I was on a holiday, after all).
The train ride back was filled with a wagon full of loud children. At least I hadn’t planned on sleeping.
I definitely recommend Montreal for a short stay, because it’s weird and beautiful and has so many amazing patisseries (and other food places, don’t worry). The bike system took some time figuring out but works, and I think all kind of vacationers can find something they like over there.
And yes, I may be planning a second visit for a Mamie Clafoutis/Patisserie Harmonie/Kuzo round trip. There’s always more to explore, after all.