Oot and Aboot in Montreal
Montreal Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
September 1st, 2007 – by: krysleigh
When I decided to take a random trip to Montreal for Labor Day weekend, people asked me "why Montreal?" Why not? is always my response (and really, people, you should learn to stop asking such silly questions!). As an eternal vagabond, I'm always up for visiting a new locale, no matter how exotic or mundane it may be - Montreal falls smack in the middle of that spectrum, it's not the most glam city I've ever explored, nor is it the most lifeless (don't get me wrong, it is beautiful). Not to mention, a) I'd never been to Canada (crazy, ay?) and b) I'm trying to hit up all these New England-accessible destinations that will be much harder to visit when I relocate 2917.
My overnight bus ride there was perhaps the most dramatic part of my weekend away. Never, and I repeat, NEVER, take the Greyhound through the Adirondacks. Or anywhere else for that matter. The tires were flat, meaning everyone on the bus went sailing in the air approximately every five seconds as the emergency light haphazardly blinked on and off. That combined with the driver making us all get off the bus every 1.5 hour we stopped did not make for a peaceful sleeping environment. Luckily, when we stopped in Albany to refuel, they gave us a new bus (though the changeover put us about 2.5 hours behind schedule). I Amtraked it back, and even though it took nearly 11 hours, I much preferred the serene train ride through the mountains in my comfy two-seater to that of the shaky bus.
I stayed with my friend Lauryn, who "studied" with me (read: we drank copious amounts of alcohol together at bars with names like Chocolate Factory in response to the harsher-than-average Danish winter we endured) at the DJH in Aarhus. She showed me around the city during the day, and the first night we went to "Spin and Needle," a craft and DJ night at a local dive bar put on by Lauryn's friends from Ottawa. Not being one of creative genius, I made a piece of magazine art for my boyfriend Scott and called it a night. Saturday night was the "I Love Neon" night, a rave-esque party at some club where MSTRKRFT was spinning.
I won't bore you any longer with the minute details from my weekend, but I'll leave you with Some Random Observations from the Bilingual City:
-There are lots and lots of bees in Montreal. No really. LOTS. And you know my trepidation of bees. Or maybe you don't. Let's just say an encounter with a beehive in Sewanee + 17 stings + one hospital visit later does not = a fondness for apidae.
-Montrealeans (Montrealites?) like their terraces.
-The Anglos and Frenchies aren't rushing off to buy BFF necklaces anytime soon. Kind of like the Catholic and Protestants in Belfast, only speaking two completely different languages and without that whole minor war thing.
-Lots of people get married in Montreal. And this from a Southern girl who was invited to 13 weddings this year alone and is the only person in her state over 22 not hitched. I saw no less than five weddings taking place in the Vieux-Port area during my leisurely Saturday stroll along the quay.
-Punks and hipsters run rampant. Nuff said.
WHERE/WHAT TO EAT: L'Academie on St-Denis is a great, rustic French-Italian joint with a good mix of seafood and pasta dishes. While not cheap, main courses run from about $14-$30 Canadian. Not bad consider I pay that nightly for a meal in NYC that is not nearly as decadent. Also, head to Schwartz's, THE place in Montreal to sample the city's famed smoked meat. And don't leave Montreal without at least trying poutine.
WHERE TO SHOP: You'll find your designer stores and chainlets along one of the city's main stretches, St-Catherine. Also, check out Montreal-exclusive deparment store Ogilvy's to browse labels like Chanel, Hermes and Burberry all at once. Personally on my budget, I preferred Simon's, a Canadian store with a younger, cheaper selection. St-Laurent and St-Denis are excellent streets for more indie and one-off boutiques.
WHAT TO DO: Visit the quaint cobblestone streets of the Vieux-Port and the Quay. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, rent a paddleboat or quadricycle and work off last night's poutine.
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