The last thing I remember last night before falling asleep was thinking about how fun itâ€™ll be to meet Mario and venture out on my own in Montreal for the first time. The whole time I was in Montreal I hadnâ€™t really got a chance to sightsee by myself so it was going to be nice to be able to do whatever I want for the next couple days before heading back to Calgary. My alarm went off at 9am and after hitting the snooze button a few times, I was up and getting the rest of my stuff packed for my bus ride back to Montreal. Bene and I had wanted to leave for the bus station by at the latest but as per usual we were running a little late.
Mario and I
It was close to when we finally got in the car and it took us close to 30 minutes to get to the bus station. Once she dropped me off and we said our goodbyes, I went up to the ticket office and purchased a one way ticket to Central Station in Montreal. I hadnâ€™t had a chance to eat yet and the bus wasnâ€™t scheduled to leave until so I grabbed a quick sub at Subway in the terminal and waited for the bus to arrive. While waiting for the bus I noticed that 90% of the people waiting for this bus were either backpackers or other young travellers like myself, I wanted to strike up a conversation with a couple of them but Iâ€™m still a little on the shy side when Iâ€™m by myself, one thing I hope to start overcoming in my coming travels. When the bus arrived, I handed the bus driver my luggage and grabbed an open seat on the bus.
Mario, Val and I
One thing I did a lot while riding the trains through Europe was listen to â€śCity and Colorâ€ť on my Ipod and it would make the time just fly by. Thereâ€™s something about an acoustic guitar and Dallas Greens voice that puts me in a trance and makes time just melt away.
In no time we were arriving at Berri Terminal (Central Station) in Montreal and just like in Quebec City, it was snowing and cold. I was originally going to walk to my hotel (Holiday Inn) since it was pretty close but when I got outside I quickly changed my mind and grabbed one of the cabs sitting outside the station.
Val and Mario! My first Travbuddies!
5 minutes and $10 later I was standing outside what I originally thought was the construction site of yet another skyscraper in downtown Montreal but soon realized that it was in fact my hotel. See, what Priceline.com neglected to tell me when booking my hotel through their site was that the hotel I bid on was under construction. If you have ever used Priceline.com, youâ€™d know that you can get hotels for pretty cheap but unfortunately it works kind of like EBay, you make a bid and wait for a hotel to accept your bid. Of course you choose what area of the city and what star rating youâ€™d like to stay in but sometimes the star ratings can be a little off so if youâ€™re looking for a nice hotel, stick to 4 stars or better cus 3 stars can get you something like I got! Now it wasnâ€™t all bad, yes the hotel was under construction and yes the rooms werenâ€™t as nice or big as those you can find in a lot of the nicer hotels but most of the construction was located on the first couple floors and lucky enough for me, my room was on the 1oth floor and I wasnâ€™t gonna be staying the hotel much anyway so it didnâ€™t really bother me too much.
After getting settled into my room and having a quick shower, I was ready to venture out for a bit before meeting up with Mario. Now just before heading out I decided to check my camera and make sure I had lots of room on the memory card so I could take some pictures while walking around. Unfortunately when I turned my camera on, I got a familiar error message that I have seen now for the 3rd time in my travels. My memory card had taken a crap and was no longer working which sucked cus it was the only one I had brought with me. Normally I bring a couple but in my rush before leaving, I couldnâ€™t find my other cards so I figured 1 card would be okay, I guess I was wrong. I quickly ran down to St. Catherineâ€™s Street and found the Future Shop and bought another memory card. While walking down St. Catherineâ€™s I received a text from Mario saying we could meet at a pub called â€śVices Versaâ€ť at on St. Laurent Street. I got the directions from him and grabbed a cab outside my hotel after making a quick stop in my room to change.
When I walked into the pub I was greeted at the door by Mario who took me over to the table he and his girlfriend were sitting at. I introduced myself to Val (Marioâ€™s girlfriend) and ordered a local Quebec beer (again I donâ€™t remember the name). As per usual I was a little shy at first but Marioâ€™s bubbly personality helped me open up pretty quickly and soon we were laughing and having a great time telling each other our travelling stories. By the time we finished our first beer I was starting to get pretty hungry considering I hadnâ€™t eaten in over 8 hours, so we decided to grab some food and order some more drinks. I ordered a pizza with mozzarella cheese, smoked meat and tomatoes while Mario and Val decided on a plate of Nachos. By the time our food arrived we had managed to finish another beer and were really warming up to each other. The laughs continued and so did the beers, by the time we finished our food we were having such a blast that Mario decided itâ€™d be best to call in sick tomorrow and show me around for the day before I had to catch my flight back to Calgary. Once that decision was made, we all ordered another round, even Val got into the mix switching from half pints to full pints of beer. Mario ordered some Ice Wine which is a very popular desert wine in Quebec, he even let me try some which was nice since I hadnâ€™t ever tried it before but had heard about it in my Lonely Planet book. Ice Wine is what you get when growers leave the wine grapes on the vine to freeze and then press them after, leaving a sweet, high concentrated juice. It is pretty expensive though and a good bottle will usually set you back at least $50.
By we had spent over 6 hours drinking together and with plans to be up at in the morning to go out and see Old Port Montreal together, we decided to call it a night. Mario and Val offered to give me a ride back to my hotel and although I declined, they insisted that they drop me off and that Mario would be back at 9am to pick me up to take me to Old Port. Unfortunately I hadnâ€™t gotten any pictures during our time at the pub so we took some pictures outside my hotel and then I was on my way up to my room to get some shuteye.
Like previous nights while travelling, I had trouble sleeping as I was yet again excited for the next day of adventure. I couldnâ€™t get over how great it was meeting Mario and Val, they were more than I expected and left me grinning ear to ear all night. The fact that I wasnâ€™t going to get to be alone tomorrow and explore on my own didnâ€™t even bother me. Knowing that I had just made some great new friends that are willing to show me around town and share in my adventure is even better! Oh the joys of travelling!
man so nice reviewm my friend and seriuosly if u like my town im very happy cause sure u come in a strange saison but i do my best to show u the good place and sure make fun with us that what i like man and dont be shy in life cause life is not shy with u and u can get what u want bros ahahahaahah thank for meeting me and val and i have a blast with u and all the gang hope see u soon man!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted on: Jan 25, 2008
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