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Like Boston, Montreal had been on my list of places to visit from New York since I’d first moved here. While I love Toronto, I’ve yet to find anyone to accompany me on the trek, and that driving time is ridiculous to do solo. So, I opted for Montreal. At the very last minute, about two days before my departure, I invited my lovely friend Sarah to join me. It went a little something like this:
Because I was unable to visit the place I’d truly wanted to for the 4th of July, I decided to immediately hop on airbnb and see what was a reasonable drive away. Anything under eight hours is perfect and if I have to drive alone, I prefer to keep it six hours or less. I figured it was high time to scratch Montreal off the good ol’ list, so I hopped in my car after work and made my way to Massachusetts (last minute decision) to stay with Sarah. We’d head out on Friday morning, bright and early and in the direction of Canada.
The drive to Montreal was actually lovely and surprisingly scenic. The drive back through Vermont was even better. We arrived at our airbnb and finally got to see the lovely digs in person. I think my host was going for a vintage rustic look and nailed it. I was shocked at how spacious the room was and it even had a balcony. Perfect for morning tea, journaling, and tarot card readings…my morning ritual. There was no time for resting as we were super hungry, so we headed out toward Mt. Royal Ave. and walked up and down the street until we found a place to eat. We mistakenly got a carafe of wine at a pizza place because I assumed it was the sangria that everyone was drinking. It wasn’t. But it got the job done. Afterwards, we headed to a thai spot that we’d noticed before and went in. It was more of a eat in carry-out than a restaurant, but by this time we’d really worked up an appetite and didn’t care to look elsewhere.
On Saturday Sarah had it in her mind that she just had to try poutine for the first time, so we found the most famous poutine restaurant – Patati Patata. Me? I had the petite burger and fries with an ice cold beer to wash it all down. She had her slop- I mean poutine :). A coworker recommended I visit a shopping area, so I figured roaming the vicinity would be something to do, plus it wasn’t going to hurt to window shop. What we found instead were blocks and blocks of art vendors along Rue St. Catherine, passing through the “Gay Village.” I forgot that no matter where you are, gay usually means male, so there was nothing for us to see there. However, it was cool to see the local artists’ work. We finished the evening at a hookah spot, this time with actual sangria. Because I was traveling with someone for the first time in well over a year, I wasn’t able to do my usual walk-a-thon of the city. So once we got back to the apartment, I changed into my workout gear and went for a walk. I thought I would just roam the neighborhood but my feet kept taking me further and further. At one point I saw a castle-looking structure sitting proudly atop a hill. I decided to get as close to it as possible, only to end up at the bottom of Mount Royal – the overlook I was set to visit the next day. I turned around to head home but for some reason I turned around a second time and ascended the stairs. I walked and walked, out of breath and all, until I finally reached the top of, well, heaven. At the top of Mt. Royal, after the hundreds and hundreds of steps and several hills, is the most beautiful view of Montreal. It was picture perfect and my body clearly knew that I wanted to be there on that specific day.
On our last full day in Montreal we eventually rolled out of bed and this time it was Sarah’s turn to visit Mt. Royal. I somehow
convinced tricked her into walking the entire way, but this time, to take it easy on her, we took the long way to the top and walked up hills as opposed to the stairs. For the amount of time it took, I recommend the stairs. You’ll want to turn around and go home by the time you’re done with those paths. This time I had my camera with me and what little footage I could of the views and the path to it. It was then time to head back home to shower and rest because I had my heart set on a fancy schmancy dinner for my last night.
Even though I had my car in the city, I didn’t feel like driving unknown streets and/or looking for parking in neighborhoods I was unfamiliar with. I also didn’t want to lose my ultra sweet parking spot right on the corner of my airbnb. Our uber driver picked us up in an obscure van and immediately alerted me that I had to sit in the front as uber isn’t exactly legal in Montreal. He talked us half to death (I prefer my uber rides silent) and talked us out of going to the restaurant I chose. Once we were driving to various neighborhoods to show us things we may enjoy, all on my dime of course, we ended up at a restaurant that was originally my #1 choice. We got out of the car to enter, but not before he provided his number should we need tips on what to do afterwards. Unfortunately, and for no known reason, the restaurant was closed, but the one right next door came highly recommended by the driver, so we settled in at Lavanderia. Unfortunately, I wasn’t hungry enough for the main courses, but a couple of the appetizers and cocktails looked delicious, so I indulged. We sat around sipping our drinks, analyzing the intricate webs of spiders in the bushes just a foot away, and enjoying the rain. Afterwards, we headed to the grocery store right across the street for last minute snacks – a delicious bottle of wine in my case – and waited for our Mercedes uber to take us back home. It was a lovely end to an even lovelier night.