The Expeditionist Diaries: A 3 day Micro-Trip to Montreal
The end of September marked the end of the back-to-school rush at work, the end of my semester and new thirst to get out and explore. Montreal had been on my mind for quite some time, so as I was cramming to finish my projects, I was also frantically looking up the best (and cheapest) way I could explore the city.
I went on TripAdvisor (my secret love) and found a link to a travel guide for 3 days in Montreal. Looking through the itinerary it sounded perfect for that quick-fix escape I was craving. I called my man and we made plans for flight, Airbnb, and before I knew it, we were on our way for a jam-packed mini expedition.
The first day was packed with sight-seeing. We checked out the Pointe-a-Calliere museum, the docks on Rue de la Commune, Notre Dame Basilica (so gorgeous!), and then hit up Rue St. Catherine to visit a friend. She recommended some other places we had to see, one of which was the rooftop lounge at the William Gray Hotel in Old Montreal. The view was absolutely breathtaking, and their poutine was to die for!
As evening came, my anticipation grew as we had made plans to meet my cousin Alexandre whom I had never met. I could hardly contain my excitement. We decided to find a place for dinner on Rue St. Denis, which was said to host an awesome nightlife, restaurant, and bar circuit. What we didn't realize however, was that the metro conductor hadn't mentioned which section was the best part of the strip, so 7 stops later, we're walking through the residential end, wondering how the heck he could have recommended this as the place to be.
Slightly frustrated but refusing to let it get us down, we came across this awesome little place called Santa Barbara just of off Rue St. Denis on Rue St. Zotique. The food ended up being amazing, the drinks even better, and I was on cloud nine, catching up on the last 29 years with my cousin. We continued on, ended the night at a reggae bar, and got back to our airbnb just as the sun was coming up. Amazing first night!
The next day, extremely hungover, we stumbled to St. Viateur Bagelry so the family reunions could continue. My Uncle had driven up from Ottawa to meet me, and it was like meeting a carbon copy of my dad they looked so similar. We laughed, cried, hugged non-stop, shared fond memories of the family and enjoyed some delicious bagels in the meantime.
The late night before meant we were down for the count, and went back for an afternoon nap before heading out for dinner. We had a quiet night just the two of us, and packed it in early.
The next day we had made big plans to try and see as many attractions as possible, but one thing I didn't anticipate was that places are closed on Sundays and Mondays, which put a serious crimp in our plans. Of the long list of things we wanted to see, we ended up seeing the Contemporary Art Museum, a small stretch of the Underground City (which was less a city, and more a giant stretch of boutiques and shopping), and then met up with our friends for a Bring-your-own-Wine (totally didn't know this was a thing!) double date at Lombardi's on Rue Duluth.
After dinner, we went to the Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens, and got to see (among other things) 140-year-old Bonsai trees and an enchanting display of lights. We took an excessive amount of photos and then drove around the city just catching up on all we'd missed since we saw each other last.
We got back to the place we were staying, packed it in early, and made plans for our last day before heading to airport. We decided to visit the famous Jean Talon Market (the Montreal equivalent to Granville Island's Public Market). The colors, textures, and selection of produce there was every chef's dream.
We bought a few cheeses from local sheep farms in the area, some fresh strawberries, and some turkish delight from this lovely little middle-eastern bakery called Le Ryad, then headed off for a quick hike up to the lookout at Mont Royal to have our little picnic.
After a scenic little snack we headed to Schwartz's for a smoked meat sandwich, which I was told by friends and family was mandatory with a trip to Montreal and it definitely didn't disappoint. We shared one between the two of us and even that was more meat than I've ever put in a sandwich in my life. So good!
Finishing up the sandwich, we walked back to our rental car, stopping to snap some pictures of the awesome street art along the way, all the while becoming a little more subdued at the idea of going home again. We finally got on the plane to head back feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and relaxed. All in all, it the perfect little MIcroVacay away! Can't wait to plan the next one.
Copyright Rose Huet 2016