Since our drive from Niagara falls to Montreal didn’t actually start until about 5pm, we were still quite far when nightfall came. Upon realizing that we didn’t actually have a set time of arrival we decided to take advantage of our freedom and go into Kingston for the night. Driving along the cute main downtown street full of shops and little restaurants I was pleasantly reminded of Victoria and excited to explore. Apparently every hotel was booked except for the Super 8/crackhouse we stayed at. We hopped on bikes and ripped down the empty main street in the cool air toward the water. The only life seemed to be the 500 university students all crammed into one bar for a back to school bash. We didn’t go in. On the hunt for some nourishment, we chose a cute (Italian?) tapa bar and shared some delicious sangria and tapas. Good ambience and barely a soul in what seemed to be our own private restaurant. Luxury. Checking out one more dead bar, we decided we’d seen enough of Kingston for the night and rode back to the Super 8.
Ok so now for the real fun. This was my first real Montreal experience, super exciting. Driving into the city I stared out the window taking it all in, the beautiful buildings with their staircases and stone, awesome graffiti and Montreal people that all seemed exactly how I thought it would be. Our first night was spent at Le Jazz St. Denis, a hostel geared toward backpackpackers for sure, so beware that that is no parking. A great area though, awesome shops and cafes to check out, including the Indian restaurant we hit for dinner. Bring your own bottle! Will do. Just stop at any depanneur and you’re good to go. We relocated to La Tour Belvedere Hotel the next morning, which featured a rooftop pool and parking out back. It was ample bang for bucks, we’d found a deal online so our swanky queen suite wasn’t much more than the hostel and still right downtown. Mom called up some long lost friends who happened to still live in the city in an awesome place we were lucky to hang at and meet some cool people! All that turned into a sweet little party, new friends and a little bit of bar hopping on St. Catherine street.
By bicycle we explored via convenient bike lanes, checking out the University (McGill) and Old Montreal. The brick buildings and stone streets are just too pretty not to love, giving you that ‘back in time’ feeling. Of course we indulged in poutine and a Montreal smoked meat sandwich, to my stomach’s demise, but it was delicious. On top of having a great queen suite with a fridge full of yummy foods from the nearby Korean grocer, we had fun neighbours who were more than ready to party and just added to the whole vibe of our visit. Fortunately, a favorite dj of mine, Phaeleh, was playing a show during our visit. After a Vietnamese dinner one night with my uncle and his wife who live here, we headed to the venue and danced the night away Montreal style.
Like a strange and fun dream, bouncing from one activity to the next, our jam packed Montreal visit ended and our Quebec City one began, full of broken French and beautiful architecture.
Have you ever been to Montreal? What are your favorite things about this city?