Oh Canada Oh Canada, not sure if that’s how the anthem goes or if it even begins that way. Which pretty much sums up my trip to the northern country. If I wasn’t confused with the street signs I was definitely constipated from eating the entire city. This being my second trip to the land of the “Eyy” except this time it was more like “Bonjour”. Montreal, a predominantly French Canadian city is rich with culture, parks galore and “disco” fries, I mean poutine. [A taxi driver and I decided that us New Jerseyians may have stolen gravy and cheese fries from the Montrealians.]
Growing up in Ironbound Newark, which is “Little Portugal” I pictured Montreal to be similar with French restaurants on every corner, but this place is actually France. We drove five hours to cross not one border but two, one into Canada and the other into France. I may not have taken it seriously in High School but Latin class was the context clues I needed to get us through the city. It was a great eye opening experience that a place so close to home could be so much farther in human connection. Not only was there a language barrier but I also felt distant from the locals, which I never do no matter where I am. It’s almost like our presence annoys them, which I get because my own presence annoys me sometimes. (haha) Don’t get me wrong there were people who were friendly, willing to share with us their favorite eateries and what they have learned from living there, most of them transports from other countries. (wompity) Maybe Montreal just wasn’t my cup of tea, it doesn’t take away from the city’s beauty, and it being a must trip especially if you live on this side of the US of A. To be able to drive into another world is something right out of Back to the Future.
Once we found the right parking sign to leave the car in front of we made our first walking trip of many. Around the neighborhood of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie where we stopped at Dinette Triple Crown to grub on fried chicken that they put in a pretty little picnic basket with a blanket, actual plates, utensils and mason jars. That would not fly back home, it would have been stolen or left at the park. Here we were like locals drinking beer in public, joined with a thousand bees. [Montreal’s mascot? because they’re everywhere] It was a sweet beginning, sitting in the park is so Montreal. I thoroughly enjoyed taking a moment to enjoy the company of others and nature. Moment quickly passed as we had an agenda.
We arrived at the Air BNB with a bottle of wine and brewskis to get our day started. Quickly undressed into our skivvies ready to dive into the pool as we noticed a drunken sailor siting in a broke down mini van in the neighboring yard. Considering the place we were staying in, behind us was like a Brazilian favela. It was so odd. Andrew and I took the party downstairs to the sex dungeon with a jacuzzi and fireplace bedside, as Cherry attempted to take a nap. Day turned into night as we headed into our second millionth walk of the weekend. To Agrikrol in the Gay Village. There was an hour and a half wait so they took our number and told us to Le Red Tiger head over to the where we enjoyed a free shot and some appetizers. We must have arrived just in time as that place was jam packed on our way out. Also sorry to our waiter who we didn’t tip, we weren’t sure if that was what the locals did! YOU the REAL MVP for the shots, and food suggestions!
The next morning we spent most of it walking, we walked through neighborhoods, parks, climbed stairs none of which we were prepared for. It was hot and humid, probably the perfect day to have spent it at their local beach but instead we just followed the yellow brick road to nowhere. I am not even sure we even knew where we were heading as long as we saw it all. We started off at the Fairmount Bagel, as Cherry would say was bomb, then headed to Parc du Mont-Royal that included 400 steps to the top. Who fucking knew! I didn’t. I had a fucking long jean skirt on and my hair was down like I was about to be on a billboard not hiking. I looked like a complete moron. Once we arrived at the bottom we called an uber to yet another park.
Parc La Fontaine welcomed us with open arms, but we were more interested in air conditioning, a beer and cigarettes that Andrew needed as he was going through withdrawals all morning. YIKES! Off we went on another walking excursion to Restaurant L’express, where I tried beef tartare. YUM! Honestly thought I was going to gag at the site of it but I ate about 75% of it until I got tired of eating raw meat. I wish we had had enough walking but we knew if were going to go out and party that night we needed to find a bottle STAT! So off we went on a thirty minute scavenger hunt for tequila, definitely did us in that night! Man, I was so wasted pants! Bar hopping on Saint Laurent didn’t help. Started at an underground bar, to a saloon to a night club and ended at this garden themed bar. We left our asses on the dance floor. Slept until the rain drops woke us up.
Sunday was a tourist day. Andrew convinced us to go out make up undone that we would get breakfast and come back. Guess what happened instead? More walking! In the rain! I am entirely grateful to Parma Cafe as it was the best fuel we needed for another marathon. We literally ordered everything, if it was good it was at our table. These sandals were not made for walking as we headed to the underground mall, which reminded me of Jersey Gardens, I am not quite sure what the lure of it is? I imagined gold plated walls, low ceilings so that I could feel like a mole rat shopping. Definitely missed that memo. Thank God we found an Irish bar, with an Irish speaking bartender. [I love that accent] Stout beer always gets me drunk enough to do anything like another trek to Old Port. We took a nice outside tour of Notre Dame as they asked for an entrance fee. A church with a fee is not a church but a McDonalds. [did you know Catholic churches and McDonalds are the highest grossing industries in the world] Any who Old Port was definitely my favorite part of Montreal. It had everything a tourist needed to feel they were in a different country.
I liked Old Port so much we ended our trip there Monday morning. Right before our travels back home we spent about two hours looking for parking and trying to locate Creperie St Paul. We couldn’t end the French Canadian tour without crepes! So there we were with an agenda waiting about 45 minutes to get three crepes. Be warned the food is good but you will wait. They’ve got one guy shelling out three crepes at a time, so if its packed fughetaboutit. One more stop on the road was the biosphere, I had to do it for the gram. It was our final goodbye. We bid farewell to the French, the walking and St. Lawrence River, so glorious and blue! Will I be back? I am not quite sure, only a five hour drive anything is possible! Thank you for hosting us Montreal, Canada!
Love More, Peace More and Roar More.
Your Wild Spirit Guide,