The only two complaints I have about the whole city:
1. The roads are no joke. They will eat you alive.
2. Everything's closed by 5:00 in the evening.
But everything else is pretty cherry. It's such a cool city. I'd describe it as a mix of Europe and New York. It's kinda grimy and visceral like New York, but it's got a modern cobblestone feel to it too. Plus the people here are incredibly friendly and genuine.
We got here last Thursday after about a 12 hour drive. We didn't do much the first night other than stop by Subway for dinner. We all crashed pretty early.
Friday, we walked around the Latin Quarter during the early afternoon and ate lunch at a cafe called Julienne & Chocolate. First good choice of the day. Mary Alice got the biggest Nutella crepe I've ever seen in my life and the rest of the food was ex-ce-llent. After lunch we headed over towards the Quays by the waterfront- which is gorgeous. We stopped to watch a crazy street performer for about 30 minutes. Second good choice of the day. The man was literally crazy- walking on razor sharp knives, lying on nails, juggling fire, eating fire, juggling knives, whipping cigarettes in his mouth in half. Crazy. After that we walked around the streets for a bit looking at shops. It felt a lot like Soho, but...if Soho were in Italy or something. I wish we could've stayed there longer. There were so many cool shops and performers and restaurants to see. That night we went to see the Russian Cozack dancers at Place Des Arts. The dancers were abso-friggin-lutely incredible. They were doing stunts and kicks I didn't think were humanly possible without a trampoline. Or a lot of vodka.
Saturday, we spent some time in Old Montreal. We ate lunch at a Spanish restaurant called Koka Loka. Mom got chocolate chicken, I got mango Salmon, Mary Alice got Cajun steak, and Lark got a salad. After lunch, though, is where it got ugly. We stopped by this place filled with dried/ yogurt-covered/ chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, with a million types of candy and cookies. We walked out of that place happy. OH BUT WAIT, then we went to this bagel shoppe that Mom read about in one of her travel books. We got some bagels and a slice of cake, all of which were delicious. AND THEN we stopped by a bakery that Mom had heard about from my Aunt. We got chocolate croissants, fruit tarts, some chocolate cake, probably a million other things that I've blocked out of my memory...and then we just sort of sat there and gormandized. It was a feast that will never be repeated, for my stomach's sake. After that we walked town and visited a few cool stores- some clothing stores and a record store (with a row filled with about 80 Frank Zappa records and a section dedicated to eight-tracks). After all that we walked through Parc de Montreal and ended at the top of the city with an amazing view. The whole day was pretty perfect. It was cloudy and drizzly which added another dimension to the city. It made it feel a whole lot more whole, and a little more gothic. I like walking around rainy cities in general, but Montreal looked particularly cool.
Sunday we stopped by Notre Dame which was breath-taking. That sounds cheesy, but there really is no other phrase to describe it. It's huge and open and dark and warm and intricate and inspiring and classic and bold and humbling all at the same time. Afterwards we went to a Greek restaurant for lunch. It was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip (so far)- Souvlaki, Poutine, and Baklava. Plus the woman who owned the restaurant. She was exactly how I pictured a Greek grandma- constantly offering us food, making sure we were well taken care of, complimenting us and talking about how important family is. She came from Mount Olympus, Greece to Montreal when she was about 20 and started her restaurant with her two daughters thinking she would make enough to go back to Greece one day. She was a truly lovely person- you could taste it. After lunch we stopped by a small gallery for Jenny Holtzer. It was pretty interesting- it centered on Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. She's got a wicked aesthetic, and definitely knows how to get her point across. Check her out. From there we went to Montreal's Science museum and then back home where we crashed for the rest of the day.
Monday, we stopped by the Musee Des Beaux Art. They've got an exhibit on Miles Davis that I've been dying to see for a while. Surprise! It was closed. So now we gotta wait until Wednesday. We got to see the outside of the museum though...which was pretty cool? From there we stopped by the Biosphere on Jean Drapier, an island off of the shoreline. We learned allllllll about pollinators, water conservation, and toxic chemicals. C'etait hyper bien! The rest of the day was spent on the Subway, which is my favorite part of the city. They're a whole lot cleaner than New York's, and more substantial than D.C's Metro system. It's like a whole other city. They've also got a lot of talent down there. I think I've spent more money on Subway street performers than in actual stores. Today we walked by a man playing the most hauntingly beautiful Japanese instrument. It echoed through all the corridors or the station. It actually made it feel a lot like Tokyo felt- not that I remember it too well, but I remember how it felt.
Crashing again. Seacrest out.