DAY 1: MON. MAY 19TH
On our way to Montreal! We took the Greyhound and it was only about a 2 hr ride. Luckily, our hostel, M Montreal, was only 10 minutes away (walking) from the bus station. We first checked in and decided to check out Chinatown, which was also walking distance from the hostel.
We heard some good things about dimsum in Montreal, so we went to this restaurant called Kam Fung and after being confused with the menu for a good 15 minutes, we just ordered the “dinner for two” deal. The food was alright, very salty at times, but definitely not worth the money. Maybe I just don’t know enough about dimsum to eat it well?
We were so full after dinner that we just wanted to walk around for a bit before heading back to the hostel. Montreal had something called Quartier des spectacles, which is basically a district that had art displays, performances, and various types of entertainment. We found a row of swings that play different notes when you ride them. I think our little section was playing a sad song haha. Definitely in the minor key.
DAY 2: TUE. MAY 21ST
We started the day by heading to Old Montreal and the Old Port. The buildings in Montreal are all so beautiful and historic that although Ottawa didn’t seem any different than the States, Montreal definitely gave off the impression that I was in a different country.
We then went to the Basilique Notre-Dame, which was about 10-15 minutes from the Old Port. There are also Masses held there, but I didn’t get a chance to go
One of the highlights of this church is the ceiling covered by golden stars all over. There were thousands of them, and I still can’t believe they were all hand painted!
For lunch, we went to Schwartz’s for some awesome smoked meat sandwiches. It was totally worth the trip; the meat was absolutely delicate and it may be a little weird to describe meat like this but it melts in your mouth hahaha.
After lunch, we grabbed some coffee from Café Olimpico. Now, I usually don’t like bitter coffee; you won’t find me preferring a cup of black coffee over a cup of latte. BUT the iced americano from this cafe was aMAzing!! If you’re ever in Montreal, make sure to get some coffee from here; you won’t regret it!
We then headed to Jean-Talon Market, which was just really colorful with all kinds of flowers and produce. I would love to live near a market like this and buy all of my fruits and veggies fresh.
At the core of the market, there was a juice bar that made really fresh smoothies. Interestingly, the entire menu was in French and we had to guess the fruits that were written there haha.
For dinner, we tried poutine again at a different restaurant. I still don’t know… It’s just not my taste I guess.
All day, we traveled by bikes through a company called BIXI. I think there are similar companies in bigger cities in the States like New York, but experiencing them for the first time, I thought it was such a neat idea. There are BIXI stations all throughout Montreal, and for about $7 a day, you can rent bikes at any station and return them at any station, as many times as you want! The only thing is you have to return the bike within 30 minutes, which wasn’t a problem because both of us aren’t fit enough to ride the bike for more than 30 minutes straight anyway lol.
By using a debit/credit card as reference, you can get a ticket with a code of 5 numbers to punch into a dock to unlock your bike. The BIXI stations have everything in French as the primary language, but you can change the language on the menu, which we didn’t know until the 2nd or 3rd time that we used the station. Just imagine how much we were struggling lol.
The neat thing about riding bikes in Montreal is that the bike lanes are really well established. A lot of the streets have separate bike lanes so that the bikers don’t have to worry about dodging cars every second. These are labeled with green dotted lines on a typical Montreal map.
DAY 3: WED. MAY 22ND
We started the day by getting some famous Montreal bagels from this restaurant called St. Viateur Bagel. We got them to go so that we can eat them at Mont Royal with great scenery.
Montreal bagels are quite different than Bodo’s. They’re firmer and denser than the ones that I’m used to, but they’re not as tough (질겨)? I’d say that they’re easier on the jaws to eat and very flavorful too.
Here is front view of St. Joseph’s Oratory! It’s a beautiful building, isn’t it? It’s located near Mont Royal, and according to wikipedia, it’s the largest church in Canada, which I didn’t know at the time (oops).
And after walking up the stairs, after stairs, and even more stairs…
You are rewarded with the breathtaking view of the entire city.
Not to mention the inside too.
When you walk down the street for a little bit and walk around the Mont Royal Cemetery, you reach Beaver Lake.
We stopped to have our macarons, which we got from a store called Point G (very close to St. Viateur Bagel shop), and let me say that these were the best macarons I’ve ever tasted (not that I’ve tasted very many though). BTW, we ate our lunch on the way to this lake because it was a very long walk and a very hot day so we needed the energy haha.
We saw lots of joggers, bikers, and walkers on the trail down from the lake. There wasn’t much to see on the trail, but it was really cool to see such a huge park in the middle of a city like Montreal. Now when you walk down the trail on the southeast side of the park, you can head southeast a little more to reach the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. This was by far my favorite museum in Canada.
The BIXI bike dock was displayed for some reason. We both thought it was funny haha.
Montreal is where McGill College is. I couldn’t find the main building, but it reminded me of Prof. Connelly!
DAY 4: THU. MAY 23RD
This concluded our stay in Montreal. Day 4 consisted of 8 hours on bus to go to Toronto. I really liked Montreal, much more than Ottawa for sure. The only regret is that I didn’t speak French. I hope I can return to Montreal and maybe even explore Quebec City after learning some French!