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Montreal Part 1!

Onward once again with the travel posts!

I actually wound up going to Montreal twice because pretty much everything after Chicago itinerary-wise was totally messed up and all over the place for various reasons. A big part of that being that to get to and from Quebec City to anywhere else you really have to go through Montreal - I flew in direct from Chicago only because by a weird fluke that was the cheaper option at the time. So it was a very pleasant four hours on the train through the snowy landscape until I was once more dumped unceremoniously back out into -17 degree temperatures.

My main reason for stopping in Montreal was to catch up with one of my old friends, who I used to go to University with and even shared a house with for a good few years. It's weird how some people change some much over a matter of months, and others go live in an entirely different country for years and not change at all. We'd barely spoken for the past two years, even on internet chat, yet we sort of just picked up where we left off.

It occurs to me that most of my long-terms friends have all become the very low-maintenance sorts.

Anyhow, she had work on the Friday though, so I summoned my courage and ventured out into the cold to go sight-seeing.


I really had no idea what to do in Montreal, I'd done zero research on the place and the only suggestion my friend had was for the botanical gardens, which I assumed were probably not as much fun in the freezing cold. So I found my way to Bonaventure Station, or at least one of the surface interface points which led to it, and just went exploring.


I could swear I've seen this in a movie, but cannot for the life of me remember where.


Walking around that area there were quite a few interesting old churches - though much like Quebec City many appeared to have been converted into museums or concert halls.


One thing about wintery landscapes, everything looks so awesomely ominous. Add some snow and dead trees to a church and BOOM, instant Dracula set.


Statues on pedestals never stop looking cool, but I must admit after so much travelling they've started becoming quite pedestrian too!

Extended international travel: Making all the epic things seem ordinary.


Took this picture mostly for the cool icicles. Statues on pedestals might be old hat, but icicles still fascinate me!  They're like gutter knives.


This one was cool mostly because of the modern skyscraper looming behind it.

It really was much too cold to willingly spend much time outside though, so I ventured underground!

Montreal had this sort of tunnel city spanning a good ten by ten city blocks, all connected via underground walkways, filled with shopping centres and subway stations and everything else. You could actually walk an impressive distance in Montreal without once venturing outside.  Australia needs one of these too, but air-conditioned.

They really make good use of the space though!


This was a super tall fountain I found in one area, chilled here with a drink for quite a while, watching the water.


In one shopping centre, I had brief flashbacks to Melbourne with this random piece of art.


One of the best things about Quebec is the crepes! I have an ongoing love-affair with crepes, and these ones were quite decent, though I am much less familiar with the French variety. I got the lemon sugar one and was so surprised when they actually got out a big pot of sugar and just shook it all over the crepe. Although honestly, that's probably less sugar than what goes into any of the usual ingredients...

Stopped in a few souvenir stores in my journey and got myself a Canadian flag tea towel. Since both money and suitcase weight/space were ongoing concerns on this trip, I set myself a rule - one souvenir for myself per destination! Usually something small like a magnet or pen, or something lightweight/practical like a touristy t-shirt. Lots of great moose and beaver gags in the souvenir shops there. Nice to see Australia doesn't have a monopoly on lame Dad joke t-shirts with national animals.


Still sooooo European.

Then all of a sudden it was the weekend so that was mostly just hanging out with my friend as we caught up and got some cake and tea and then wound up in one of those endless youtube marathons, which might seem like a bit of a waste of an exotic destination but did I mention it was freezing?  I'd learned to dress for the weather by wearing five layers but going out walking on snow and ice takes too much concentration! And every photo opportunity is measured with 'do I want this photo badly enough to remove my gloves for the thirty seconds it would take?'  I managed to slip and fall on my butt on the icy footpaths too, but it hardly hurt because as mentioned, I was wearing five layers of clothes. Like landing on a mattress.

Anyway, she got me into watching Madoka too and holy crap how had I not watched that yet? Madoka's character type annoys me to the ends of the earth but I was pretty much sold on the series by the end of the third episode. Still have a couple of episodes to go but it's such a good subversion of the magical girl genre. I can't believe the movie was out in Japan while I was there and I didn't watch it. All the regrets! (Although odds are, the story would have been so lost on me without subtitles anyway.)

Montreal was really just a stopover anyway, as I was on my way to San Francisco the next day.


We still had a good chunk of the morning though to get some food, and more importantly, some more cake. The bakeries were just off-the-hook awesome.

Then it was on the bus to the airport, and a four and a half hour flight to San Francisco. I got asked by three separate officials if I were related to a famous hockey player because we happened to share the same last name. Australians might love their sport, but I don't think we come even close to comparing to Canada's love of hockey.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 29th, 2014 07:16 am (UTC)
Okay, I take back the 'relatively good weather' comment - minus 17 in high humidity is bad!! Especially if you're not prepared. :O

If you don't mind sharing, what's your last name that's so familiar to hockey fans???
Apr. 29th, 2014 07:51 am (UTC)
Got to share a last name with Shea Weber.

I always thought the name reasonably common, but not so much in Canada I guess?
Apr. 29th, 2014 07:57 am (UTC)
Hmm, I guess I'm not as big a fan as I used to be. The name doesn't ring a bell…but upon Googling, I see he plays for the Predators!

And oddly enough, I did run into someone with the last name Weber last week at work. It can't be that uncommon. :/
Apr. 29th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC)
O_O I live 5 minutes from Bonaventure Station D: Darn it.

Yeah, Montreal at this time of the year isn't really much fun. La Ronde is more for the summer, and Biodome is indoors :/ Glad you had fun touring the mall and downtown at least! ^^
Apr. 30th, 2014 09:34 am (UTC)
Whoa so many LJ peeps live in Canada I had no idea. D'oh! I did a shout out at the end of one post way way back but I think most people missed it. Probably should have just done it a separate post.

Montreal was still pretty fun, don't worry, I didn't judge it on its weather! :D
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )