Class, today we're going to begin with another lesson in pronunciation. Say the word Monday. Did you pronounce the o like a u - Munday? Yes, you did. Montreal is the same. Monday. Montreal. Get it?
We arrived in Montreal last week after leaving Old Quebec in the morning. It was a quick three hour drive. We stayed at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, right down town. They were also kind enough to celebrate our month-early-anniversary with a lovely piece of chocolate-mousse-cake-slice-of-heaven. I love these people.
We hit the streets and headed down St. Catherine Street, which would be the equivalent of Michigan Avenue in Chicago - fabulous shopping of NORMAL stores. We even hit up Ogilvy's, which is like a Nordstrom or Saks. Hallelujiah! My faith is restored in Canadians.
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but Montreal is bigger than I thought. Wikipedia kindly told me the city has about 4 million people and is the second largest city in Canada, right after Toronto. Clearly, not all of those 4 million peeps are law-abiding citizens. At least this homeless guy has no shame and isn't scared to admit his addictions.
Hmmm, this is a family friendly blog so I probably shouldn't be showing pictures of what is apparently Canada's greatest strip club. I don't know why I took a photo or why I thought you would want to see it. Please understand, Montreal is a great city. It's clean and beautiful and the residents actually live in the city and it has a great night life. Don't let my photos of strip clubs and homeless pot smokers sway your opinion...
The next morning
TC and I decided that it was imperative we go to the most renowned bagel place in Montreal. After all, Montreal is known for three foods: poutine, smoked meat and bagels.
We bought day passes for the Metro and hopped aboard to set out on what we thought would be an easy trip for breakfast.
And we walked.
We saw residential Montreal.
We saw bikes buried in snow.
And we walked some more.
We were lost. Walking in the wrong direction.
An hour later, TC was none too impressed. He does deserve a pat on the back for having such a good attitude though. Even if it was hidden sometimes.
Out of desperation for coffee, we aborted our mission and headed back to the Metro in search of lunch.
Then we got a little lost again. Luckily, we stumbled upon a cool little coffee shop that was covered in chalkboard paint. They didn't give me coffee in a bowl, but at that point I wasn't about to complain.
Eventually, we made our way to the most famous smoked meat restaurant in the world. Schwartz's.
Did you know smoked meat was famous? I didn't. I didn't even know what smoked meat was. Let alone that it was good enough to wait in line for 45 minutes to ensure the "Schwartz experience."
Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. It's diner style, but the manager stands at the door to manage the line. When seats open, he yells for the correct amount of people and squeezes you in. TC and I enjoyed our lunch while sharing a table with four complete strangers.
I'm pretty sure there is only three things on the menu: fries (which they cut and cook themselves), pickles, and a smoked meat sandwich. Your sandwich can be large or small and you also have the choice or lean, medium or fatty. We went with small and medium, extra mustard. Definitely the perfect combination.
After we rolled ourselves out of Schwartz's we hopped back on the Metro and headed toward the Biodome at Olympic Park (1976 Summer Olympics).
The Biodome is indoor (dome? get it) and features four different ecosystems - tropical forest, arctic, North American forest and marine.
The animals in each ecosystem weren't caged and co-habitated as they naturally would. Except this guy.
I liked the penguins so much I bought a Christmas ornament of one. I'm cool like that. Plus, my Christmas tree needs all the help it can get.
Next we took the Metro into Old Montreal. It was quiet and quaint with old buildings, cobblestone roads and carriage rides.
At that point our feet were aching and we needed a drink to calm down after the mob of elementary school children that was the Biodome.
Clearly TC was enjoying his beer and got a little cross eyed.
Side note: Seriously, how does he do that? Why can't I cross my eyes? Genetic defect. Thanks, Mom.
Good times. If you have never been to Montreal and get the chance, definitely make the trip. It's just across the border from New York and Vermont. If it hadn't been such a beautiful day and if I had my passport, I just may have made a run for it.
Kidding! Seriously, I'm kidding.