Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ooo la la, Montreal

What an awesome city! I arrived on Thursday to stay with one of my best friends from college and her new husband in their apartment in Montreal (it was their wedding that started the trip for me in Missouri in July).  This was the first time I've visited this apartment in Montreal and it was a great location! On Friday I did a little bit of relaxing and exploring the shops nearby and then we grabbed an early dinner and some drinks that evening.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day and we took advantage of it by using a cool bike rental program in the city. Bixi bikes cost $5 for a bike rental for 24 hours.  The only key is that you pick up the bike from one of the 200 locations they have around the city and then you have to drop it off again either at the same location or a new one within 30 minutes. It's a great way to move around easily, cheaply and get exercise at the same time. We rented a bike in the Old Port and went across the river to one of the other islands (Montreal itself is on an island) to explore.

Without many clouds in the sky it started to get a bit warm by the afternoon so we headed back for some Thai food and naps before hitting the town that night. I was having a blast practicing my French (or lack thereof) greeting and thanking everyone throughout the day. (This only became a problem when they tried to respond at all with more French).

Saturday night we went out to get dinner in Saint Laurent (at L'Academie) which was very good and then we hit a martini bar (A Gogo Lounge) and finally settled at B Side, a very empty bar (which packed out as the night went on) with some great 90s music and a DJ that looked a little like Jesus but went by the name of Derek. The night was really leading up to was the poutine - a Montreal staple.

Poutine, a Montreal essential
When I asked what was "quintessential" Montreal, poutine was the first thing that was mentioned. Poutine originated in Quebec and is a dish of french fries, with cheese curds and brown gravy covering it all. Needless to say, I was not overly excited about this considering I only moderately like all of the ingredients included. I still think that this is not a food for the sober man (others may disagree).  However, for someone that has just left the bars on a Saturday night...it was oddly delicious!

Sunday was spent relaxing (a theme for the weekend) intermixed with a bit more walking around the city (I now own a great new pair of shoes, checked out a few clothing boutiques, tried some frozen yogurt, and saw part of the Montreal Pride parade).  It is a wonderful, sophisticated city with a lot of European flair. I would go back again in a heartbeat, but my liver is much happier to be on the road again.  Next stop: Detroit.

Andrew, Malena and me out on the town Friday night

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