Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Trip - First up Montreal

Alright so as promised here's a recap of worldwind trip to the other side of the country.

Last Sunday: Woke up at 2:30am so just stayed up until cab arrived at 4am. When I walked out of the house it had started to snow, I was going to hear about that all week.

Paid $3 for an apple and caramel sauce on Air Canada as I just had yogurt when I woke up and I was starting to get hungry. Landed in Toronto and had a little less than 25min to get to my gate for my flight to Montreal so as I jogged through terminal 1 I was silently praying my suitcase would make the same trip.

For those that don't know Canada is a bilingual country and anything ruled by the federal government requires things to be in English and French. On my way to Montreal on Air Canada I'm very used to hearing the English version of whatever their saying and then the French version. It felt like the moment we hit Quebec airspace is switched to French first and then English. That began my "My French isn't so dusty after all".

Miraculously my suitcase arrived in Montreal and then I was off to find a cab. Hopped in the cab with a female driver (I've only seen one in Calgary) and she immediately starts talking to me in French. I did pretty well and only had to flip to English for a couple of words. I told her I need to practice and she suggested watching French TV. Not a bad idea. She had asked where I was from but after we talked she was surprised I was born in Calgary.
Through the whole trip the moment I said I was from Calgary people would say " I hear it's snowing there".

The hotel was great located right on Sherbrooke so just a few blocks from St. Catharine's street which is a shopping mecca. There is store after store after store. Two different department stores that specifically to Quebec. You could buy any name brand from cheap to crazy expensive. I accidentally found the Underground City (their link of stores located at basement level that link a whack of buidings that goes on forever). I came to the realization that this is where I should come when I build my goal weight wardrobe. Montreal is amazing, for the shopping, the food and the history. It made me feel like I was in Europe, the majority of the people are very chic.

This is stained glass window that belongs to a gym, c'est chic oui?
Everyone was nice and it was crazy to hear French and English intermingled everwhere. I was totally jealous of this family I observed while waiting for the Montreal flight. This one guy was seamlessly switching from each language as he talked to his mother and his friends. I want that.

My major purchases were grammar books in French and Eat, Love, Pray (in French).I walked into a few clothes stores bought nothing because I'm not staying the size I am and I was having issues with provincial sales tax. In Alberta we pay only the GST 5%, everywhere else the add an additional PST (Provincial sales tax). My goodness there H&M was goregeous, the ones in Calgary always look like they got hit by a bus. I walked through the first floor of the La Baie, The Bay and there purse section is four times that of the Calgary downtown store (and that's not a small store). I realized I could easily live in Montreal and if I were to be transferred tomorrow I'd happily go. I don't feel that often as I normally feel "nice place to visit". I adored the girl in Chapters who looked we up by phone number so I could get the 10% discount and asked me if I needed to update my address to Montreal.

I had dinner at 3 Brasseurs, a pub style environment as many restaurants I passed looked really romantic and I was dining alone as my co-workers were flying in from Fort McMurray later that night. I also found a fantastic bakery near the hotel and had an amazing cinnamon roll.

Monday we started work and I met up with my coworkers in the hotel for breakfast. It was quite funny how my coworkers were commenting on all the things available here and not in Fort Mac. While FM has 100,000 people due to it's location (far North) it doesn't quite have the same variety as a major city. We hit the food court of the Centre Eaton for lunch and it's massive. They were super excited about Thai Express, I have one in the building next door to mine but I went along with them.

For dinner we went to Gibby's located in Old Montreal, amazing!!!!!! The food, the service, the location. The building is 200 years old and the courtyard used to be the stable. We also had amazing wine and the most amazing Creme Brulee I ever had. It was airy and mousse like. We then walked around. My one co-worker is a massive Montreal Canadien's fan so we had to go find the Bell Centre after a few wrong turns we found it.

Tuesday was another day of work, we hit Tim Horton's for breakfast and the food court once again for lunch, this time I had a crepe. The rest of the day I didn't feel so well with a stomach ache. I'm blaming the crepe, never pick the place with no line at a busy food court. The boys (my co-workers) left me in charge of dinner as they ran off for the last day of Montreal shopping and I returned to the hotel to find alca seltzer. I picked a lovely Italian restaurant about 5 min from the hotel. I had a linguine in a rose sauce that was spectacular. I could eat about half of my entree and my stomach was hurting again so I called it a early night and the boys continued to explore.

Wednesday we were leaving for Halifax. I felt 100% the next day so had a chocolate croissant (from the fabulous bakery that I bought the night before and I strolled alone Sherbrooke to take some photos. What I love about Montreal is the mix of old and new as you can see in the pictures at that start of this post. It is truly an amazing city and I can't wait to go back.
It was raining on the way to the airport and that followed us all the way to Halifax.
I definitely need to go back as a tourist to fully explore. There wasn't a ton of time to play tourist as that's the challenge with work trips.
It's so awkward attaching pictures to this thing but I'll continue with Halifax tomorrow. There I drank a lot of Alexander Keith's finest and saw some pretty big boats.

To be continued...

No comments: