On the Easter weekend, I traveled to Montréal. The initial reason for the trip was to visit my best friend Meredith and for us to go to Ingrid Michaelson's concert. Then, my best friend Cara, who lives in Vermont, said that she'd come too and spend a couple nights with us.
Obviously, spending time with two friends I don't see often was the main highlight of the whole trip. That goes without saying. But, dude! We were in Montréal! Obviously there were other highlights, especially since this was my first time visiting the city. Here are just a few:
Cara brought a present from Vermont -- Woodchuck Hard Cider. Their Amber was my "first legal drink in the US" (insert inside joke here) last summer. I loved trying some of their other varieties. The "Maker's Choice" in this box was their Summer Cider. It was my favourite, hands down.
On our first morning there, a Saturday, Cara and I set out on a run and to explore Meredith's neighbourhood. We were on the lookout for a café that looked "cute" and like it would serve delicious food. (I especially wanted a croissant.) After eliminating a few spots for sketchy appearances and signs with handwriting that wasn't nice enough (What? You don't choose your eating establishments based on the employees' talent with chalk?), we settled on Café Pamplemousse. How could we not with a name like that? We were not disappointed. Cara seemed to enjoy her smoothie and I got my croissant. With ham, lettuce, and tomato, no less.
We found cupcakes in Vieux-Montréal. And not just any cupcakes. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious cupcakes from Les Glaceurs. I chose their "Marbré au fudge" and Tyler (a friend who made the trip with me) chose Red Velvet, their most popular. I wanted another one but resisted, not knowing what other decadent treats I'd eat that day.
Besides a croissant, I really wanted to find good hot chocolate. Despite a cracked ankle, Meredith was up for the adventure. After some exploring that involved a lot of walking, a bus ride, and a trip on the métro, we walked into Le Couteau. (I think Meredith was tired of walking; she practically shoved me through the door. And I'm so glad she did.) I ordered un chocolat chaud and une chocolatine. Words can't even describe how much I enjoyed them. If you were here, I could try to make the noises I'm sure I made while eating and you'd get an idea. And then you'd tell me to shut up.
La Banquise. A place where you can get poutine 24 hours a day. Sold. They have 28 kinds of poutine on their menu. Wow. I ordered the "Duleton" but added mushrooms. Next time I think I'll order the "Pizza." I was tempted to order a large but I'm so glad I didn't; I could barely finish the regular. (Don't worry though, I did. Duh.)
Croissant. Hot chocolate. Poutine. Bagel. These are the items that were on my "Must Consume While in Montréal" list. I had heard about St. Viateur Bagel and knew I really wanted to go to their original location. With Alex's help, he, Tyler, and I found it and I'm so glad we did. It was much smaller than I expected, but that makes me happy. Simple - I like it. After eating a bagel (okay, two. and a half), my List of Reasons to Live in Montréal now includes dense, chewy, round bread.
Yes, I realize that David's Tea is not found solely in Montréal but it was my first time in one and I love tea so it was a highlight. Give me a break. The variety of teas was overwhelming! A whole wall full! I am not one to say "Holy Batman!" but that's what I'm thinking right now when I picture the amount of tea there was in that room. After smelling many, many flavours, I settled on "Pink Flamingo." Ahh, refreshing.
Running with Cara, even for just a short while, was a highlight. It was about this time last year when we were running together every day and I miss it. A lot. Melissa and I will be visiting her in Vermont in less than 3 weeks and I'm really hoping we'll be able to get out again.
The buildings and streets in Vieux-Montréal were astonishing. I'm not sure what I had been expecting, but I was more than pleased with what I saw. I walked around with a stupid grin on my face the entire time, I'm sure. And now I want to walk on cobblestone streets all. the. time. Aren't they so much better than regular pavement?
Walking. And walking. And walking. I loved all of the walking we did. And going up and down escalators. And riding the métro. Growing up in a small town and then moving to a small city doesn't allow for many escalator or métro rides. Or as much walking as I'd like. Getting around was so simple in Montréal and you'd better believe that's on my List of Reasons to Live in Montréal. Or any bigger city, really.
Another highlight not pictured was the drive there and back. That's right. 18 plus hours in a van and I loved it. Alex and Tyler were fantastic people to travel with. I only took one turn driving and they let me ride shotgun the rest of the time. (I offered to sit in back!) There was a lot of laughing. A lot. Making fun of things we heard on the radio. "Ditch wheat." Tyler understanding women better than I expected him to. Almost forgetting that songs had endings. (Sorry, guys!) And there were in-depth conversations, too. Conversations that I needed. About the past, and the future. Relationships. Careers. Alex and Tyler, if you want to take another roadtrip, just let me know when and where! I'll start saving!
AND! Obviously! The concert was a major highlight. But that deserves its own post.