Consider the time you have spent on vacations. Did you have favourite places you liked to go? Favourite sites you liked to see? Did your vacation create for you memories that will last a longtime? Did it give you experiences that will make you smile? I think these are questions all great vacations evoke. Vacations give us time away to relax, the experience of new sites, cultures, and memories, and most of all they give us Joy. That is why I am happy to share with you about my trip with my younger brother Nathan to Montreal this past week. We did a lot of things and I am pretty sure anyone would enjoy visiting their and trying similar experiences and some experiences we just did not have time to try.
One excellent thing about this vacation was that for us, it was cheap. We used airmiles for our flights and went the week right before the actual busy holiday season in Montreal begins. We also stayed in a condo about 4 blocks from St. Catherine’s street, the hub of downtown Montreal. How did we end up staying in our own condo? Through this great travel website called AirBnB. On AirBnB people rent out individual rooms, parts of their home, whole condos, or even apartments for travelling guests. If you are looking to meet nice people and for some advice about an area, AirBnB is a superb way to stay somewhere on vacation. Or if your like we were, looking to save money but also seeking privacy, and somewhere near downtown AirBnB is also great. The condo was clean and well maintained. We each got our own room and bathroom and there was a kitchen so we could put food in it for breakfast. Shopping for groceries for snacks and some meals is another awesome way we saved money on this vacation. We paid approximately $89 per night for a week in the condo also saving us money on hotel.
Some of the things to take in in Montreal is just the fast paced atmosphere. The women dress up quite a bit more than women do in most parts of Edmonton so it was fun to dress up. Dresses you would say ‘Where would I wear that?’ you could wear those here. People were friendly and not like I am told, snobby, in Montreal. They were helpful, energetic, and seemed to love the aura of the city as much as we did.
A few blocks to the right of us were blocks and blocks of delicious restaurants some casual and some fancier. A lot of restaurants had great patio’s and often turned into bars or clubs at nights. Mixed in-between were little boutiques and salons, it was quite a wonderful place. Some restaurants we can recommend are Weinstein Gavino’s, Burger Bar Crescent, Montreal poutein, and Ferrari. I had a wonderful vinaigrette salad with chicken, grapes, oranges, almonds, and goat cheese; poutein and sangria; part of a chicken in thyme sauce with potatoes and cooked vegetables with a glass of wine included; and a great little salad with roasted vegetables, some type of lettuce, and breaded goat cheese on top, also with excellent white sangria.
Old Montreal is by far the best area to see architecturally. We took a lot of pictures in this area, walked through little boutiques and another restaurant district, and took a boat tour at the harbour. The boat tour was one of my favourite things to do; it was a Groupon and for thirty dollars you could get on this little boat and tour Old Montreal on the St. Lawrence. You also got free beer or wine with it and may I say that was the best wine I had on the trip! Groupon’s are a great way to save money on vacations you just have to keep an eye on the available Groupons for the city you want to visit. You can check Living Social, and Team Buy coupon emails as well. We also went to Montreal Poutein on a Groupon deal 2 could eat with a drink and appetizer and poutein for $35.
On the boat tour we saw the old apartments from the Montreal Olympics that one time were thought so ugly but are now million dollar apartments. They are cubes balanced on top of each other at different levels and places but each tenant has complete privacy. We also saw a clock tower made at the same time as London’s Big Ben and by the same clock maker, a huge black boat that was a spa, and various other Montreal highlight’s. There are different options for Montreal boat tours and I was happy with ours.
Of course, there was also a lot of shopping in Montreal. Maybe 8 blocks from where we stayed were stores such as Simon’s, the Apple Store, Armani Exchange, Jack and Jones, American Outfitters, Club Monaco outside, and a whole bunch of underground stores in the couer of Montreal that went on for a long time. We came back to watch Ironman III at the movie theatres here and the couer connected to the Reso miles of underground shopping. Another great thing about Montreal was the transit system which could take you anywhere around the city on different lines. A weeks pass with a chip card was $29 for unlimited on the metro and bus system, including the 747 bus that takes people to and from the airport. We got off at station Peel to go shopping around St. Catherine’s street and both Nathan and I came back with a few new purchases to bring home.
There are also a few museums you can see in Montreal. You can see a railroad museum (that was to hard for us to get to), a history museum at MacGill University, and another History Museum at Old Montreal. We chose to go to the Musee Des Beaux Arts in downtown Montreal where we saw a fascinating art show on Peru from it’s beginnings as one of the cradles of civilization, to the Incas, to modern Peru fighting for it’s independence. It was very interesting and there was exquisite artifacts, paintings, and masks for all different Peruvian eras.
MacGill University is also worth seeing if you like to hike, their is a big hike up Mount Royal if you are so inclined. The only thing I wish I had taken in was more of the nightlife but to tell you the truth by 9 pm I was exhausted from walking all day! So if you like exploring cities and experiencing the French culture, Montreal is an beautiful place to visit, full of life, and a good time.