Montreal parts one and two

So after our whistle-stop tour of Ottawa, we were off to Montreal. Our holiday was a bit of a complicated road trip- we got the train to Montreal, spent the afternoon and evening there, and the next day got a bus down to the US, returning to Montreal for a few days at the end of our trip.

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After dropping our bags at our hotel we went for a walk to the old town. We came across Notre Dame (they have loads of churches named this in Canada), and then later on found a street festival for Christmas in July.

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There was a live band playing Christmas music (of course)  and loads of food trucks. We hadn’t had lunch and were pretty hungry- we found a gourmet grilled cheese van so went for one each, sat on the grass in the evening sunshine. Lovely.

On our walk back we came across a Second Cup (a coffee chain) and they do a London Fog, which is a latte made with Earl Grey tea (they use full leaf tea bags) and vanilla syrup. It is so good, so I had one for dessert.

The next time we were in Montreal was our final few days. Our hotel was close to the main shopping street (like Oxford Street) but we were also near a lovely park. I say near, what I mean is a 30 minute steep uphill walk to the park!

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2014-08-05 22.17.30 2014-08-05 22.28.28It was worth it for the views of the city, and we even saw baby racoons! So cute, although some people were feeding them, which is banned, and made me a bit annoyed.

The next day we packed loads in. We got a ticket for the underground, and started off going to the Olympic park. There is loads on the park now, including a planetarium, botanical gardens and indoor zoo.We opted for a walk around the botanical park, which was lovely.

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I found this giant sunflower plant and took the picture for my Mum as she loves sunflowers.

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After walking around for a few hours we got the train out to where the Grand Prix track is, and walked around there for a bit. It was baking.

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There was a park there too so we had another walk around the park. The FINA world masters were being held there (swimming) so there were loads of people walking around with ID tags and we could hear lots of cheering coming from the pools.

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Oprah Chai latte- made with rooibos as well as black tea, and extra spices

Then we got the train back to the city centre, did a spot of shopping, bought a cold drink (lunch?) and headed back to the hotel to work out where we should go for dinner. It reminded me of London- especially where we were. Very busy shops, businesses, and nice parks. But also a lot of bars or fast food places- we had to hunt to find places to eat.

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Now I have had a bit of an obsession with Hurraw! lipbalm. I ordered some from i-herb, and then found it in Wholefoods in London. But I was running low and thought I would look out for it on holiday, as it was bound to be cheaper. We didn’t see any Wholefoods, and all the health shops that I checked didn’t stock it. In the end I was googling one night and found that it was sold in American Apparel for $4 , so when we walked past one I stocked up. They did an offer where every 3rd one was half price, and it hardly weighs anything so I bought quite a few! I would not have gone in if I had not known though. Thanks google!

One our final day we went out for breakfast (more on that in a minute), but as we were getting the bus to the airport in the afternoon we didn’t have long. We went down to the old town for more of a walk, got caught in a heavy rain shower, and then walked back through the main shops.

We ate at Resto Vego one evening, which was a veggie/ vegan cafe where you served yourself and then your plate was weighed. All the ingredients were listed (in French and English) and they also had symbols for gluten free/ dairy free and a few others. I had a lovely quinoa salad with coconut and different veggies, loads of salad bits, some ginger tofu, and some avocado. They had hot things like bean burritos, pizza, stir fries etc too but I didn’t fancy those. A great place to stop at anyway.

For our final day we had our evening meal at Lola Rosa, which was another veggie cafe and amazing. Usually there are only one or two veggie options on the menu, so I just go with that, but I was spoilt for choice which makes a nice change. Andy had a bean chilli which he loved, and I had a quesadilla with avocado (you could choose avocado, ratatouille or spicy sweet potatoes as the topping)- it was all cooked fresh too, and came with a salad.

Usually for breakfast we would get something from a cafe, like a muffin or scone, but on our final day we fancied a proper big breakfast. We had found somewhere online, but could not find it, but then came across the amazing Eggspectation. Oh my word if you like american breakfasts then this is the place to visit.

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I never used to like French toast (too eggy) but we had some lovely breakfasts at a B&B and I found the French toast more filling than pancakes. This was brioche French toast with maple syrup (had to be done- we were in Canada where I think you have to have some every day), a mountain of fresh fruit, and something creamy in the pot (not sure what that was). Amazing. And kept me going for hours- the next thing I had was a hummus and veggie pot thing at the airport at around 6pm!

Montreal was a great city to visit. One of the friendliest I have ever been to. After arriving the first time we were stood looking at a map trying to work out which tube line to get to our hotel, and two people stopped to offer help (and not taxi drivers trying to pick us up, but locals on their way to work). One our second arrival there we came out of the underground station but needed to head north- again we were only standing still for half a minute looking at street signs and someone asked if we needed help (and pointed us in the right direction). Everyone in the shops was so friendly, welcoming us to Montreal/ Canada, seeing if we needed anything else. Genuinely the most friendly people. It was a big city, so we did need the underground to get around some days, but a lot of it could be walked. I do think finding places to eat takes some research, as most of the places we walked past were very touristy burger bars – not places we would choose to go to (like Leicester Square or something)- but plenty of choice once you knew where to look.

How do you go about finding places to eat on holiday? Trip Advisor has been our friend!

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14 thoughts on “Montreal parts one and two”

  1. Ben and me would take our iPad and then search using the hotel WiFi (always a must have for us). Then hope we could find it using maps! Sometimes I’d research before going but often that’s quite confusing because when you’re actually somewhere everything changes and locations that seem easy to get to on a map suddenly seem really difficult.
    That breakfast with the toast and fruit looks amazing – definitely my kind of thing!
    How do you organise trips like this (where you go to multiple locations)? Do you do it with a travel agent or do you savvy it yourself?

    1. Andy basically does it all- I am very lucky that he organises holidays. We have never done a package deal- we book flights, car hire, hotels etc all on their own (but then we get good deals, and things like on hotels.com you get a night free for every 10 nights or something, so it soon adds up).

  2. Wow! It looks as though you had some amazing things to eat and drink in Montreal. So nice that places actually cater to veggies/vegans properly as well – that coconut quinoa salad sounds absolutely divine.

    xxx

  3. Sounds like a lovely trip. I didn’t realise Hurraw was American, nice job on the stocking up, I love that stuff too! I usually research vegan places online before going away, and use trip advisor and yelp too.

  4. Christmas in July – how funny! It’s really incongruous to see penguins wrapped in woolly scarves in boiling hot sunny streets!
    Awesome on the Hurraw, great deal too!
    The brioche French toast looks so tasty, finding fun breakfasts when on holiday is a bit of a hobby of mine.
    We tend to use Google when we’re abroad to find places to eat, James did it a lot in Denmark with some great results. We use guidebooks too but have gone out of our way to go to a guidebook place to find it has closed down or the information is out of date.

    1. Yes we have done that before with a guidebook a few times! The worst was in Milan in a heatwave and we wandered around for nearly an hour before we found out they had closed for the summer! The internet tends to be more up to date!

  5. Wow I’m definitely going to have to try and recreate that London Fog it sounds amazing! Looks like you had such a lovely time. I usually ask people of recommendations before we travel, having a blog is so good for that I know we had a massive list of places to go before Berlin!

    1. I looked on your blog when we went to Berlin too, although in the end we didn’t go to the same places. The London Fog is amazing- I had one in Canada last summer at an independent tea shop and only realised this year that it was an actual thing- just steamed milk, vanilla syrup and an earl grey teabag- I am going to be making it myself too!

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