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