Published: April 9th 2010April 9th 2010
I flew into Montreal from Calgary at about 6:30 that night but it was 7:30 before I left the airport. There was definatley much more of a French influence here as there was hardly any signs in English compared with everywhere else I had been in Canada so far. Getting to downtown montreal was not going to be as simple as I had first though. After asking around I finally found a bus which took me basicly a street away from the hostel I had booked. I had spent the last 14 hours on planes and buses from banff so it was reassuring to know I was close to having a well needed shower. I checked in at the montreal centerale and went to my room. It had 3 bunk beds in a room that would have been better suited to just two and no where to store bags. As crammed as it was I was past caring. After a shower and some dinner at the local Thai take out I met up with the guys in my room who had been travelling together for the past few weeks though quebec. They had been in montreal for a abit over a week and had a good idea of the nightlife. Nick and Joe invited me to cafe campus which was a student bar about 15mins from our hostel. We got there and grabbed our first $5 pitcher and met up with a friend of theirs they had made at a local irish bar. I had a feeling with drinks this cheap it was going to be a big night and I definately wasn't dissapointed! We decided to grab a fewmore pitchers before the end of happy hour at 11 to find 3 full ones infront of us. I'd be lieing if I said I was feeling in after we drank them all and the tequlia shots Joe brought didn't help ethier. Nick's style of snorting the salt, taking his shot and squezing the lemon in his eye was turning a few heads. We hit the dance floor with the 80's music pumping and made friends with a group of French canadian girls. We went for pizza and poutine afterwards and i scored a lift home to the hostel. One of the best nights in Canada so far!
The next morning I got up and scoped out what there was to see and do montreal. I decided to check out the eaton center which I had seen on getaway, Joe came along and we made plans to head to the watch his English premier leaguge team afterwards. The centre eaton was huge, over 40km of underground shops and a food court with just about every type of food imaginable. We did some shopping and headed to an Irish pub, Nick met up with us and we grabbed a few beers and watched the game. I hadn't seen a hockey game yet and was very keen to get along to one when I was in canada. Tim behind the bar was able to find two tickets to the game that night where the Montreal Canadian were taking on the Hurricanes. We picked them up for 100 which was a good price considering it was a must win game for the Canadian to stay in contention for the playoffs. We headed to the game after a few more beers at the pub. even the atmosphere outside the stadium was electric and once we got inside the arena it was like nothing I had even seen before, lights were flashing everywhere and the crowd was getting rowdy. They had 3 Olympic medalist come out and wave to the crowd before they played the national anthem. I couldn't believe I was here, especially at a must win game. The game started and everyone seemed to go quiet, watching and waiting for the first team to score the first goal. It wasn't long into the first period before the canadians found the net and the crowd went crazy. They dominated for most of the first period but let a goal in during the second. By the 3rd it was 1 all and the canadians weren't looking in great shape. They conceded an early goal in the 3rd and it was now 2-1 to the columbions. In the last minute of the game the canadians swapped there goalie for another player in a desperate attempt to equalize. The clock ran out and the Montreal fans left in disapointment, the guy I was sitting next to said that the candians would get slammed in the papers the next day for losing as the columbions as they were one of the worse teams in the comp. Joe and u went to the pub afterwards but I took it easy, by the time we left Joe was well gone so we stopped for take away pizza hoping to sober him up. After making it though the dodgey part of town we made it back to the hostel and called it a night. Joe however was not ready for bed and put on a movie while eating his pizza on the top bunk. It was pitch black and I was lieing in my bed listening to the sickening sounds of him eating his pizza with his mouth open. At least I can laugh about it now.
When I woke up the next day and looked into what i wanted to see in montreal as i hadn't see many of the sites yet. I said goodbye to the boys, Joe was off to Toronto and Nick was heading back home to Australia. I took a walk to the old town and the wharf and then onto Chinatown. The buildings here with the old city in particular had a very European feel, all made of bricks and stone with iron stairwells or little terraces out the front. After exploring some more I went back to the hostel and typed a few emails. I got talking to susie, an Aussie who lived in Europe who had similar plans to me. She hadn't seen a hockey game yet and I was definately down to see another. We looked on the web a found some in new York for the rangers vs the maple leafs. After we got the tickets, I called it a night as there was still alot I wanted to see in Montreal.
It was good friday and I met susie at breakfast, she had seen alot here and recommended I take a walk up mont royal for a view of the city. TheMetro was a block from the hostel so I took it a few stops and got off at mont royal station. It was very warm day, it had been so brisk the last few days in montreal and over my trip so far there hadn't been many times I hadn't been in a jumper or a ski jacket so it was a welcomed change. I striped down to a tshirt and enjoyed the sun. I walked to the top of the mountain and took in the view. I hadn't heard anyone speak english almost all day when two guys started chatting next to me. I had nothing to lose so I stuck up a conversation and ask them where they were from. We got talking and Dave and stu invited me to play soccer with them and there friends later that day. I walked around abit more before heading down to the park to meet the guys. There was alot happening in the park now with groups of people just sitting around having picnics everywhere. I met Dave and we started the soccer game and meet up with a few more of his friends. After the game we met up with a few more people and had a go at a tight rope that has been set up in the park. We chilled at some girls house who lived on the park for abit before going to meet up with the rest of daves mates who were all having a picnic and a few beers in the park. It was absolute crazy here, the park had turned into a sea of people now all just enjoying the first warm day of the year. We went back to daves and Ariel showed me around there place. The boys lived in the plateu which was in an awesome location in the city, close to lots of bars, take away shops and the park.After changing into some shorts we went back to the park to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. I was getting hungry and was in need of a monster feed. Arnold, eric, Craig and his girlfriend took me to Ramona's chicken which hit the spot. It was BBQ chicken and salad covered in chips flavored with spices and sauces. So good! We went back to the boys place and picked up some beers. Ariel had invited me to his girlfriends BBQ at the park which sounded like fun and then to kick on to a roof top of another friend of theirs. Today had been so crazy, I had met so many cool local people and was happy to get to know montreal from People instead of just going to sites from a book. We got to the BBQ and I got to know a few more people. I traded Dave beer for some sangs which was more of a light snack after romanas. Dessert was served after the bbq and i had some banana pie which was incredible. Things were winding up so we left for the rooftop down the road after picking up a few more beers and a pack of cards for poker. The view of the city was amazing from the rooftop. I taught the group how to play Gary which they all enjoyed and stay for a few more drinks before getting a cab home. It had been an awesome day, one I won't forget for a long time!
I caught the end of breakfast the next morning before going to do some clothes washing and got in touch with Ben and who was at the park. I caught up with him later in the day after watching the beach volleyball. The park was still as crazy as yesterday even if it was alittle cooler then the day before. Ben took me to schwartz for lunch which is famous in Montreal for its smoked meat. I brought a pound of smoked meat but it wasnt long before i was more then half way though, it was just so good! It was an expensive lunch but definately worth it. We went back to the park for alittle bit for abit more chilling out in the park before heading home. Stu sent me a txt msg later inviting me to see his band at Barfly. Back at the hostel, karoke was starting but attendance was low so I got the ball rolling and scored a free shot of jager. I got chatting to Bekky from the UK and she was interested to come check out the boys at the gig. We were going to meet up with sam and victoria who i had met in lake louise so it was bound to be a good night. The gig was awesome. I really enjoyed Claptrap, they had a really unique sound with the combination of the sax, trumpet, bass, drums, gutair and keyboard. Sam and victoria came and met us at the gig and we kicked on to another bar. I met a few of there new montreal friends and a girl who they were staying with in Ottawa which was a couple of hours away. Because i had left all my cash at the hostel i tryed to get money out at the bank atm. Bad move, the bank atm ate my card and then just decided to turn off. So I did a quick sum in my head, I didnt have many canadian dollars left but it was enough to get me to the states. I hoped anyway. Victoria was kind enough to shout me a few drinks at the next club which was a cool little joint. After a few hours of dancing and drinks the club lights dimmed abit brighter to que everyone to call it a night. Pountine was on our minds and our montreal friends knew just the place, taking us to a 24 hour cafe which word is has the best poutine in montreal. For anyone who doesnt know what poutine is, in its basic form it is hot chips coated with gravy and melted cheese aka one unhealthy heartstopper meal. There was over 30 poutines to choose from and because of my lack of funds i ended up sharing which was not all bad. I dont know if i would have really wanted all that sitting in my gut overnight. After our late night feed, bekky and i said goodbyes to everyone and i made plans with sam and victoria to join them for the next few days travelling. It was a long cold walk back to the hostel and then straight into bed. Another great day in montreal.
It was easter sunday and i met Jonathan in our room at the hostel, he and i were both checking out that day and got talking. He was from texas and had moved to vermont for work. Bekky, Jonathan and I went for a late breakfast at this really cool cafe in st denis. I had heard about this thing in the park where there is lots of drums and everyone just comes and chills out on a sunday. Sounds like the last two days ive been here! We went checked out Tam Tams, it was very cool. Lots of people playing drums and dancing near the Angel statue and heaps of little stalls where i brought a hacky sack. I plan to get very good over this year. Sam and victoria came along to before leaving to go ice skating. Soon after Bekky left us to go get some money so Jonathan and i went up to check out LAIR up the back of the park. It was great to watch, everyone was really getting into it and took it very seriously with most of them had dressed up and looked the part. After that i got in touch with dave who was on the mountain but said the group was near the hill. I went down and chilled with them for awhile, listening to the ever louding drums and crazy dancing. Victoria and sam were going to pick me up soon so i said my goodbyes and walked back to the hostel with Jonathan. I gathered my things and got chatting to joshua who works there who had given me the free shot the night before. Victoria got in touch with me and they were ready to go to Ottawa ao we pilled in sherry's car and halled ass to the boarder.
Montreal, what an experience! I will be back!