Published: October 15th 2010October 15th 2010
Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days in France. No, we have not skipped across the ocean to Europe - the primary language of Montreal and Quebec is French, and so we feel as though we’ve been in France. I particularly felt like I was in France while in Quebec, as the charming little cobblestoned streets reminded me a lot of France.
Craig and I knew that people spoke French in Montreal and Quebec, but I don’t think we were expecting to have so much difficulty with the language barrier. We were expecting signs to be in both English and French. They rarely were, it was mostly all French. Thankfully most people spoke English, although when we arrived in Montreal and were picked up by a cab driver who couldn’t speak English, we did get a bit worried!
Montreal was OK, not as pretty as I was expecting. We stayed in a hostel that unfortunately had rock hard beds reminiscent of the LA hostel. I’ve come to dread staying in cheaper places purely due to the poor quality of the beds - after being on our feet all day and coming home exhausted, a comfortable bed is not
optional, it’s a must!! Ah well. Thankfully the bed in Quebec was heaven.
We didn’t really get up to much in Montreal. We spent a day shopping at plazas that were all connected by underground passageways. The city of Montreal has done this so people can go shopping in comfort in the cold of Winter and in the heat of Summer and not have to brave the elements outside. Very sensible! Apparently they have over 30kms of underground passageways, it was very interesting to see.
We shopped up big. I needed a couple of pairs of pants as I’d only had one pair of jeans that was pretty worn out, as evidenced by the crotch ripping when I bent down to pick up our bags to head to the train station in Toronto for our journey to Montreal. Thankfully the large rip was pretty much hidden, as I only had shorts to change into that day and it was freezing! We also both bought a couple of jumpers each, as we had minimal winter clothing and it’s getting to the point where we need it! (Haha little does Stef know but the rip was huge & everyone walking
past was able to see her undies! - Craig)
On our second day in Montreal we headed to the 1976 Olympic Stadium. Part of the stadium is a 185m tower that sits at an approximate 45 degree angle. They have a funicular that runs up the tower and we went up that for some great views of Montreal.
We then went across to the nearby Botanical Gardens. I’m just in love with all these Fall trees (that’s Autumn for you Australians back home), the colours are so pretty! They had an insectarium there with the biggest tarantula that I’ve ever seen in my life - yuck! They also had some lovely Chinese gardens. There was a train that went around the gardens, which was great because they were huge! Amazingly, Craig received a Facebook message from a girl he used to work with a couple of days ago, with the girl asking if Craig had been in Montreal. Apparently she’d been on a tour of the Botanical Gardens in Montreal the same day we were there and spotted Craig from afar! It really is a small world.
We travelled by train from Montreal to Quebec, which took
about three hours. Up until Quebec, Canada hadn’t really been living up to my expectations. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting before we got here. Craig said that perhaps it was due to the fact that it was so similar to home (well, in Toronto anyway). Well Quebec completely lived up to expectations. It is such a beautiful city! Like I mentioned earlier, it has such a Parisian feel to it. The streets and buildings are so picturesque. We didn’t really get up to much in Quebec apart from walking around and soaking it all in. They had a great 5km walking trail through the city that was marked on the concrete of the sidewalk, which was such a fantastic idea. The trail took us through some amazing streets. I just can’t rave about it enough. See what you think from the pictures! (Canada has lived up to my expectations, with ice hockey absolutely everywhere! It’s awesome to see that after watching any sports TV station for about 5 minutes, you’ll see some hockey on. Have been able to watch quite a few live games on telly too, so I’ve very much enjoyed that! - Craig)
now we’re heading back to the states. Unfortunately it was too expensive to fly from Quebec to Boston, so we’ve caught a train from Quebec to Montreal and are currently waiting for about four hours in the train station until our bus leaves for Boston. The bus is going to take about eight hours, which will be extremely painful! Thankfully we slept throughout the train ride here from Quebec, and there are plenty of shops surrounding the train station here in Montreal so we’re able to take it in turns going to have a look around (with the other person minding the bags).
I’m really looking forward to Boston, and can’t believe that I’ll be in Florida by the end of next week!
There are more photos below