Nous sommes en Montréal! Everything is in French here, from the subway signage to the restaurant menus to the conversations we hear on the street. It’s giving my limited vocabulaire quite a workout, though it’s reassuring to know everyone should be able to understand me if I have to resort to English.
Our adventure started in Toronto with excitement: an unexpected delay on the streetcar, a little walk, and then one of the shortest ferry rides in the world from the quay to the city airport (not the larger international airport we flew into when we first arrived in Canada). I took a video of the ride, but Erik recommended I refrain from posting it. “It’s the most boring video ever,” he said. He has a point, so here’s a mere photo instead: the view from one side to the other. Yep. It’s a short ride.
Once we got into the airport, we went through the fastest security line ever (that is to say: there was no line) and then descended into a super-welcoming little lounge with free fast wi-fi, comfy armchairs, and chairs grouped around coffee tables. My brain stopped processing once I learned that there was also free espresso, tea, water, juices, almonds, and cookies.
I’ve gotten so used to expecting nothing from airports, but this was an incredible contrast to the usual chaos and crankiness. We had a very pleasant wait in the lounge, and then a quick flight (on which we were served food and more drinks). Fantastic and unexpected.
After we arrived in Montreal, we took a bus from the airport and then transferred to the subway, practicing our French on each other all the way. (Me to Erik: “Umm… je veux dire quelquechose mais je ne remember pas the subjunctive.”) We had no problem finding our AirBnB apartment, thanks to our host’s excellent directions — it’s in a very cute old building with a lot of character (and a couple of flights of narrow, steep stairs!), and the apartment has two balconies, one in front and one in back. The light and cross-breezes are especially wonderful after living in a basement for nearly two months! Here I am on the rear balcony, which looks out onto the lovely, leafy backyard (there are so many trees here!):
After we rested a little, we ventured out for a late lunch. We walked into a pâtisserie/deli that was so packed with gorgeous-looking chocolates, pastries, breads, and prepared foods that my eyes were bugging out — we had to leave because I didn’t trust myself in there before I’d had a proper meal. We ended up on the terrace in a French restaurant, both of us a little shy speaking to the waitress, but we had a tasty lunch and then found we were so sleepy (and, probably, exhausted by all the unaccustomed French) we had to come back to the apartment.
Friends told us that Montreal is quite different from Toronto, and even though we’ve seen very little of it so far, it seems to be true. It feels sunnier, and more quaint, and sometimes intimidatingly French. We’re here for three more days, so I’ll report back later! For now… I think it might be time to hunt down some dinner and maybe check out one of the street festivals!