Did you ever visit a place that instantly gave you the feeling that you belonged there? That you simply had this connection with although you’ve never been there before? I do get this strange feeling every now and again. And I sure got it in Montréal. And do you know this feeling when a place looks and feels exactly the way you imagined it in your head? Yep, Montréal again. I only spent one day in this city in Québec and still if someone had offered me to stay for a semester abroad I would’ve said yes.
Just like with any other city one day is not nearly enough to explore a place that vast and diverse. I feel like we made this day count though – and it was all it really took for Montréal to charm its way into my heart. The weather surely contributed – on this 30° summer day the city truly showed itself at its best. People who have lived there will now probably start cracking up about my naivity – yeah I’m totally in denial about the fact that 30 ° C is not the average temperature in Montréal 😀
We arrived in the morning and probably the first thing I noticed were the houses. Maybe it’s just the grass being greener somewhere else but gosh, I wanted to move into each and every single one of them. Wandering the streets I would imagine having my own place there and was already furnishing it in my mind. I couldn’t take my eyes off.
For lunch we felt like having burgers (what a surprise, I know) and stopped by the Burger Bar Crescent. As my travel partner and I are both vegetarians we were super happy to read that you could order any burger with a veggie patty instead of the beef patty. Except… they had run out of veggie patties. The waitress was super lovely and instantly offered to replace the veggie patties with large Portobello mushrooms. I’m always so impressed with staff who is attentive and comes up with a creative solution instead of just saying “Sorry, no veggie burgers today!”. The burgers were absolutely delicious and I was so happy we had chosen this place!
We needed all our burger strength / calories to climb Mont Royal – the hill in the middle of the city that, you guessed it, gave Montréal its name. The climb wasn’t exactly fun in the heat but so worth it. You really have the best view over the city from up there and as the weather was so good we decided to lie down in the park behind the Chalet du Mont-Royal and just relax for a while.
We then wandered north and downhill again to explore more of the city center. On our way down we walked past an abandoned public pool that was still full of water but completely green and black with dirt and algae. It was enclosed by a half-collapsed and overgrown brick wall. Nope, this is not a major sight of Montréal but I’ve always been obsessed with everything end time-y and apocalyptic. We started guessing what this place might have been and why it ended up in its current state. It impressed me so much I actually looked the place up on Google maps weeks after the trip. (Bonus points if you can find it on the satellite map!)
We headed towards Mile-End as I wanted to check out some of the vintage stores there. When I’m short on time and can’t possibly check out *all* the stores in a city vintage shops are the ones I opt for as they usually offer treasures I can’t find anywhere else. Walking around a city tends to exhaust me – in a good way, but still. So around 4 pm my blood sugar has usually dropped to a level where I start craving a little pick-me-up. This had just occurred when Le Cagibi appeared in front of us. This place looked so charming and cozy we simply could not not go in there. With its ragtag furniture, the well-curated collection of kitschy figurines and a variety of delicious home-made food and beverages this place just seemed to be calling my name. I ordered some sea salt brownies and a cup of green tea and we sat down at a table by the window. We enjoyed our food and drinks (and WiFi), watched the people pass by outside and soaked up the calm busyness this part of the city had to it this late summer afternoon. The café felt like a little green island that seamlessly blended into its urban surroundings. Some of the guests had come to the café to work or study, one girl was fast asleep with her head rested on the table.
I could’ve stayed there forever but the wilderness was already calling for us again. We walked back to the car park, picked up some food for dinner and our trusty Nissan and ventured out into the wild once more. Although this was just a month ago I’m already dying to see Montréal again. Of all the cities we visited in Eastern Canada Montréal is the one that has my heart.