St. John’s: Done
Montreal: Let’s Go!
As you can probably tell, I used the Via Rail Train instead of the Greyhound bus. I chose to take the train this time around because I wanted to use a different form of transportation. In all honesty, I’m glad I took the train. The seats were more comfortable, spacious with more legroom and you get to choose your seats. I, of course, picked the window seat. Oh, the ride was half-an-hour shorter than if you took the bus, so WIN! 😀 I couldn’t wait to see Montreal so got to pick the second earliest train to make sure I’d get my three full days in Montreal.
Upon my arrival, I noticed the differences of my surrounding between Ottawa and Montreal immediately. Montreal was awe-inspiring. The buildings had more history, character and style. There were rusty abandoned buildings, colonial-style terraces and so on. Since Montreal is a French-speaking city, one can’t help notice the Francophones conversing. The whole vibe I was getting was distinct compared to the rest of the Anglophone speaking places I’ve visited in Canada.
After dumping my luggage and stuff at Caryn and Yunyi’s place, we went to Jardin Nelson (Nelson Garden) to have some lunch.
Honestly, the interior of this restaurant is beautiful. It seriously felt like I was in Paris with the whole fancy French garden experience. There was also live Jazz music playing which added to the Parisian feel. I swear this is the closest to France I’m going to get. The ambience was great and the Francophone waiters/waitresses greeted us well.
Since Caryn and I can’t speak French, we allowed Yunyi to do most of the talking after we decided what we wanted to eat.
We ordered Parnier de Bruschetta Maison, Patae Chinois Au Canard and Cannolli au Four Maison to share.
I would say the Bruschetta and the Cannolli were decent but the Patae was not to my taste. Honestly, the food was alright and a bit hyped. Sure, the ambience was amazing but the food lacked flavour.
It started raining after lunch as we left and so exploring Old Port was kicked off the itinerary while we tried to find refuge somewhere. We sought shelter at Montreal’s famous Basilica Notre Dame. You have to pay $5 per entry and I was like “Who pays to go to church?” Apparently, tourists because my, oh my… The interior was majestic.
I hope the photo gives you an idea of how magnificent the interior is. It’s Gothic Revival craftsmanship was complex and splendidly presented with lights shining from below giving this church a grandeur feel. It really made me want to say… “Take me to church.”
Although it was truly a magnificent sight, I couldn’t stay inside the church admiring it for too long because it was too crowded inside. Hence, we left and head to C’Chocolat for dessert.
We tried the Matcha Matcha Man, C’Wow and their Chocolate Souffle. Matcha Matcha Man was too sweet for me and if it was less sweet, it’d be more enjoyable. The souffle wasn’t anything special to shout about. The C’Wow however… Impressive.
We stayed there for about two hours to chat, hoping the rain would stop but it didn’t and we just went back home to prepare dinner.
This time around, Caryn and I woke up early to head to Macdonald campus of McGill University. It was a two-hour journey via the subway and the bus. It’s on the western end of the Island of Montreal.
Thankfully, it was sunny out today and so we managed to stroll around the area. It was very much spacious compared to the downtown campus and I just used the WiFi to play some Pokemon Go while Caryn settled her stuff.
We head to lunch at Schwartz’s Deli. It’s a famous 80-year-old deli that has served the likes of numerous celebrities including Celine Dion. I must say, it is really famous.
They’re extremely famous for their Jewish Montreal-style smoked meat and is usually served as a sandwich. Of course, you can order it to-go as well.
I dare say, this is worth the hype. It’s definitely worth lining up under the hot sun for. Oh my gosh, it was delicious. The blend of the smoked meat with the mustard tastes amazing. I wished I could’ve tapao some and bring back to Ottawa. This was so far one of the best food I’ve had in Canada.
We later walked around the area in hopes of finding a dessert store but that didn’t happen as the one we wanted to go to was closed. 😦
Because we didn’t manage to tour around Old Port yesterday, we’d thought today was the day and yes, it was.
We went back to Notre Dame to just view the architecture of it from the outside. I wasn’t going to pay 5$ this time to go inside because I went yesterday but when I come back, I’ll pay the 5$. 😛
We continued walking towards Old Port and enjoyed the views along the St. Lawrence River. Unlike most people, we took out our umbrellas as it was too hot to walk without a cap.
For dinner, we went to Sammi & Soupe Dumpling along Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest. The Xiao Long Bao’s skin was thicker than usual but it was still good. We also ordered the Fried Pork and Green Onion dumplings. That was too oily and greasy, it made me feel so guilty eating it.
Once we were done with dinner, we head and fulfilled my long-awaited visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Pompeii exhibition.
If you don’t know, Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city in Italy that was buried by the ash and pumice of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The exhibition presents artifacts and an simulation of the situation from the event.
The exhibition was still pretty fascinating—they had sculptures, frescoes and mosaics from the Archaic period and so on.
But the artifacts that I most wanted to see were the Pompeii plaster casts of the volcano eruption victims.
It was pretty eerie looking at it but it definitely gave us a sense of how helpless these people were from the volcano eruption.
On my last day, we began with a rough tour of McGill University in downtown. The buildings here are older and preserved well.
I really liked the library here. It was huge and was nicely arranged with different places specifically for different uses. The library also has a lot of resources including newspaper from different provinces and different countries which is rather impressive.
We later hiked up Mont Royal. The hike was rather easy but because I was in the wrong attire, it was slightly difficult.
For the longest time, I was imagining this chalet hosted numerous of fancy dinner parties in the olden days until I found out that this chalet was recently built. -_- #dreamscrushed
After descending Mont Royal, we went to Yokato Yobai Ramen for lunch. I was very excited for this lunch because… RAMEN.
The ambience was pretty cozy, artsy and Izakaya-ish. I believe this restaurant is also part-Izakaya which would make sense. I explored around the area and was really fascinated by the large space they have.
The ordering system here is a bit different. They provide you with a paper to fill up your order individually. So one person, gets one paper and you can add however many extra stuff you want with the cost.
Overall, my ramen broth had a milky texture but it wasn’t a heavy broth. Thankfully, it was not salty although it was normal saltiness which is great. In my opinion, the flavor was a bit mild compared to the other ramen I’ve tried in other places. Chasiew was fatty and tasty too. I also ordered the salad and well, it’s a salad. Yunyi ordered the karaage and it was tasty. Oily but tasty!
After lunch, we needed to walk it off and so we went to Habitat 67. It took us 20 minutes to get there from the closest bus stop and what a walk it was…
Habitat 67 is basically a collection of condo cubes. It’s an alright place to visit, really nothing much. I wouldn’t go there to just admire the architecture, it’s just not my cup of tea. It’s just really cool to look at the interior of people’s living area. I was thinking it’d be inconvenient to live there if you don’t have your own car as it’s so far from everywhere and there are no bus stops close by.
Once we were done with that, we head back for me to do some last minute packing and showering before I left this gorgeous city and Caryn. -sobs-
The ride back home was rather melancholic because the sunset happened. Look at it. 😦 So gorgeous that it makes you think deeply about life.
Yeap, basically that was it from my Montreal. Rather short trip BUT I WILL SURELY RETURN. It’s only two hours away. 😀 That is all from me now~ Bai bai!