I’m going to veer off the fashion and beauty talk here for a second and share another budding passion of mine: travel. Although, I suppose I haven’t really been anywhere to brag about. However, traveling is becoming a major interest and if I could spend the rest of my career days traveling to different locations every rip, I’d gladly do it.
When it came time for me to plan a trip for myself, I already knew a few things: I would be traveling alone; I would only be able to leave for a long weekend; and it had to be somewhere out of the United States. Not even sunny Puerto Rico would entice me. So what place would satisfy all of those prerequisites?
I picked Montreal, Quebec Canada.
Yes, I know it’s not some majorly exotic location. Plus, I admit, I didn’t know much about Montreal, except what I could piece together from travel guides, informative blogs and websites like TripAdvisor.com. And I’m not even close to being fluent in French. I know English is spoken in Montreal, but I would have liked to have been a bit more conversational in French when speaking to the locals.
But I couldn’t let that stop me if I was determined to use my vacation time and go. I applied for and received my passport, booked my travel plans and got out of dodge.
What I Did:
When you travel, you have so many ideas and places that you want to see, especially when you are visiting for the first time. I didn’t have an itinerary, but my plan was to just get lost walking around the city.
Well, the plan would have worked perfectly if it hadn’t rained most of the time I was there. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s kind of hard to be comfortable sight-seeing in cold, rainy weather. Where I did manage to stake out by foot and the Metro was the Rue St- Denis. I’d asked the concierge where I should go for sight-seeing and he suggested that the street would suit me just fine and he was right. I spent hours upon countless hours walking into every boutique and specialty shop that I passed. And I’d go into a warm cafe and grab a beverage whenever the rain really began to beat down.
After tiring of the rain and getting soaking wet (even with an umbrella), I found refuge in the Underground City. To say you can get lost as a first timer is an understatement. I was able to access Zara, DKNY, Club Monaco, Simons and many more stores and eateries without ever having to consider going out to battle the cold.
What I Ate:
I knew that I could get some great food in Montreal, with the vast array of restaurants and different types of foods. Crepes were a must have for breakfast, because I knew they were much more common in a “fast food” setting than would be in Chicago. Also, I definitely made sure to get a smoked meat sandwich from Reuben’s, which I attacked after a long day in the rain. I wanted to go to Schwartz’s deli for the meat, as I’ve heard that it was the number one choice for many, but I never made it to Saint Laurent Boulevard. Either way, the smoked meat sandwich from Reuben’s was delicious:
Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the before and only remembered after.
Where I Shopped:
I was staying pretty close to what I would take is the shopping mecca in Montreal, Rue St-Catherine. So, I was only a couple of blocks from the famous Ogilvy department store, who’s beauty counter is wonderfully stocked with just about any brand you can imagine. People told me that I had to visit Simons, so I made sure to stop in, but I had to leave due to some serious heavy crowding.
Toward the end of the day, my jeans were soaking wet from all of the walking and I’d planned on wearing them back on the plane the next day. Cleaning service in my hotel was closed on Sundays, so I had to find somewhere fairly inexpensive and close to buy a new pair of jeans from. Where do I end up? Urban Outfitters.
What I wanted to See (but didn’t):
One location immediately comes to mind: Old Montreal. I hoped I would be able to make it to Old Montreal during my rained-out tour, but time wouldn’t allow for it. I also never made it to the Latin Quarter, though I’ve been told that I was pretty close if I’d hopped back on the Metro for a couple more stops.
Hopefully, I can visit Montreal again sometime soon and have a better plan mapped out. I can vaguely identify some of the streets and the Metro is much easier to navigate than I’d thought as a foreigner. Overall, this trip did serve it’s purpose: I went on my first trip out of the country. I traveled alone. And I was able to be as unrestrained and spontaneous as I’d liked.
I couldn’t have asked for much more.