Bonjour, Montreal!

Jeff and I have been married for almost 5 years (June 18th is one week away), and we decided to treat ourselves to a little "exotic" vacation.  Which, after much deliberation of where to go, how to get there, what to do, we settled on Montreal.  I took more photos than these, but these are some of my favorites!  (Although, I would like to insert a comment that we want a new camera for Christmas...)

Anyways, we hit the road on Sunday morning.  Drove through Port Huron and stopped in Burlington, ON for a beer.  Then onto Niagara Falls!  I amazed by the ridiculousness of the city....SO much crap.  Who knew that haunted houses went hand in hand with waterfalls?  Anyways, once you walked through the kitsch, you got to the falls, which were awesome.  If we had more time, we probably would have gone on the walk down the falls.  But it was getting late, we were getting hungry and we had a little more driving to do.  We got pulled out at the border (random, I assume) and had to line our car up bumper to bumper with about 10 other cars.  Then they made us all get out, while they drove this big x-ray truck past all vehicles.  Then we were fortunately free to go!  We headed to Buffalo, where we stayed the night (after stopping at a brewery and eating some authentic and delicious wings).

Monday morning we hit the road through upstate New York.  We stopped in Syracuse and checked out the university.  It's certainly an appealing campus in June, but not sure how it would be in January!  The campus/city was bigger/nicer/hillier than expected!  Back on the road heading north back into Canada.  Jeff spotted on our brewery map a brewery in Sackets harber about an hour from the Canadien border, and only a short detour of the highway.  Well, we get there, it's a cute LITTLE resort town and the frigging brewery was inexplicably closed (a handwritten note said they were closed for the afternoon).  BUMMER!  But we were starving, so we ate at a neighboring bistro, had the Sackets Harber beer in bottles and capped off an average lunch with some EXCELLENT homemade ice cream!

Next stop: Montreal!!!  We arrived around 5:30, checked into our hotel (Maritime Hotel - great location, mediocre hotel), and decided to go wander downtown and find dinner.  We settled on a brewpub (shocking, I know).  Then called it a night!

Tuesday we grabbed some coffee and oatmeal and then set out walking.  And we walked.  And we walked.  And we walked.  It's a very walking friendly city and we didn't realize how far we had walked, since we weren't going fast.  We went to Old Montreal (the port) and were disappointed by the crappy souvenir shops and unappealing "art studios" in the Marche Bonsecours.  But the architecture was wonderful and old and worth the visit.  Then we walked back downtown.  And walked some more.  And kept walking.  We had a great lunch a little bistro and headed back to the hotel.  It was unexpectedly cool and starting to rain.  We grabbed jackets and then back out to the Musee de Beaux-Arts.  Much of the artwork was by Canadien artists, but there were some other more well known artists as well.  We spent close to 3 hours wandering the museum before heading out to dinner.  We actually ended up going to an Italian place which was pretty delicious.  Oh yea, there were some beers had throughout the day as well.  :)  And then we realized how much we had walked, and how exhausted we were, so back to the hotel we went.

Wednesday started again with coffee and pastry.  But not as much walking to start.  So we thought.  We drove out to the Parc Olympique - the monstrosity of a complex that was built for the 1976 Olympics, about 5 miles north of downtown.  Featured in one of the buildings is the Biodome, a nature museum that had 4 different ecosystems complete with flora and fawna insdie.  After leaving the biodome, we decided to stroll through the ugly, concrete Olympic park, and there the walking began again!  All that walking, and not much breakfast meant we were ready for lunch and off we headed to Schwartz's - a Hebrew deli featuring a local cuisine: smoked meat!  I was SO hungry and crabby and there was a wait because the place is tiny.  But once inside, they pack you in and then give you giant, yummy smoked meat sandwiches.  They were SO good - not as tangy as corned beef, tender like barbecue brisket.  Seriously - best beef sandwich I've ever had, and SO worth the wait.

Then it was off to explore a little of a different neighborhood, Plateau Mont Royal and hit up a couple breweries.  I really liked this part of town.  It was residential but busy.  Commerical but local.  More graffiti, more personality, more laid back than downtown.  But a pain to get parking, so we didn't stay as long as I would have liked before heading back to the hotel for a short, much needed nap!!!  Then time for some shopping - Jeff got his hockey t-shirt and I bought a shirt at a store we don't have in the US.  We went to an Irish pub for dinner (the Irish are the second biggest ethnic group in Montreal next to the French) and it was back to the hotel.

Thursday we got up super early, and were on the road.  It was an uneventful drive until we hit Sarnia/Port Huron.  Up to this point, we thought we'd be able to get home in time to pick up Cooper.  But the line-up at the border had another plan.  It took 80 minutes to get from Sarnia to Port Huron and there went our opportunity to get Coop.  Oh well.  We still were home by 6:30.  Got unpacked, had a light dinner and relaxed.

It was a great trip!  Montreal was more modern than expected.  Not like Europe like everyone said (or at least, not like the Europe I've been to).  You can EASILY get around speaking English.  It was tiring, but so good to get away for a few days, see parts of North America I hadn't ever seen, and most importantly, spend time with my wonderful husband!!

Oh, Canada!

Lake Ontario, Burlington

This is a lot of tack for one street!  Niagara, ON

The falls

In the car - Jeff thinking he's funny


Old Montreal

LOVE this picture.  Looking towards downtown - storm clouds rolling in

Rental bikes!  Genius!

My handsome husband

Mmmm....smoked meat....

Biodome in Parc du Olympique

Inside the Biodome

I love the colors in this painting...

Chilling in the hotel before heading out for our last night on vacation


  1. Whoa, that is a seriously packed vacation! Sounds like an awesome trip though, and you two look so relaxed and happy!


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