Wednesday, February 25, 2009

10 Reasons We {Heart} Montreal

Jordan had been planning a surprise for months. Months. Unfortunately, Reagan broke the news early when he pulled out all the books from Jordan's bookcase among which was tucked a guidebook to Montreal and hockey tickets to the Canadiens. Still, looking back, I have to say the anticipation was probably a lot more exciting than the not-knowing. We spent five glorious days freezing in Montreal and Quebec City in early February and loved every minute of it.

Montreal = absolutely totally and completely wonderful.

1. Cold. Deliciously, numbingly so.

2. So European - old stone buildings, thick wooden beams, narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful ornate churches, all awash in hundreds of years of history (think since the late 1600s).

3. French! Yes, I still can (though it's obvious I'm not quebecoise). Still, enough English that Jordan was comfortable and navigating was simple.

4. Canada (my home sweet home... somehow, it just feels different to be back in Canada and a lot like home - even though I'd never been to Montreal before and was thousands of miles from my hometown. It's when i get back to the 'motherland' that I realize I really am a foreigner here in the States. Interesting, eh?)

5. Les Passants du Sans Soucy, the bed-and-breakfast where we stayed. Great architecture, excellent location, jacuzzi tub, amazing breakfast (custom-made omlettes, french toast, croissants, mmmm).

6. Outdoor ice skating on the St. Lawrence River. Absolutely spectacular. Can't say enough about how fun this was (except for the part where though I did grow up in Canada, and was a figure skater for several years in my childhood, I'm not exactly a complete whiz on the ice. This is generally not an issue as when compared to say, less-skilled city-slicker Americans, I'm stellar. But next to ice-hardened and hockey-raised French-Canadians, let's just say I'm a bit rusty *blush*)

7. Quebec City rocked our world. It was spectacular - the history, the luge run, the winter festival, the ice sculptures, the old-time restaurant that served pre-colonial Quebecois dishes, the 'breakneck' stairs - so much so that we will seriously consider buying an apartment there as a summer/winter home, if you will. Perhaps for when we have scads of money, that is - ha!

8. So nice to be away and though we missed Reagan, it was remarkably easy to be away knowing he was in good hands and we could 'catch up' via the webcam every night.

9. Amazing awesome incredible food. Every place we ate was fantastic (we did pick the best spots on purpose I think, but we were floored every time). Also, we've never spent so much on food during a vacation before and trust me, it was worth every penny. Our favorites? The Bonaparte (for the tasting menu), Olive et Gourmando (for incredible sandwiches and tea), Les Anciens Canadiens (for authentic 1600s early Canadian fare), Les Delices de l'Erable (for all things Maple Syrup - including a quaint little maple syrup museum downstairs) and this random little bakery tucked into the Basse Ville in Quebec City where we sipped hot cocoa and nibbled on pastry while our fingers and toes defrosted.

10. Would go back in a heartbeat.

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