Wow, time flies! It’s been a while since I’ve written, but so much happened! In the months since I’ve written I’ve been working, been in a car crash, began learning a new language, and went on vacation. Life’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but for now I’ll focus on my vacation.
For the longest time I’ve wanted to visit Montreal. I can’t say exactly why, but it’s been on my list of places to go for some time. Fortunately a friend of mine has a serious case of wanderlust (*waves to her*), so off we went!
Traveling is always interesting and definitely something I think more people should do. Often, we think we don’t have the time, money, energy, etc. to travel, but it just isn’t true! Traveling is all about living on purpose and making deliberate choices. We make time for what we want, so finding time for travel isn’t bad if you just look! Saving up those vacation days at work or planning a weekend trip doesn’t take that much effort. Neither does money! I find a lot of people complain that they don’t have the money to travel, but that isn’t always the case. Spending money on eating out and daily habits (i.e. coffee) costs a lot. Firing up the stove at home or making your own coffee can save you hundreds of dollars a month. Why not trade that daily cup of coffee for a weekend trip cross-country? But I digress. . .
So off to Montreal we went! Neither of us is fluent in French, so I was excited to see how we would fare. Luckily enough, “Parlez vous anglais?” and “Je ne pas compris” got us pretty far and most people were willing to converse with us in English. I should note that the people were incredibly nice in Montreal. Everyone was so willing to help. It was refreshing to be greeted with a smile, as opposed to suspicion. People seemed a tad less jaded there. Public transportation was fairly easy as well. If you’ve seen one subway system (especially NYC’s) you’ve seen them all. Between Google Maps and common sense, we were able to traverse most of Montreal.
My favorite part of Montreal was the food. It’s been my experience that food makes (or breaks) the experience. That said, everything in Montreal was delicious. No, really, EVERYTHING! The croissants, the wine, the smoked meats . . . it was amazing. (Quick side note: Did you know Montreal was known for its smoked meats? I didn’t!) I highly recommend La Banquise for their poutine and Au Pied de Cochon for their foie gras! Note: If you don’t know what foie gras is, don’t look it up, just eat it! Though a bit pricey, the meals were definitely a highlight of the experience.
My second favorite part of Montreal was the shopping! Although those living there definitely had their own style, the boutiques were amazing, albeit expensive. I was able to find great deals on dresses in Boutique Onze and Nu-i Fashion by Vickie. If you ever visit Montreal, definitely look up Nu-i, Vickie is amazing and had so many original styles! I loved the originality of the boutiques, but I also loved the tradition and elegance of places like Ogilvy’s and La Baie d’Hudson. Another thing I loved about Montreal? They have an Underground City! No, they aren’t mole people, but there are miles and miles of tunnels, restaurants, and shops underground, which must prove advantageous during the winter months.
After exploring Montreal, my friend and I traveled to Quebec City. Known as the “Paris of the Americas,” walking through Old Quebec City definitely felt like I was going back in time. Everything was so quaint and decidely European. The fortifications that flank Old Quebec City are lovely and the many turrets of Chateau Frontenac are simply breathtaking. Know what else took my breath away? WALKING. If you’ve been to Old Quebec City, you know just how steep some of those streets are. My friend and I huffed and puffed back up the streets after taking the ferry around the city. It was a bit embarrassing (especially since neither of us are that out of shape), but I was slightly mollified to see other people walking slowly and breathing heavily as well. Once again, the food didn’t disappoint. We went to an Italian place where the drinks were strong and the portions were huge! Shopping on Le Petit Champlain was nice, I especially loved the chocolaterie I found there.
All in all it was a beautiful trip. At night I was exhausted by all the walking, but I loved that the day was filled with so much sight-seeing . . . and food.
“Live on Purpose” is a saying that is a driving force in my life. For me, living on purpose means that I am an active participant in my life and that I create unforgettable moments for myself. Traveling, I think, is an important part of that. “La vie en rose” (made famous by Edith Piaf and Louis Armstrong) literally means “life in pink.” A better translation is to see life through “rose-colored glasses.” Ever the optimist, I choose to live on purpose in la vie en rose. What about you?