MONTREAL

FOR MY 25TH BIRTHDAY, DAVE SURPRISED ME WITH A TRIP TO MONTREAL. WE GOT INTO TOWN AROUND 4 PM ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND SETTLED IN TO AN AIR BNB IN THE HOCHELAGA-MAISONNEUVE DISTRICT. AFTER SETTLING INTO THE APARTMENT, WE LEFT TO EXPLORE DOWNTOWN. WE CAME ACROSS A ROOF DECK BAR WHERE WE ENJOYED THE FIRST OF MANY COCKTAILS OF THE WEEKEND SOAKING IN 360 DEGREE VIEWS OF THE CITY.

 

SATURDAY MORNING DAVE TOLD ME THAT WE HAD TO BE BACK AT THE APARTMENT AROUND NOON BECAUSE HE WAS EXPECTING A DELIVERY, MY FINAL BIRTHDAY SURPRISE. I WAS A BIT CONFUSED BECAUSE I’D THOUGHT THIS WEEKEND AWAY WAS THE SURPRISE. SO WE VENTURED FOR COFFEE AND A PASTRY IN VILLE-MARIE. WE POPPED INTO LE PETIT DEP, THE CUTEST COFFEE SHOP ON RUE ST. PAUL, TO GRAB A QUICK PASTRY AND COFFEE BEFORE HEADING BACK TO THE APARTMENT FOR THE SURPRISE DELIVERY. DAVE DEVOURED A CHOCOLAT ET PISTACHE CROISSANT AND CAPPUCCINO WHILE I SIPPED ON AN ICED LATTE AND PLAIN CROISSANT. WE HEADED BACK TO THE APARTMENT, ONLY TO FIND MY BEST FRIEND AND HER FIANCE ON OUR FRONT PORCH. I SCREAMED WITH EXCITEMENT AND RACED TOWARD THEM AS SOON AS I COULD. WE CHEERS’D THEIR ARRIVAL (AND MY SILLY BDAY) JUST MINUTES AFTER THEY WALKED THROUGH THE DOOR.

INTERMITTENT THUNDERSTORMS DWELLED OVERHEAD THE MAJORITY OF THE DAY SO WE WALKED TO THE METRO WITH CAUTION AND HOPED IT WOULD HOLD OUT UNTIL WE GOT WHERE WE WERE GOING. ONCE WE SURFACED ON RUE ST. CATHERINE, IT WAS APOCALYPTIC. THE RAIN CAME SO QUICKLY THAT WE ALL ENDED UP DRENCHED. BUT IT WAS ACTUALLY QUITE FUN, DODGING INTO SHOPS AND BARS TO AVOID THE DOWNPOUR. WE BAR HOPPED DOWN RUE CRESCENT WHERE DRINKS AND LAUGHTER WERE AT NO SHORTAGE.

THERE WERE FIREWORKS SATURDAY EVENING OVER THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER. WE ENDED UP AT HOTEL WILLIAM GRAY TO WATCH FROM THEIR ROOFTOP. WE ORDERED SOME PLATES FOR THE TABLE TO SHARE, INCLUDING A MOUTHWATERING DECOMPRESSED MELON SALAD, PESTO LINGUINE WITH BABY SEA SCALLOPS AND A HEARTY ASIAN INSPIRED MISO BURGER. THE VIEWS WERE BEAUTIFUL, NOTHING A PICTURE COULD CAPTURE ADEQUATELY.

WE SPENT SUNDAY MORNING AT CAFÉ TOMMY, A COZY TWO STORY COFFEE SHOP ON RUE NOTRE DAME. AFTER OUR VERY PARISIAN BREAKFAST, WE STROLLED AROUND TOWN CHECKING OUT THE OLD PORT, SOME OF THE OLDEST BUILDINGS STILL STANDING IN MONTREAL AND VARIOUS STREET VENDORS.

RIGHT BEFORE WE ATE LUNCH, WE STOPPED BY A STREET VENDOR. AN OLD MAN IN HIS LATE 70’S GREETED US AS WE TOOK INTEREST IN HIS ART. HE HAD A CRISP WHITE MUSTACHE AND WAS COVERED HEAD TO TOE IN PAINT. DRIED LAVENDER POKED OUT OF HIS SUN BLEACHED SHIRT POCKET AND HE SMILED AS HE SPOKE TO US ABOUT HIS ART. IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG TO PURCHASE A PIECE OF HIS WORK, WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE HIS FIRST SALE OF THE DAY. HE RUBBED THE MONEY DAVE HANDED HIM ON ALL OF THE ART IN HIS SMALL STREET SHOP AND THEN BACK AND FORTH IN BOTH OF OUR PALMS. HE EXPLAINED GREAT FORTUNE AND PROSPERITY WOULD COME WITH THIS PURCHASE. HE HELD DAVES HAND WITH THE GRIP OF A STERN HANDSHAKE AS HE TOLD US THIS TALE. MY CHEEKS HURT FROM SMILING SO WIDE DURING THIS ENTIRE EXCHANGE. RIGHT BEFORE WE WALKED AWAY, HE HANDED ME A SPRIG OF DRIED LAVENDER FROM HIS POCKET AND SMILED AT ME WITH SUCH SINCERITY.

A FEW MINUTES LATER WE FOUND OURSELVES IN THE COURTYARD OF JARDIN NELSON. A RESTAURANT GARDEN ON PLACE JACQUES CARTIER. THE FRONT ENTRANCE FACES THE REST OF PLACE JACQUES CARTIER, A BUSIER MORE TOURIST FILLED PART OF OLD MONTREAL, SO I WAS THRILLED WHEN THEY TOOK US BACK INTO THE COURTYARD. SOFT LIVE MUSIC AND VIBRANT FLOWERS FILLED THE SPACE. I’VE YET TO GO TO FRANCE, BUT I’D IMAGINE THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE. 

AFTER LUNCH, WE HEADED TOWARD SQUARE SAINT-LOUIS. IT'S KNOWN FOR ITS COLORFUL ARCHITECTURE AND QUAINT LITTLE PARK NESTLED IN THE MIDST OF THE CITY. WE SPENT SOME TIME WANDERING, BUT EVENTUALLY MADE IT BACK TO THE CAR TO HEAD HOME. 

MONTREAL IS SUCH AN INTERESTING CITY, FILLED WITH FRIENDLY PEOPLE, INCREDIBLE ARCHITECTURE AND AMPLE TASTY AND DIVERSE RESTAURANTS. WE EXPLORED ONLY A FRACTION OF THIS SWEET CITY SO I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT ELSE IT HAS TO OFFER. I CANNOT THANK DAVE ENOUGH FOR THE WEEKEND HE PLANNED. IT WAS THE PERFECT BLEND OF ROMANCE, EXCITEMENT AND GOOD PLAIN FUN. AFTER NEARLY FIVE YEARS TOGETHER, HE CONTINUES TO MAKE LIFE AN ADVENTURE. 

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