Saturday, October 15, 2011

montreal: le deuxième jour

We woke up early to take Erik to the train station. Unfortunately he couldn't stay in Montreal and play with us because he had to be back in NYC for work on Saturday :( Boo. We missed having him around during our exploration. Now we all just have to go back another time!

Let me start off by saying that we had the most beautiful weather all weekend. I packed long sleeved shirts and sweaters and really only needed short sleeves and occasionally a light sweater during the day. It would get a little chilly at night but the air felt so nice.

The Old Port area where we were staying was really beautiful but didn't have much more to offer than bars and restaurant and touristy gift shops. I saw lots of signs for fancy loft apartment for sale but it didn't seem like a lot of real locals lived in the area.

Thankfully the weather was amazing, so Kurt and I rented some bikes from a bike shop near our hostel to get around easier.

Unfortunately, too little sleep + super strong coffee + no breakfast + biking in unfamiliar territory = an unhappy Melissa. I was not enjoying the first leg of our ride until we stopped at this awesome grocery store to grab some sandwiches for lunch.

Rejuvenated (and with a little less complaining on my part), we got back on the road and made our way to the Olympic Park.

You could buy tickets to go up in the tower or have a tour of the stadium but we were feeling cheap and just poked around a little. We took a peek inside the aquatic center here.

They had a great exhibit in the lobby of vintage Olympics posters.

After the Olympic Park, we rode around some more and found this market the guy at the bike shop told us about.

On our ride, Kurt spotted this store. He has a bit of a soft spot for Slovenia, so he stopped in to ask if they carried his favorite beer Lasko. Sadly, they did not :(

We rode around this neighborhood called Mile End for a while in search of a place sit and have a beer. We hoped the French/European tendencies of Montreal would make it easy to find a little cafe with outdoor seating that served beer or wine alongside coffee. Apparently Canadians are even more Puritanical than us in America and our dream cafe was impossible to find. Eventually we found this restaurant that had a bar, but the waitress informed us that the liquor license they hold requires you to order food with alcohol. Jeez. We both had a fruit plate (the least expensive thing on the menu) and grilled the staff at the restaurant about fun things to do in Montreal.

We had beers from a local brewery (around the corner kind of local) called Dieu du Ciel. If only we had kept looking a little longer we could have drank our beers from the source! C'est la vie.

We rode through another neighborhood called Le Plateau. There was lots of activity around the bars, restaurants, and shops along the main street. Looking back you can see the Olympic tower in the distance.

This park was on Kurt's list to see. He was very interested to see the state of Landscape Architecture in Montreal. Maybe they need some hot shot from New York City to shake things up a little :)

We did some more riding around the McGill University campus closer to downtown and started eyeing places for dinner. The restaurants along Crescent Street were packed and looked kind of fun. Upon closer inspection, they seemed like they would be pricey, so we searched for a while to find something reasonable.

Randomly, we ended up at a Lebanese restaurant on a quiet side street. Kurt and I split a fattoushe salad and lamb kebabs. It was a very multicultural experience :)

Then there was more bike riding.

We rode by a few canals and then along the river towards our hostel.

There was a huge sports bar with a great roof deck near our hostel, so we decided to get a final beer of the night and enjoy the temperate weather. 

Once we got back to the hostel, Kurt researched places to go the next day and I think I fell asleep immediately. Biking all day is hard!

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