Montreal is one of those cities that is pretty darn impossible not to like.
I visited for the first time in 2007, found myself there on family vacation for the first couple days in July and—funny enough—am back right now, currently signing in 450 college students (and 73 lifelong learners) so we can set sail across the Atlantic sometime this evening. (Irene, please divert thine wrath!)
The first time I was here was a drastically different experience: Even though I was a working professional in New York at the time, I stayed with my friend in a student flat and saw much more of the party and university lifestyle. During our visit this July, 15 of us stayed in high style at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, we ate good food and drank good drinks, we experienced our first Canada Day celebration (that part was a letdown) and we got a taste of the jazz festival.
We moseyed about the city, nibbling on poutine and indulging in ice cream and, more than anything, enjoying the summer weather that we never had in San Francisco. (Sundresses and short sleeves in July? Unheard of!)
In my mind, the architecture of Montreal is one of its finest attributes.
Sometimes I wish I knew more about design and architecture, while other times I think it’s a blessing not to know a thing and just to be able to enjoy something for its simplistic beauty.
I love the Frenchness of this city: how it’s the spoken and written language, how many people don’t speak English, how I have to stumble over basic French phrases that I barely recall from sixth grade when our last exchange student from France, France-Lise, left—simply to be understood. And most of all how, unlike in France, nobody rolls an eye or casts a scowl at my poor attempt at their language!
This time around—as in from yesterday through today—we’ve only had 24 hours in Montreal, many of which I’ve had to work; however, a few of my lovely Semester at Sea co-workers and I took advantage of that saying “the calm before the storm” and stole away for dinner in the Old Town last night before the “first day of school” madness began today.
I have to say that being docked in the port, those of us on the M/V Explorer probably have the best view in town!
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