So the next stop is Montreal – and it’s almost like being in a different country!!! I mean, technically it is, and the money’s the same, but on the street it’s much more common for people to be speaking French than English.
The hostel we’re staying in is lovely – it’s right by the bus station and in the heart of the Latin quarter. In fact the rooms are still so new you can smell the newness! We went for a stroll to find some dinner (as it was already quite late by the time we arrived) and ended up walking through a quite seedy area ending up in Chinatown (naturally). Took us quite a while to find the cheapest restaurant going but the food was pretty good even though all the staff were having their own dinner party in the centre of the room :)
The next day we headed up to Mont Royal park, which winds around a hilltop and looks down over the city (have to make do with that as no lookout tower here). The signposting was pretty ambiguous but we managed to find the chalet where the lookout is and then went on a circular route past this big metal cross that they light up at night on the hilltop before wandering down a steep path through the trees to the downtown area. On the way we passed by McGill university and the art museum then explored the main town. There are many churches and monuments scattered around, the cathedral was very impressive with its blue decor albeit typically gloomy inside. The old part of town retains its narrow cobbled streets and looks very European although it’s horribly touristy. Plus there are lots of people who try to encourage you to come into their restaurants, which I would be happy to do without! At one point the skies got very dark and it started to rain pretty heavily, although fortunately we could take shelter inside Notre Dame cathedral until they kicked us out, by which time it was dry again :)
Once again we searched out the cheapest restaurant for dinner before walking along the pier to take some night time shots of “vieux Montréal”.
On the way home encountered lots of students singing initiation songs in French. Many cool bars around and quite buzzing so I think it would be quite a good place to come party! Off to Québec early tomorrow though for a day trip…