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Roadtrip across Eastern Canada: the bonjour-hi

Let me entertain you with some Montreal tales from my roadtrip across Canada, as they are quite fascinating. First of all: it is half French and half English speaking. Although I was aware of it, French Canada was a completely new concept to me. That’s also why I chose the “bonjour-hi” as the title of this post because it is a new greeting concept introduced to Montreal to express inclusion of both social groups. And apparently, that’s a thing. Our host was a fairly young university professor from Germany; he immediately found common ground with Monika who was a fluent German speaker, and he not only showed us around but also explained some of the intricacies of French Montreal.

Above you can see the view from Mont Royal, a mountain encompassed by the city. Here is what makes Montreal unique: there is a park in its center. Quite like Central Park, yet with a mountain in it. As we climbed it after our 8-hour drive, I cursed silently in my mind (I hate hiking). During the walk, our host explained the discord between the French and the English parts of Montreal. It is, however, possible to survive there with just English. I personally met many people whose stories can confirm that.

The yum factor

Montreal was a food festival in a city. We were constantly eating! Something that really inspired me during the roadtrip and what I obsessively want is the hanging planter above. They are so French-cafe-ish, so beautiful, and make every interior so cozy!

On another note, I have to mention poutine – it’s a French Canadian dish, which consists of potato fries, gravy and cheese curds. I have tried the original once and gotta tell you the truth – your girl is not a fan! However, Monika and I had it also at a vegan restaurant called La Panthere Verte (the Green Panther) and we loved everything about it! The sandwich below contains a falafel patty. Someone just got hungry here! I haven’t tried to recreate a vegan poutine at home yet, but I noticed some good recipes out there on the web. I’m gonna send you over to the Minimalist Baker for her vegan poutine recipe.

World-famous architecture

When it comes to the city as such, and its architecture – I left Montreal confused. The grid felt quite similar to Toronto yet much more alive. It may have been because we were staying in the Plateau but even so, Toronto doesn’t always feel like it pulsates with life. Stores and cafes were open late and lots of hipsters were out and about. Architecture in a few words: see Habitat 67 and wander around the port area. The residential experiment was really impressive. Located by the mystical St. Lawrence River, it has been gentrified and now is a very sought for and pricy area to live in. The old port buildings seem abandoned, yet the area is open for visitors to stroll in.

Overall, Montreal didn’t blow my mind but it was a pleasant city to visit. My issue is that, as a Central European, I have in-built images of some American cities based on movies, music, stories, and my own imagination, which do not align with reality. Montreal is one of them.

Check out the rest of the story about my roadtrip across Canada: the little France – Quebec and the capital city of Canada – Ottawa!

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