Keeping It (Mont)real

Over spring break, my friends and I decided to spontaneously drive up to Montreal, Canada. Yes, I know it’s no Cancún or the Florida Keys (actually, Montreal was even colder than here in New Jersey), but we thought it would be a cheap, fun trip. And it was. We started our long over-six-hour drive Thursday morning, making fewer pit stops than I expected. We stopped in Albany to meet our friend who took a bus up from Cornell, grabbed some food, and then continued three more hours until we finally reached our hotel in Montreal. The second we hit the Canadian/USA border, we could tell we were crossing over because… everything was in French. This was perfectly fine for me, as I could read French and speak enough to get by, but for the rest of my group, I heard sighs and “Those French Canadians” all throughout our car. Getting to our hotel, we were starving, tired, and had serious back pain, but we had no time to rest as we wanted to get food right away. Now, this is when I will address the food we ate in Montreal, specifically breakfast food, because it is something that deserves 7000 blog posts dedicated to it. I already knew I loved breakfast food, but being in Montreal, I now want to eat their breakfast foods for every meal of the day. And by the way, Yelp was our best friend on this trip. Knowing nothing about Montreal, we spent most of our hotel’s complimentary WiFi on Yelp and TripAdvisor, two websites that you should definitely take advantage of if you are traveling.

The first brunch we had was in this small restaurant that was about a ten-minute walk from our hotel. We knew nothing about it except for the fact that it had good ratings on Yelp and served eggs. Yeah, we all had sudden egg cravings that morning. Finding the place took forever, but when we did find it, it was worth the wait.

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Don’t let this ordinary looking omelette fool you! It was the best omelette I ever had!

The second day, we had brunch at Universel Dejeuner & Grilladesa restaurant I recommend everyone put on their Montreal to-do list. The food was delicious, the drinks were so good, and the overall atmosphere just automatically put a smile on your face. The wait time was quite long though as it was a very popular place, as we discovered, but once again, the food made it worth it. I ended up accidentally ordering two breakfasts, one being the crepe I posted a picture of below, but with the amount of walking we did every day in Montreal, I had zero regrets.

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Strawberries and Chocolate and Bananas, oh my

Now you may all be thinking that all my friends and I did was eat on this trip (you’re partially right), but we also did a lot of sightseeing. One of my favorite places on this trip was to Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica, a beautiful basilica in the historic district of Old Montreal. This was a place we chose to walk to, even though it was quite a walk from our hotel. We wanted to explore the city! This little part of Montreal rightfully deserves its name–it consisted of beautiful, old buildings and parks nestled away from Montreal’s otherwise city-like atmosphere.

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The outside of the Notre-Dame Basilica

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This picture of the inside of the Basilica does it no justice; the artwork and architecture inside can only be truly appreciated with your own two eyes.

My other favorite place that I saw in Montreal was Mount Park du Royal (translation: Mount Royal Park), which is a beautiful mountaintop park with a gorgeous view of the whole city. To fully appreciate the view, we had to trek through icy, snowy woods and “Walk at your own risk,” trails that only the crew of The Revenant themselves would approve of. After thinking, “Okay, I am going to die in Montreal. At least I had a great final breakfast,” about a 100 times, we finally made it to the top of the summit, and the view was breathtaking.

Also, much to our bewilderment, we discovered there was a much safer, actual road we could have walked to get to the top instead of the path we did take, but hey, take the road less traveled by right?

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This view was definitely worth our Oscar-worthy hike.

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Montreal, Quebec from the top of the summit

Overall, my friends and I had a wonderful time discovering Montreal’s little jewels in the three days that we were there. It was a great, inexpensive trip that we got a lot out of, and I can’t wait to go back again when it’s warmer. Especially because I can’t stop thinking about those omelettes…

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