The land of maple syrup, hockey and hot chocolate

Trip Start Nov 26, 2006
Trip End Dec 20, 2006

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Thursday, December 7, 2006

How does a Canadian consider himself? As an unarmed American with health care...

Ha ha. Very funny indeed. And YES, we finally made it to Montréal, Canada. Wow, this is a COLD place! Just like being back home in Norway, perhaps even colder! Quite a transition from Hawaii...

We arrived 30 hours late in Montréal and wanted to make the most out of our already short stay. We lived in a charming hostel "Le Sous Bois" in the old city, an area where the architecture gives the city a very European look. French and English are interchangeably used. Even though we both speak pretty good French, we were happy to occasionally switch to English. It turns out the French spoken in Québec is not quite the same French as spoken in Europe...

Montréal is a beautiful city, and we spent the first afternoon strolling around the narrow streets of Old Montréal and the Old Port. The city has put on its December decoration, and combined with the snow and cold weather, we really felt the Christmas feeling sneaking upon us. We put on 4-5 layers of clothes to protect us from the cold wind and the minus 10 degrees, however, we made frequent stops at bistros and restaurants for hot chocolate and warm food.  

And of course, after 2 years "Down Under", we truly enjoyed our French/Swiss meals. Onion soup and garlic bread, Swiss cheese fondue and the traditional smoked meat from Montréal were some of the dishes we ordered.  

Even though it was cold, we enjoyed a really nice winter day in Montréal. The walk up to Mont Royal, a view point at 232 meters, was fantastic.

The sun was shining from a clear blue sky, and squirrels ran around everywhere as we climbed the hillside.  

After a quick photo stop with freezing fingers, it was time for more hot chocolate to defrost before we went back down to the city.

It was amusing walking past McGill University and Concordia, two universities we seriously considered for our master degrees. If we'd made a slightly different decision two years ago, this would have been our new home, and not Auckland NZ...

Downtown we made a great discovery; there is actually more to Montréal than meets the eye. An underground world revealed itself to us in what we believed to be the basement of a shopping centre. In fact, more than 33 kilometers of tunnels, metro-lines, and shopping centres are located underground. Completely protected from the cold outside, we spent the rest of our day exploring this hidden city.  

It's a pity we can't stay here any longer, but we hope to come back for a longer visit at a later time. We're leaving the cold for this time, and we're now heading for the Caribbean...
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