Je ne parle pas français

Trip Start Mar 19, 2012
Trip End Jul 27, 2012

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Where I stayed
HI Montreal Hostel
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Loads and Loads

Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Monday, March 19, 2012

My first stop was Montreal, Canada and got their late Monday night and first thing I heard was Celine Dion blaring out at the airport, very patriotic.  The hostel wasn't too far away and once I got their introduced myself to dorm mates before I tried to get to sleep but was excited about the days ahead.

One thing I picked up on straight away was the mix of the French and English language being heavily geared to the French when I expected an even split.  Hoped my limited French - "Yes, No, Hello, Thanks, Please and Would you like to sleep with me?"  Would get me through.

On Tuesday I had all my snow gear ready but weather turned out to be very sunny so pulled out all the t shirts at the bottom of my bag.  I headed out to the Olympic park where I went to the bio-dome first which was a small zoo, followed by taking a lift up the Olympic tower to get a view of the city.  Surprisingly was very smoggy so didn't get the best view of the bigger buildings but still a great vantage point.  Then spent most of the afternoon relaxing by laying on a small hill outside the stadium in 24C sun.  In the evening went on a pub crawl where I got to meet other travelers and got a better orientation of the city.

Head a very early start on Wed as I had a day trip to Quebec City.  Which I will write about in a separate blog.  Wed night we went down to the best sports bar in the world, this was evidenced by three things a) the first pic you see is of two kids with a chicken on the side (many jokes were made).  b)  Dogs freely walked in and went on the gambling machines.  c)  They were playing crowded house.  Need to get this franchise going.  Then went to a pub for some late night drinks were several hours of pommie, aussie and canadian bashing ensued.

Thursday we went out for the classic Canadian dish Poutine (Chips, Cheese curds and gravy), and got to say it was very good and would recommend, but unlike our North American friends maybe once in awhile not everyday.  This was an epic day as I did my first bit of ironing and cooked my own food, was kind of enjoyable don't know why there is so much moaning.  Went on another pub crawl on Thursday night and met some more new people.  Got to say not as good as the pubs back home in blighty but less drunk people puking everywhere.

Next day went on a walking tour of old Montreal and felt like I was walking through France.  Was interesting seeing the french and anglo buildings next too each other and seeing the contrast between them. A few of us went down to the port, china town and explored the city by foot a bit more.  In the evening went to a Ice Hockey game, which I had been looking forward too and wasn't disappointed.  The North Americans have the Razzmatazz down and loved the whole spectacle of the pre-match entertainment.  The match started and after 30 secs I saw a goal and after 2 mins a fight.  The Kiss a cam, bongo playing and exercise time were all a bit unnecessary and couldn't see it taking off at the lane, but overall a great experience and would recommend to anyone to get to a game.  I found out after that I saw the quickest hat-trick ever scored in the NHL. Good times. After the game can you guess where I went yup the pub and this time I had two aussies and two canadians so the pommie bashing doubled, but I more then held my own.

On Sat went up Mount Royal; was a hill rather than a mountain despite what the locals say.  You do get a great view of the city from the top though and this was the hill that gave the city its name.  Went to have some more poutin followed by a gentle stroll.  Went to the local coffee shop and had a Tim Tim, Cream Cream, Sugar Sugar.  Spent the last night playing poker and taking the mick out of all our countries.

Was a brilliant start to the trip, meeting some really nice people and feel my horizons already broadening.  Would recommend Montreal for a holiday but make sure you bring your French phrase book.   

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