When friends invite you to travel across the border for a one night adventure—you take it! My friends Chelsea and Dayle headed to Montréal, CA last summer for a friend’s wedding. They offered to bring me along for an adventure of my own.
I couldn't pass up the chance! I decided to meet up with an old friend whom I met in my travels. It was an opportunity to catch up with her and see more of Montréal after visiting in summer 2017.
Meeting Up With Roo
Roo lives in Ottawa, Canada. I met her in Germany when I was visiting Berlin in 2014.
She was then going to school in Sydney where I picked her up for a 3-day camping road trip to Brisbane.
She is studying to be a lawyer and she continues to travel the world. I have her to thank for connecting me to my tour guide for the awesome experience I had in Namibia!
We stayed in touch after that through social media, updating each other on life on a regular basis. When I had the opportunity to go to Montréal, I immediately contacted her to see if she would like to meet up.
An adventurer like me, Roo happily took a 2-hour bus ride to meet up with me in Montréal. She set out early in the morning and met me in Mile End. She brought an overnight bag in case she decided to stay over—and she did!
Airbnb at Laurier Park
Chelsea and Dayle picked out a cute 2BR apartment for our Airbnb stay. It was near Laurier Park in Montr é al.
The apartment was cute with a balcony over picturesque Rue Chambord. The weekend we were there was hot and there was no air conditioning. But the night cooled things down. Open windows and doors allowed for some nice ventilation throughout the place.
I am grateful to Chelsea and Dayle who were open to having Roo stay the night there at the last minute. We were able to have a bit more time together the next morning before we all had to leave.
Detour St. Hubert
Walking is my favorite mode of transportation when I visit a new city. The reason is that I get to see and appreciate the city from a local perspective. I also spot things I wouldn't otherwise have the chance to see from an Uber or car rental—like the street art on the archway posts.
On my walk to meet Roo, I took a detour to St. Hubert. I had to exchange some money from US dollars to Canadian dollars for buying drinks at the bars later.
I ended up admiring the hidden bits of art along this route. I also appreciated the cute shops along St. Hubert.
Visiting grocery stores in a different country is another pastime I love. So after I exchanged my currency, I ducked into a small grocery on St. Hubert to see what locals like to take home to cook!
St. Viateur Bagel Shop
St. Viateur Bagel Shop is where Roo and I initially met up in Montréal. This is a Polish-Canadian owned bagel shop in operation since the late 1950s. The family who opened the shop were Jewish immigrants to Canada after World War II.
Roo and I started and finished our meet up in Montréal at the famous St. Viateur Bagel Shop. There is a shop in one area and a cafe in the other.
The St. Viateur in Mile End where we met up is the shop where they hand roll and produce their bagels. There is no seating here. It's where you pick up your weekly dozen and spreads!
The other St. Viateur was about 10 minutes from the Airbnb in Laureer. We went to this one, a simple cafe, where we had breakfast before saying goodbye. I got an egg sandwich.
I am a snobby New Yorker when it comes to bagels. Their bagels tasted very fresh but otherwise I found them to be small and a bit flavorless.
Roo and I picked up our bagels and a tub of spread in Mile End. We then walked over to Parc Linéaire du Réseau-Vert (Green Network Linear Park).
This is a park running between a highway and railroad tracks. I walked through there on the way to meet Roo and then took her back through on our way to the Airbnb.
Réseau-Vert is a somewhat hidden space. There were no tourists here only locals jogging, picnicking, and strolling through. But it's a neat urban green space with awesome street art and plaques describing history of the area.
Roo and I sat down for a little picnic. We munched our bagels and caught up on life. It's so rare and wonderful to meet her halfway around the world and then travel to a new place 3 years later and pick up where we left off!
Old Port of Montréal
After dropping her stuff at the Airbnb, Roo and I traveled by subway to Old Port of Montréal.
I missed visiting this historic area of Montréal on my first visit in summer 2017. So I made Old Port a priority on this visit. The area was a major trade post beginning in the 1600s. Now it is a major tourist spot.
Next to City Hall, there is a photography installment by Diversité Artistique Montréal that I loved. The installment was in commemoration of Montréal's 375th anniversary and noted the city's declaration against racial discrimination.
I loved seeing this continuity following from the protest I saw in Montréal the previous summer. That protest was in response to the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville.
Down passed Vauquelin Square is where most tourists congregate. Leading up to the St. Lawrence River are street performers, art and handicrafts for sale, and food vendors all over.
The day was hot enough that we were up for some CoolWhey—a protein ice cream. Yum!
The Ferris wheel is also a big attraction here. But I had something else in mind for us...
Riding the Zip Line
I heard about the zip line ahead of time and suggested to Roo that we try it out. I didn't realize she was scared to try it until we already paid and were walking up! But that's Roo—up for an adventure even if it's new and scary!
Since I was wearing flip flops, they had me attach these to the zip line. This way I wouldn’t lose my flip flops on the ride over. It was fun to go across barefoot!
We both had a great time on the zip line especially because it was such a beautiful day for it.
Here is a video of our experience:
After the zip line, we sat down in the park to chat and watch the boats ride along the St. Lawrence River.
More Montréal Adventures
After Old Port, we walked down to Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal. Known for its epic interior, we simply went to admire its exterior.
Chelsea and Dayle got a break from their wedding activities and decided to meet us. We had drinks and food at Pub Saint Pierre.
Later on, Roo and I went to dinner at Lawrence in Mile End. The place was busy and so they sat us at the bar overlooking the kitchen. This was a unique experience because we got to watch our meals get prepared.
We had a great meal—drank cider and shared oysters. I can't even remember what my main dish was but the photo I took looks delicious! :)
Instead of heading to the bars that night, we went right back to the Airbnb and plopped on the couch for some Netflix. We were both exhausted from the heat and a very long day walking all over Montréal!
But that's the best part about the unique friendship I have cultivated with Roo. We can explore together like we did Berlin or Sydney. Or we can chill and talk like we did when we camped in Australia together!
There is only one thing better than random getaways to foreign cities and that is meeting up with old travel friends in those cities! It was awesome getting to visit Montréal again and getting to see Roo again after so long. This was definitely a successful weekend getaway. Thanks to Chelsea and Dayle for inviting me along!
Chelsea and Dayle are off on an adventure of their own soon. They will both be moving to Portland, Oregon! I loved Portland when I visited there in 2014. I hope to return soon—possibly even this summer! More on my upcoming summer plans in a near future post.