Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Montreal: Day 1

We spent 6 hours of our fifth wedding anniversary in the car.

That wasn't too romantic, of course, but our destination was. We spent Labor Day weekend in Montreal.

I had never visited a French-speaking locale, and neither of us had been to Quebec. The drive straight north also took us through the Adirondacks, which we also had never seen.

Of course, I booked our room through Priceline, and Paul and I agreed that the Doubletree was one of the better hotels we've stayed at. Mostly because of the view. We could see most of downtown, the St. Lawrence River in the distance, a bridge or two and even the roller coasters of a nearby Six Flags.

I also like Doubletrees because they give you a warm chocolate chip-walnut cookie when you check in. And since Paul is allergic to nuts, I got two. (Of course, I would rather that Paul not be allergic, but sometimes my stomach doesn't mind.)

This trip, much like Maine, was all about the food and microbrews. Crepes were at the top of the list, and I had two the very first day we were there. Usually I opt for crepes filled with Nutella or fruit, but this time I went for the savory. Can't really go wrong either way.

Our hotel was about a block from the Latin Quarter, an area similar to the Short North in Columbus. Lots of restaurants, lots of bars. Paul was pleasantly surprised with the artisanal beer selection. Paul ordered two of the more unique drafts we had ever seen: a ginger beer (yummy in small doses) and a gummy beer (bright green and garnished with a gummy bear).

Montreal was in the middle of a world film fest while we were there, but since neither of us can speak, understand or read French, we didn't pay too much attention to it. But it made for some nice photos.

Absolutely everyone we encountered spoke excellent English. Signs in store windows were obviously in French, but they often had small English translations underneath. It was common to be greeted in restaurants with "Bonjour-Hi" and the server would speak in the language you responded in. Many restaurants also had English menus.

But I also enjoyed trying to use my rusty Spanish to figure out some basic French words. I could read the days of the week and quite a bit of the menu. And some signs didn't need much of a translation.

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