First weekend in Montreal was a success! Did a lot, saw a lot, walked a lot…but still have a lot more to do!
Olivia, Anna and I started Saturday by going to visit the Lululemon located on the Plateau which is part of the ‘fun part’ of town. Olivia is an athlete embassador for Lulu and Anna works at a store in Albany NY as the community outreach manager. So both girls are very connected with Lulu and get a pretty good deal when going to shop.
Olivia was scheduled to meet up with the community outreach manager of the Montreal area. She was so nice, welcomed us, asked all about the workshop and gave us suggestions on great places to go and visit while we’re here. Olivia had plans to go get her nails and eyelashes done so Anna and I set off to walk around the Plateau to see the sights. Anna has been to Montreal many times so she was my own personal tour guide of sorts which worked out fantastically because now I have a good grasp of how the city is laid out for my adventures next weekend.
We were able to see Mt. Royal (I still plan on hiking up next weekend to see the view of the city), beautiful street art that seemed to be on every available wall, and some fun shops and coffee cafés.
The one place I have been dying to go is a very famous bagel place called St-Viateur Bagel & Café. Montreal is known for the bagels, most people’s opinions I’ve read have even said they’re better than the famous New York bagels…I love bagels. We had a few minutes left on the parking meter and it was only a couple blocks down so we hustled. When we got there, of course there was a line. We didn’t have enough time to stand in the line so we had to abandon my hope for bagels and return to the car. Bagels are definitely in the plan for next weekend!
After getting in the car, Anna had to pick up her swinging trapeze (for those of you who don’t know circus [which I didn’t know this until she told me either] there are swinging trapeze artists, flying trapeze artists and dance trapeze artists, all with very different performances) because she was leaving on Sunday. So we drove to the gym where she practices and I was able to see a girl who trains there as well, Elli (link to her FB performance page), perform her act before she left for Mexico on her next contract. It was stunning, she was dressed in a red-flare mesh costume with sparkles everywhere and her hair and make up all done up. It was quite a show and that was just practice.
I met Elli and another girl training, Brigdet, who performs straps. And let me tell you ladies and gents, if you’ve never seen a straps act, you should; pure strength. She will be performing at the ToHu Center right next to HQ this coming Saturday which I plan to go to! At this training center, on the ‘Wall of Fame’ we found one of our coaches we are currently working with at Cirque!
After he picked up her trapeze, we drove to Old Port which is the most French feeling part of Montreal. People compare this section of town to walking down the streets of Paris which stood true in my opinion. At that point, Anna and I were starving and I knew I wanted poutine. Poutine is a must have when in Montreal, or so I was told. It’s french fries with cheese curds covered in gravy, that’s the most traditional form. Of course now you can get pretty much any topping your heart desires; beef, sausage, bacon, more cheese, etc. etc. So we walked until we found a place that serves it (most places do) and sat down for lunch. My take on poutine: definitely worth having! It’s a dish you probably shouldn’t have all the time but I plan to try it with some toppings next time I have it 🙂
Our bellies were satisfied so we took a walk down by the river, watched the triathlon athletes practicing for their race tomorrow, saw the apartment complex that looks like cardboard boxes stacked on top of it (also a well-known structure), and saw the Bota Bota spa which is a spa floating on the river.
We decided we’d had enough walking and went back to the car before going home to get ready for dinner with some of Anna and Roxane’s friends from the training center. But before we went home, Anna had to drop money off at a woman’s house for letting her stay for a few months to train. The woman’s name was Becky and according to Anna, is probably one of the best female juggler’s in the world! This town is filled with circus people!
For dinner we went to a Russian restaurant which had a limited food menu but an extensive drink menu. So of course, at a Russian restaurant, I ordered a Moscow Mule and loved it. We also had a traditional Russian meal of meat dumplings which was yummy as well.
Not only did I meet a swinging trapeze artist, straps artist, and a juggler today, I then had dinner with a male straps artist, a hand balancer, and two more twin swinging trapeze artists who were flying off to Germany in the morning to start their new year-long contract performing! Crazy! After dinner, we decided, what meal is complete without dessert?! I’m a sucker for my desserts. We went to Juliette & Chocolat and ordered some pretty fancy desserts 😉
The desert in the glass was vanilla ice cream with hazelnut chocolate and whipped cream topped with toffee hazelnut crunchies and the one in the bowl (mine) was a fluffy meringue with a hazelnut chocolate inside floating in vanilla custard covered with caramel sauce and toffee hazelnuts. Needless to say, the sugar high was pretty fantastic!
Sunday was relaxing, I didn’t feel like I had to do a lot so I putzed around watching gymnastics on the Olympics until around 1pm when Olivia, Anna and I went to brunch with Elli at 1,000 Grammes which is a sandwich/lunch spot in Gay Town (I promise that’s the name listed on the map) which is by the Plateau. It was really cool walking down the main street because there were thousands of pink balls hanging from building to building.
I had a croquet for lunch which is just an open-faced sandwich on a french roll covered with melted cheese and it was pretty tasty. After lunch, Anna was leaving for Toronto and Olivia was going down to Old Port to watch her friend start off the triathlon so I walked down main street and decided to buy Ketchup chips…apparently Lays makes them but just for Canada. I’m not a huge fan of potato chips in general so take my review however you want but I liked them! You’re reading this from a girl who once submitted 100 different (mostly weird) flavor combinations into the Lays potato chip challenge….sooo there’s that. But I actually think the ketchup flavor is good!
I decided I wasn’t in the mood for shopping or walking anymore so I found a Starbucks, hopped on their wi-fi, ordered an über and headed back to the residence. The rest of the day was spent cooking the illegal squash I finagled from the gardens and watching the Olympics.
I’d say the first weekend in Montreal was a success but still lots to look forward to for next weekend!