Sunday, February 27, 2011

Montreal in Winter (brrrrrr)!

From Feb 3rd to 16th my good friend Lisa from Brighton, England came out to where I'm living currently in Northampton, Massachusetts to visit me. We decided to be super crazy and trek up to Canada in the depth of a New England winter. To explain how cold a New England winter is, let's just say there was a night it got down to -25F (about -32C) and around the time we went anything above 20F (-7C) seemed pretty warm. Lisa had never couchsurfed before, so we set out in search of a host. I'd been to Montreal a few times before, but mostly with my parents and mostly doing super touristy I was excited to actually meet someone who lived in the city and get more of an insiders' perspective! The above picture is the street we stayed on.

On the way up we stopped at a rest stop in Vermont...that we decided was the best rest stop ever. Most notably, they gave us FREE COFFEE!!!!!! and they recycled our poop on site right after we made it!!! Here is Lisa being British with her free tea in front of the plants that were possibly munching on our poop right then and there! I would also like to mention that going into a greenhouse at a rest stop was pretty awesome after the freezing snow.

"Lisa, there will probably be a sign that says 'Last Exit in America'! Good tourist picture opportunity!" There was no such sign, but this was the last exit in America! Commence shitting ourselves about going through customs. They were so scary! Especially the American side, which had about 10 cameras and snapped our picture as we drove through.

When we arrived, our host Shanty greeted us with homemade pizza and Canadian beer! Then we promptly went and fell asleep after all the excitement from our journey. The next morning we trekked out and walked all along Mont Royal and found this awesome cafe called Kahwa Cafe where we partook in free Wifi, lattes and hot chocolate made with fair-trade coffee and chocolate and people watched got our internet fix. The best part about this place were all the cool math and physics problems all over the walls and ceiling incorporating coffee, milk and then cafe as themes. Also they had AWESOME cups (see above).

The aforementioned math problems that were all over.

Interneting right before we went to lunch at Aus Vivres, which was freaking delicious.

While waiting for Shanty to meet us to take us for dinner in Chinatown, we found this in a mall-type building. A pink forest!

She took us into a hotel in Chinatown that had this cool walkway over lots of water and fish! In the photo is Lisa and Shanty.

Shanty and Lisa again. This was a really cool outdoor interactive art thing on Ste. Catherine street made out of clear IKEA garbage cans with lights inside and motion sensors. They were all red until you walked past and then the lights turned white.

Here's a better picture to give you an idea of how big and awesome it was! We definitely frolicked around there for awhile!

Me decked out in my arctic gear, trying to make the lights turn white. I succeeded!

I have a soft spot for street art. So you'll see a bunch of pictures. Number one!

This is the outside of Shanty's flat. Montreal is known for flats with big staircases (sometimes spirals) on the outside. It looks really cool, when you're not almost falling down them in winter!

Lisa all ready for our trek out in the snow on our last day.

Even Starbucks is fancier. See: Cafe Starbucks Coffee.

Crazy alien street art on the way to lunch!

Okay, I'm immature. We went to this awesome vegetarian Asian food restaurant called Yuan, where Lisa got a mushroom that looked like a penis. It entertained us for too long. In fact, I'm still giggling...

On a similar theme, we found Sex Village!

More cool street art!

One night we went out in search of good Canadian beer and our host Shanty recommended this to me. It's apple beer, but not cider! It is soooo tasty and even has fairies on the front! So, you can't go wrong and I'm still obsessed with it. Luckily a liquor store in my town has it, albeit for a bit higher price and only in four packs. So. Tasty.

That was our trip to Montreal! It's cool to be able to drive somewhere where a different language is spoken and get my travel on again! I may or may not be heading back in late Spring...we'll see! I'd also love to get my butt out to different parts of Canada, especially Toronto!

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