Saturday, 19 May 2012

Montreal in March

The one thing I'll always sort of chide myself for is not really having researched beforehand about Montreal before I'd applied to do my elective there late last year. :p There were only a few things I knew -- 1. McGill is a great university 2. Montreal is in Canada 3. Everyone who's been to Montreal has said it's an amazing place. And with that, I applied to do 2 months of electives there! :) Pretty reckless bold eh? It was only after I'd got accepted that I actually did some googling, namely "weather in Montreal", and only when I saw the digits "-10" did my jaw drop and the question, "What the hell have I gotten myself into??" actually entered my mind. But weather apart, Montreal was FANTASTIC. :) And in fact, at the end of the day, I'm actually glad that I went in March and April because it's not the peak tourist season at all, so it was easy for me to get around. Streets and metros weren't crowded, bakeries weren't extremely packed... And it was the season for sugaring off. It just seems like at any particular time of the year there's always something special to do/look forward to. That's the beauty of being in a place with seasons. 

So here are some photos from the very first week when I went there. My mum had accompanied me to settle me in :D so there are a couple of photos of her in her big Eskimo coat. My sis and I tease her incessantly about it. 
Photobucket This beautiful building is the City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Montréal) in Old Montreal or Vieux Montreal. Isn't it gorgeous? :) Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Horse-drawn carriages! Apparently it's a great experience but I always have a feeling that it's a tourist rip-off. Photobucket oldmontrealforblog-1 Left: The Pointe-à-Callière museum right in the heart of Old Montreal. It's a great museum to go to at the start of your trip because one of the main highlights is a 20 minute long multimedia show (OMNIMAX style) about the beginnings of Montreal. Plus it comes in about 7 or 8 different languages with a flick of a switch on your headset.
Right: Someone came down from the North pole. :) Photobucket Photobucket Maple Syrup tart at Les Délices de l'Érable. This specialty store is pretty famous in Montreal and it's got Maple Syrup EVERYTHING. Maple Syrups of different strengths, maple syrup cookies, maple syrup ice cream among others... A must-go for first timers! Prices are probably a little more expensive too given that it's a specialty store but it's one of the really convenient places to get souvenir snacks when you're hard-pressed for time. I ended up coming here again the day before my flight back to get a whole bunch of maple syrup and snacks for friends and family. Photobucket Photobucket Place Jacque Cartier. I was pretty shocked to see just these huge random blocks of ice. It wasn't snowing or anything so why on earth were they there and in such HUGE ass hunks?? Obviously I'm not well-versed in such natural phenomenons in winter so... away I snapped with my camera. It's a great area to go to during the weekends with plenty of people just milling around, taking a rest at the benches or watching pretty kick-ass street performers doing their thing. Photobucket A maple syrup stall! I wonder if they only have these in the Winter-Spring period? But these sell a lot of maple syrup snacks, especially the archetypal maple syrup taffy made syrup that's poured onto ice which freezes it quickly and it's then curled onto a stick. Bit too much sugar for my liking. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Lunch at a random cafe my mum and I ducked into before going for a play at a theatre nearby. Hot Chocolate and Coffee just takes WAY awesome when you're dying from the cold. Photobucket Photobucket Another view of the City Hall. :) I just love it.

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