Thursday, 16 January 2014
Train to Montreal (station) took 11 hours which surprisingly didn't seem it! With so much to see outside the carriage you can spend the whole time taking in the scenery! Despite the freezing temperatures prior to our arrival, it seemed to have warmed up for us as it wasn't too cold. We headed to Hi Montreal hostel where my sister had been staying and working and received a warm welcome- and a discount! Thanks sis! Montreal is in Quebec, a French Canadian province. There are almost two different sides to Montreal, the old more French part and the new modern city. The contrast is staggering and is like stepping over a single line into a different world. The new city with a main shopping street being Catherine Street. Once into the old part of the city the French influence is obvious - road signs in French, old stone buildings, horses and carts. I much preferred the old part of the city with its old style European character and charm. Quirky cafes, shops and restaurants on all corners. Ice Skating- The residents of the city carry around ice skates in the winter like the British do handbags! It is their thing, and there are plenty ice rinks to cater for everyone! We had a go on the Ice Rink at the Old Port, as it got dark they lit it up which was a unexpected treat at the end of the day. Mount Royal Park, (Parc du Mont Royal) one of Montreals largest green spaces has fantastic views of the city accompanied by ice rinks and sledging, what a great atmosphere! We did a walking tour with a lovely quebecious from the hostel. Who talked us through some of the history. Intrestingly the park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead who also co designed Central Park in New York. Covered in snow it was a winter wonderland! Once at the top we were left to enjoy the views and soak up the atmosphere and have another ice skate..
Friday, 10 January 2014
2014 started with a bang when i visited Elizabeth ,my sister who was doing a year working and travelling in Canada. She was based in Montreal at the time. She was turning the big 30 so we decided to meet in New York as it was just a train journey away (a 12 hour train journey but that's nothing right?!) We had a fantastic week exploring the city and celebrating her 30th birthday. Staying in the Penthouse Suite of the Hi New York hostel was just another bonus! Courtesey of Elizabeth as she worked for the Hi Hostel in Montreal! Yes it was a hostel penthouse but honestly you would never have guessed!! On the first evening we made our way accross town to Times Square- i have been before but almost 10 years ago so i was excited to go again. It is like nowhere else that i have been, especially in the evening- what actually seems like daytime because it is so bright! Love it. The heart of the city which never sleeps.