• Chris Francisco

Alone pour le week-end

As some of you may have read here, nothing about this move has been easy. New challenges present themselves daily, and the most frustrating ones have been all the government-related administrative tasks that can't be ignored. This past weekend, Marny had to have her car title exported out of the US and imported into Canada so it can be registered as a Canadian vehicle. And yes, it wasn't easy.

I'll spare you all the tedious details, but the car had to sit on US soil for 72 continuous hours to complete the export. Rather than spend a weekend in Vermont or upstate New York alone, Marny decided to fly to NYC for the weekend while leaving the car at the Burlington, VT airport. She made the most of the 72 hour period while visiting friends and seeing the sights, and I stayed behind to cat-sit Natasha.

That being said, I had 72 hours to kill and no one to kill them with. In a city that I still don't know very well. I know that sounds like an episode of a fun-filled travel show, but it's easier said than done. I've never had a problem doing things by myself, but after a little while, you start to crave a companion. To help motivate myself to explore, I bought an unlimited weekend Metro pass, which allows use of any train/bus until midnight on Sunday.

Friday got off to a bad start. Marny headed out around 7am, and the rain started soon after. I cleaned the apartment for several hours (party time!) and snuggled with Natasha on the couch. I was almost ready to resign myself to a day of Netflix, but the rain finally stopped mid-afternoon. I threw on some clothes and headed back down to Mile End, and I had big plans. First, some of that street gnocchi we mentioned in the previous post, then ice cream, then a beer at a brewpub I'd read about. There wasn't any more rain forecasted, so what could go wrong?

Well, the gnocchi happened. As I stood there finishing it, the ice cream place turned their lights out and shut the doors. 40 minutes before their closing time. Weird, but OK, no problem. Maybe tomorrow. I headed a few blocks towards the brewpub, and the raindrops started. Great. As I got closer to the pub, I noticed the massive crowd of people inside (with no free seats at the bar), and the introvert in me decided to head home. I should have done the opposite, because the sky opened up as I neared the Metro station. And no, I did not have an umbrella. After drying off at home, I called it a night.

Saturday had a much better start. The weather was gorgeous (sunny and 60), and after giving Natasha her required snuggle time, I headed out for lunch. Montreal is known for its great Jewish delis (and their signature smoked meat), and there was one a few Metro stops away called the Snowdon Deli that I'd been reading about. It was crazy busy when I showed up, but getting a table for one wasn't difficult. I ordered the smoked meat Benedict, and it was great. Not light eating, though, and after getting myself back to the Metro station, I decided to go back home and digest before heading back out. I didn't get any pics of the food, but there was a cool old theatre near the deli that had an art deco-style sign. It looked like it'd been closed a long time. Too bad.

After some digesting time, I decided to try my Friday night plan again. The brewpub was my first stop this time, and fortunately, it was almost empty on Sat afternoon. It was called Dieu du Ciel, and they had a wide range of beers all brewed in-house. I had a flight of light to dark beers, and my server was kind enough to write down some recommendations for other good restaurants and bars I should check out.

"Boires" is not "beers" in English.

I then ventured back over to Kem Coba for ice cream (thankfully, they were open this time). I had a cinnamon/apple soft serve, then headed back towards the Metro station. I spotted some interesting street art near the station, and if you weren't already aware, Montreal is known for its amazing displays of street art. I also spotted a hair salon called "Lucifhair," where I plan on getting my next haircut.

Devil's haircut

Sunday was a bit more relaxed. I headed down to St. Catherine street for lunch - it's near Concordia University, so there are a lot of quick, easy, and cheap options. The neighborhood isn't quite as interesting as Mile End, but it was good to get out and walk. I had lunch at a place called Poulet Rouge, and it's a build-a-bowl concept with emphasis on grilled chicken. Simple, but tasty. I was in need of a coffee after that, so I jumped back on the Metro to check out Dispatch Coffee on St. Laurent. Good cappuccino, but it was your typical hipster coffee joint.

On the way back, I saw more excellent street art and bought a killer piece of chocolate babka from a bakery, which I ate while standing on the sidewalk. The second street art pic is actually an art installation that functions as a giant pipe organ. It bellowed out low tones that sounded like whale songs, and the effect was quite eerie.

Overall, the solo weekend went by fairly quickly, and I got to see some new things while enjoying some gorgeous weather. This is the fall weather that I've been waiting on, which Atlanta won't be getting until, well, December. Maybe.

About me

After almost 20 years living in Atlanta, Georgia, my husband and I decided it was time to make a change. We packed up our lives, grabbed our beloved cat, and ventured North to re-make our lives in Montreal, Canada.  Did I mention we don't speak French yet?


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