NOTE:  I have to replace a cable, and I will post pictures later. For now I am going to go ahead and keep you up to date.

Road Trip III: Montreal

Coming to Montreal is like visiting a foreign country.  (Yes, I am fully aware that Canada IS a foreign country, but it happens to be an English speaking foreign country, whereas Quebec is not an English speaking foreign country.)  French is the official language of Quebec Province and there is no requirement to put English on any type of public notice.  Like street signs or menus.  Like the European French, some French Canadians believe that the English speaker is beneath the contempt of dogs.  Of course, sometimes they will be very polite and speak to you in English, but that is only determined by their desire to have your business.

If you ever get to Montreal , you should stay at the Auberge Pomerol.  A small, clean and well-priced hotel it’s within walking distance of the Old Port and Jazz Festival venues, and near public transportation for easy access to other cultural sites.  Just around the block there is also an artist’s quarter filled with the works of various artists and craftsmen, interspersed with small patio bistros providing the perfect opportunity for people watching.

This may not be the best family hotel, however. People watching will include street hustlers and panhandlers.  While it is within walking distance of all sorts of cool touristy shit, you have to walk through some seedier looking areas to get there.  There is a significant homeless population and a small red-light district but the neighborhood is safe enough.  As is always the case, if you’re here for the experience, and you remain aware of your surroundings this is a great spot to start out from.

It’s fun, though, you feel like you’re in Europe, without all the hassle of flying and time zones.  Even better, you can find a good lager or ale just as easily as a nice white or red.  Plus, there is a wide range of culinary cultures, much of it in the form of neighborhood eateries that are not marketed solely to the tourist. There is an Italian restaurant on one side of the hotel and  Thai take out on the other.  A little further away are a couple of noodle shops and a McDonalds (just to keep you honest, it’s menu is in French only, and you’d better be able to say,  “Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq.. combinaison” or “melange.” Dunno, don’t eat there myself).

The festival is well underway today, and I’ll be telling you more about that later.