Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Montreal & Mont Tremblant. La première partie.

Today I am back in the office after my Canadian excursion. I took Thursday, Friday and Monday off from work (heaven) so TJ and I, plus his family could venture to Montreal, visit his sister and faire du ski. 

Thursday morning I said bon voyage to DC and flew out on Porter Airlines which I had never even heard of before this trip (and was honestly a little skeptical of) but it was so nice! I think if it kind of like a Canadian version of Southwest Airlines in that it really only seems to be in Canada or northern states and it's pretty much just short local routes. The service was impeccable and it was such an easy and relaxed journey. On board everyone was served beverages in glassware and the snacks included Terra chips or salted almonds. The announcements in both French and English made me feel very cosmopolitan. And in the Porter lounge where I waited for my connection there were yummy foods, complimentary beverages, coffees and teas, again served in china. That's enough about the airline but I seriously recommend Porter if you're journeying to French Canada.
Anywho...We were all coming from different airports and the weather in the south threatened to keep TJ and I apart but we managed to all arrive around the same time. After exiting passport control and customs with a new stamp in my passport (#23) I found TJ and his family and we hailed a cab into the city to his sister's apartment.

We got settled, had a bite to eat and put on a few extra layers. TJ's sister then had to go to an interview so her boyfriend volunteered to give us a bit of a tour. We headed up the slushy streets, up the only real hill in Montreal, to the Parc du Mont Royal. It was a slippery, snowy, winding, hike but the view of the city from the top was worth the climb.

We journeyed a little deeper into the park to the Lac aux Castors or "Beaver Lake." At this time of the year however there were zero beavers and in their place we found a completely frozen lake dotted with ice skaters. And it wasn't that perfectly circular skating rink with everyone going clockwise in the same direction like you might see back home. People were weaving and twirling in every direction with classical music softly playing in the muted landscape.  It was truly a picture perfect winter wonderland.
We were now sufficiently cold so instead of crunching through anymore snow we took a bus back to the apartment to thaw out, take hot showers and get ready for dinner. That night we went to a favorite Italian spot of TJ's sister, Chez Ennio. The place is small and intimate. It feels a bit like your grandparents living room with only 6 tables, knick-knacks lining the wall, a snow village in the window. Ennio is really the only person who works there with the occasional single waiter. This is not a place to go if you're in a hurry since it's a one man show. But you can bring your own bottles of wine and we settled in for leisurely meal. I had veal Milanese, TJ had quail, his sister and her boyfriend both had rabbit. Plus there was pasta and salad and veggies and good conversation all around.

We were supremely full and worn out from our day of travelling and sight-seeing so we headed home to bed. Our plan was to rise early, pick up a rental van, and drive to the slopes! Friday morning came and TJ so kindly went and picked up donuts and coffee from Tim Hortons from just around the corner. I so badly wish we had Tim Hortons here in DC.  Their coffee is twice as cheap as Starbucks and they have the yummiest, lightest crullers (or roussettes au miel) ever!

After breakfast we dragged our suitcases back down through the slush and loaded up the van. We piled in and headed about an hour and half away to Mont Tremblant. We got to our hotel, Chateau Bauvallon, a little before lunch time and we were instantly ready to ski!
And now this post has gotten a little long so la deuxième partie will be on here later in the week. Au revoir!

5 comments :

  1. It looks beautiful! I can't wait to see more pictures...you don't look quite as cold as you did in Quebec in 2002 : )

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  2. How fun! Montreal looks beautiful in the snow! We are headed there for Memorial Day weekend for the first time…can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

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  3. Looks beautiful….but very cold!

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  4. Can't wait to hear the rest! J'incapable d'attendre!

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  5. What a start to a perfect weekend! We have Tim Hortons here and I'm addicted! Looks like a beautiful place!

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