My First Visit To Montreal - Day One

18 days ago

For nearly two decades, my friend Juan ( @luckyfellow ) and I have taken a short trip every year to celebrate the successes of our individual creative projects (click here to read more about our tradition.) Our friendship began almost twenty years ago while vacationing in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.


The sky, somewhere over Michigan.

On the years we couldn’t afford an out-of-state trip we went camping on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. The only year we totally skipped our trip was 2016 due to Juan’s recovery from a heart transplant. 2017 has been an extremely good year and we have a lot to celebrate so we chose to reward ourselves with a trip to Montreal.

We had a short, but not uneventful, layover in Toronto. We had a nice meal and a server, who grew up in Soviet controlled eastern Europe, explained how sorry she felt for us Americans these days. After we filled our stomachs and had our world view expanded, we were off to our final destination.


The Toronto skyline.

Our plan was to use Uber to get to our Airbnb in the Old Port region of Montreal but, strangely, Uber wasn’t available in our area so we hopped in a taxi. As the cab made its way from the airport, I wasn’t impressed. The city was dotted with dilapidated factories and industrial parks. Montreal seemed many other other cities I’ve seen in the rust belt of America but when the driver started venturing closer to Old Port the soul of the city began to reveal itself. Montreal’s soul is beautiful, indeed.





All of the pictures above were taken on St. Paul Street, where our Airbnb is located. The building we’re staying in was originally a 1830’s era hotel and, rumor has it, Charles Dickens was once a guest (our host said some people think he still is a guest.)

Our impressions from the first day is the city looks like the closest thing to Paris that I can imagine without having to cross the Atlantic. Being surrounded by so much history and such a richness of culture has already sparked my creativity levels tremendously. Tomorrow, I’m going to really dig into a few projects related to our HardFork Film Series.

The people here, so far, have been very welcoming and friendly. Most everyone here speaks both French and English and they’re happy to converse in either. However, we have noticed you get a little more respect if you attempt a few phrases in Francais. I can't wait to see what adventures tomorrow will bring. This is a tiny glimpse of my future as a digital nomad and it's every bit as awesome as I'd hoped.


My view as I wrote this post.

Please follow our official Steemit account for the film series @hardfork-series and watch for official updates and teasers over the course of the next few months. In the meantime, I will continue to share personal glimpses of my involvement in this project with you periodically.

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Great photos @ericvancewalton! And it hasnt even been a full day yet. 😉 Im happy to see you and @luckyfellow are making thebtrip worth it so far.

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Thanks, my friend! I bet you're getting super excited about your upcoming trip!

what an amazing view you had while travelling superb pics thanks for sharing :)

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I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks!

Sounds so fun and inspiring Eric! Wish I was there with you guys! So glad you're having a Franco-Canuck adventure. Can't wait to hear what you think of poutine!

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Thanks, my friend! I wish you could be here too. Lisbon is right around the corner, I'm looking very forward to that. We're 99% sure that we'll probably come back here at least one more time next year. Tomorrow, my #1 goal is to try poutine. I was initially going to try to get some "to go" for our call tomorrow but I thought it's probably something that's best when it's fresh and hot.

A really nice post and I love the photos. I haven't visited Montreal in almost 40 years! Too many other places to explore I guess. The food is fabulous and the people super friendly. Take lots of photos. Upvoted and following.

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Wow, 40 years! From your description of it, not much has changed...I've had the same experience here...great food and very friendly folks. Thanks for your support!

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You are welcome.

this town is beautiful...

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It sure is!

Two decades of doing something is more than a tradition, it is almost a way of life, at least a part of life that has to be done.
Because if you don't do it, "then something just isn't right, something is missing".

Got me hooked tight at the start with that, had to read it from that point onwards.

PS. It would have been kind of cool to have taken a photo and seen a shadow of Charles Dickens in the background!
Just letting my imagination go wild!

Thanks for the good read and nice photos.

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You're so right that our trips have become a way of life. The few years that we missed the trip just weren't the same. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and the photos!

I was just about to comment how much St Paul Street looked like France, and then you mentioned it, haha.

What a great tradition for you and Juan. I expect the two of you will continue to enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.

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: ) I hope we can continue these annual trips. It's a nice break from all of the work throughout the year.

Glad you are having fun buddy. I plan on going there this year. Can't wait.

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Thank you, man!

I live in Montreal and worked on St Paul Street for 5 years a while back. Now we are going to Mexico hopefully for good. Our first night is near Playa Del Carmen.
Kind of a coincident

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Wow, what a nice bit of serendipity! Where in Mexico do you plan on settling?

That's an interesting tradition. I was planning something similar but for longer periods.

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Exactly what I was thinking, very nice way of celebrating life!

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Thanks, yes, the plan is total freedom to travel like this....very soon!

Enjoy your trip!

My last trip to Montreal was in the winter of the late 1980's. The city was spectacularly beautiful and I had a very good time during my visit there.

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I've heard horror stories about how cold it gets here in the wintertime! Was it bad when you were here?

Great story and pictures. Thank you for sharing! I hope you have many more great trips!

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Thanks, I appreciate it!

This was an interesting article with nice pictures! Looking forward to more from you!

Very cool!

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Thanks!

how are the people there ...?

@

That is so cool! What an awesome tradition, I hope one day, I have a friend to do that with. I really appreciate the pictures as well. One of my dearest friends just moved to Montreal (for college) and I love seeing where she lives now ;)

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I'm happy you enjoyed it! This is an amazing city. You should try to come out and visit your friend sometime.

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I certainly plan to ;) that is, if she doesn't come visit me first :)) But I do hope to see Montreal one day....from these pictures, and from what she's told me, it seems great

What a beautiful friendship you have for 20 years with Juan. Those types of connections are meant to be a lifetime because of shared experiences and at times hardships. I am so glad that Juan is doing great after heart surgery last year. It can be a very painful and difficult recovery. He looked really good in your pictures.

It must be so wonderful to spend time with an old friend. Making special memories are special with fantastic healing power and spiritual uplifting. I feel it is always such a growing experience reflecting positively on how far both of you have come. It makes for a beautiful story.

Perhaps you should write a piece about this special friendship. With the way life has changed, it is so nice to hear positive and refreshing connections between two people. Spreading this uplifting energy is a healing balm. Thank-you so much for a visit to true friendship and loving care!

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Thanks, @cabbagepatch! You've hit the nail on the head. We've been friends through thick and thin. We talk (and laugh) quite a bit about the struggles in our careers and the experiences on these trips throughout the years. We always said which ever one of us walked through that door first we would be sure to hold it open for the other to walk through. Finally, that's happening.

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That friendship is more valuable than all the gold in the world. It is so rare to find that wonderful person who you can share the ups and downs, the happy and sad and then come together as if no time has passed. That is the beauty of a wonderful and loving relationship like true brothers. Many people search their entire life looking for that special friend who just knows you without words. You are both so lucky you found each other. I can see it in your pictures. Words are not needed.

No need to respond. I felt that I just needed to tell you both how very lucky you are! :D

I traveled to Montreal once..
Back when I was driving a truck.
Never again.
Rudest people I ever met....

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Never On The Rude Again? ;-P

Canned Heat - On The Road Again

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Sorry to hear that, Everitt!

What a coincidence for you to be in Montreal at the same time we had a Steemians meet up​! Last evening 5 of us met on Rachel Street. One guy came from Florida, one gal was from Vancouver and three of us from Montreal. I never met any of them before and we had a ​wonderful time going to eat & for a drink after!

Are you where L'Usine de Spaghetti is? It's a great restaurant which advertises the fact that Charles Dickens spent time there.

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Ah, I'm sorry I missed it @heroic15397! The meet up was the evening before I got here. We're right down the street from L'Usine de Spaghetti!

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I'm near Montreal myself, just across the river on the South Shore!

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Awesome! We ate at L'Usine de Spaghetti last night...it was really good.

Hope you enjoy Montreal, don't leave without trying a smoked meat sandwich, a poutine and a beavertail pastry!

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Thank you! What would be your recommendations for the best place to get all three?

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Beavertails you can only get at Beavertail locations, there's one in Old Montreal. For poutine there's a ton of places but you can't go wrong with Belle Province on Peel between St Catherine and Rene Levesque, and for smoked meat you'll want Schwartz's on St Laurent http://schwartzsdeli.com/ca/en/

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Thanks for the wonderful suggestions!

I liked the 5th photo because the sky is so blue. I have yet to visit Montreal and hopefully someday I will. But I had great fun and adventure on my epic Trans-Mongolia Journey. Check it out.
Hidden Gems Of Magnificient Moscow Part 1: The Troitse-Sergeiva Lavra (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) At Sergiev Posad

great pictures looks like juaan is really luckyfellow to have u as a friend

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Thanks! The older I get the more I realize how valuable old friendships really are.

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i really believe that money is nothing but friendship is everything

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^ So very true!

The streets really look like the streets in Paris,very beautiful and authentic.I was always amazed that they speak two languages there😊Very nice pictures,thank you for sharing🙂

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I've never been to Paris but have heard it's very similar. The dual languages are great, it's given me a chance to learn a little French along the way. People here are patient teachers. Lol.

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Hahaha nice, French is a very beautiful language;)

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Ce n'est certainement pas facile!

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I wish there was a "translate" option here haha What does it mean?sounds beautiful 😊😊

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It means, "It certainly is, but it's not easy."

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Wow, you are doing pretty well there with French;))Keep it up😊👏