Day 4 in America: Travelling to Montreal
Wonderful to have you back here, enjoying our story.
Todays story is a bit shorter than yesterdays.
That’s not because I’m getting lazy or my fingers are hurting.
It’s just because today was mainly about traveling by train.
We started our day by going to NY Penn-Station from where we had Amtrak tickets to Montreal.
It was raining heavily in the morning so we needed some equipment.
Or take a coffee break.
First we had to find the boyfriend of my sister “Tomi”.
But how to find each other in such a big station. We tried to communicate through KakaoTalk.
Then we boarded the train. Totally unlike trains in Europe, you don’t just stand there, wait for the train and jump in as soon as it arrives.
In America boarding the train is more like boarding an Airplane.
You wait in a long queue.
After the train arrives they open a gate and lead you to the wagons.
Even if that was a bit uncommon to us, we were very positively surprised by the trains.
The seats are very comfortable and you have a lot of space.
A seat is connected with every ticket. So nobody has to stand in the train.
Everything very different than in Europe. We liked the experience.
It was a long trip. 11 hours in the train. We were prepared. Tomi and Alena bought food for us and there was a nice coffee bar inside of the train.
After about 2 hours we stopped because of a technical problem.
An inspector came and told us the news:
“Listen to me. We have a short stop here of at least 30 minutes. I recommend to use the time to walk around a bit. Next time we stop in Montreal and only god knows when that will be.
Up there in the railway station you can buy coffee. That’s maybe the only place where the coffee is worse than on this train.”
I love that guy!!
When we went back to the train, a woman was running around hectically.
She told us that she was on the train to the other direction that stopped to, but her train just went away without her. She had her wallet, mobile phone, cloth, just everything inside there.
We brought her to our inspector and he sent her to the railway station office.
I never heard anything from her later on, but I really hope everything worked out for her.
After about 1 hour we continued our journey. After a long long time of sitting around, sleeping, drinking coffee…
, we stopped again.
As I was surprised that the border control on the airport in New York was quite comfortable, I was also surprised that this border control between the USA and Canada was very strict.
Some policeman entered our wagon and checked the passports.
They also asked some questions like “Were do you go”, “What do you do there”…
In my case they were even more suspicious because of my passport.
I have stamps from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, South Korea, Hongkong, China… in my passport.
So the guy became really alerted and started to ask me why the hell I was there and what did I do there and so on.
It felt like I was interviewed for 15 minutes even if I know it was a lot shorter.
Next stop Montreal!!
First thing we recognized in Montreal was the cleanness of the railway station.
A bit different than in the US.
Alena booked an AirBNB room a bit outside the city, so we took the train there.
Susan, our host was really welcoming. They own a whole house in the outskirts of Montreal. So they decided to live on the second floor and rent the whole first floor to travellers.
It was luxurious. After having just a few square meters in New York, it felt like being in a palace.
We had 2 bedrooms, a big kitchen, a living room with a big television and a comfortable bathroom.
Sensational as it was quite cheap too.
As we didn’t have anything to eat and drink, I went to the supermarket nearby.
Choosing something to eat was easy.
Choosing something to drink was a lot harder as I didn’t have any idea about beer in this country.
Instead of just guessing I asked a fellow consumer there about the best Canadian beer.
He was thinking for a while…
Then he shouted out loud: “Take the CANADIAN man, take the CANADIAN” and went away.
So I took the “CANADIAN”.
It was not the best decision in my life and it made me think that Canadians don’t understand the art of brewing beer. (Later on that was corrected)
My sister Christina had a conference in Toronto the week before, so before starting the journey we agreed to meet here in Montreal.
Meanwhile we got a message from her that her train is arriving late evening and that she wants to know how to get to us.
Explaining the way to our accommodation would have been possible but not too easy and as I was sitting around all day, I decided to do a bit of sport in the evening.
So I took my sport shoes and started to run the 7 kilometres towards the city centre.
After 5 minutes, I regretted my decision.
It started to rain heavily and I asked myself if I should turn around and go by metro.
On the other hand, it wasn’t cold at all and I was already wet, so I decided to continue.
It’s a very interesting and special thing to just run around by food in a totally unknown city.
I passed lots of bars, food stores, sport courts…
Sometimes I stopped to watch baseball training or look at the menu.
Think that was also the first moment when I started to hate my iPhone as the battery collapsed and I was there without navigation.
Luckily I knew roundabout where to go as I studied the map before.
So at least I found the city centre 😊
AND Canadians are really helpful when you ask for the way.
So finally, I found the railway station and my sister.
To be continued tomorrow