Travel exploits of a Single African American Woman traveling the world!
Hello Everyone. I believe this is my first official post of the new year. Damn! Sorry ya’ll. Not much has been going on except for me working hard for my client. They send me out of town every week to a new city to do consulting projects, so the traveling has been a bit out of control. Combine that with the fact that I am still exploring and totally loving my new home city, Austin Texas, and it adds up to Sheila ignoring my blog.
I am truly blessed to have manifested a consulting client that pays me to travel & do really cool work for them. In the past 6 months, I have been sent to Los Angeles, Kansas City, Saint Louis, Phoenix, Baltimore, Boston, Atlanta, Savannah, New York, Vermont, Denver, Houston, Nashville & Wisconsin. In the midst of all of this business travel, I have had the opportunity to sneak in a few vacations. Ya’ll know how I roll! LOL I went home to Kansas City for my birthday, McAllen, Texas for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Dallas to chill, Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival and I just returned from Montreal Canada. Montreal rocked and during my amazing time there, I was inspired to start blogging again. Please allow me to fill you in on this amazing city.
My client sent me to Burlington, Vermont last week to work and in looking at the map, I discovered that Montreal was very close to VT. I determined that if I worked my ass off to complete my consulting work, I could free up at least 24 hours to drive 1 1/2 hours to Montreal and explore the city. I finished up my work Thursday evening around 6pm and hit the road North. After a quick stop at customs for the obligatory “why are you going to Canada” questions, I was off. I arrived into Montreal around 8pm. Since I live in hotels Monday – Friday, I decided to book a hostel to stay in. I’m going to write a separate post about the joys of staying in hostels that I hope you all enjoy. After checking ratings on www.hostelworld.com…, I decided to book space in a 12 bed room for $20.00 a night at The Le Jazz Hostel Saint Denis in the Latin Quarter area of Montreal. As I knew absolutely nothing about Montreal, I chose this hostel based on previous ratings from other guests and also because staying in an area called The Latin Quarter had to have some flavor and energy right?
I definitely made the right choice in Hostels. I was in the heart of a very vibrant and happening part of town. Tons of restaurants, bars, people in the streets and partying. Upon getting checked in and entering my room, I met one of my roommates Mili. He was a mega cool Asian dude that had just moved to Montreal from Vancouver. As I was hungry as hell, I asked him if he wanted to join me for dinner and we headed off to find a great restaurant. We ended up at a Mexican restaurant called Three Amigos and got our grub on! Mili had never had a margarita before, so I suggested he get the Cadillac Margarita, which was their strongest one. He was a little dude and he was drunk as hell when he finished it. Hilarious! After dinner, we walked back to the hostel and I crashed.
Whenever I am faced with the dilemma of being of being in a totally cool city with a very limited amount of time to explore, I follow a strategy that has never failed me. I make my way to the main Tourism office and book one of those red double decker bus, hop-on-hop-off tours. This works so well because it allow you to sit on the bus and let the tour guide tell you all about the city and sights while you take notes of the 3-4 things you want to go back and revisit. As it was the winter season, they did not have the hop-on-hop-off tours, so I booked a 3 hour bus tour that drove us all over the city with an amazing guide. During this tour, I learned some of the most fascinating facts about this city regarding its history, culture and lay of the land and completely fell in love with Montreal even though it was 20
freaking degrees and ya’ll know Mama does not do cold weather!!! LOL
Highlights: Montreal is a city in the Providence of Quebec. Because of the cold weather, Montreal has an underground city that runs for 33 kilometers. It is a series of tunnels mainly under the downtown that contains over 1,100 shops and restaurants. It connects buildings and also houses its subway system. It allows people to maneuver around when the temperature is below zero degrees. It was amazing! I also got to explore Old Town Montreal which is comprised of buildings built at the turn of the century. It is a popular, lively area for tourism with shops, restaurants and outdoor venues all along the water. We also hit Chinatown, the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame, the Olympic village and buildings, the Botanical gardens, museums, parks, etc… Montreal is definitely a summer city with MAJOR festivals occurring every week. It is a city that is built on tourism and truly loves tourists to visit. I felt incredibly welcome from every person I encountered. Montreal is a French speaking city and unlike snobby Paris, a huge majority of the citizens are also English speakers. Most of the signage was in both French and English. I loved hearing the beautiful French language being spoken, while being able maneuver around because they spoke English as well.
If Montreal is not on your list of cities to visit, please do yourself a favor and put it on there!! I am seriously toying with the idea of traveling around Quebec this summer as it is a part of Canada that I want to learn more about and fully experience as a result of being in Montreal. In my 28 hours there, I was able to walk over 5 miles exploring the city both above ground and underground, tour the entire city by bus, have awesome meals, meet incredibly warm people, go to a Blues club, stay in a great hostel and discover a new favorite city. Thanks Montreal. I cannot wait to return!