Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Best Cure for "Itchy Feet Syndrome"

It had been almost 3 whole months since my last travel episode, and I was ready to go on another mission of exploration and see new sights and experience new places and people. My gypsy genes were ready for another adventure and just in time, the Montreal trip materialized!

My friend The Lady Killer and his gf Ms. Perfect in Pink have been making an annual pilgrimage to Montreal's tiny brew pubs for some years now. Back in January he discovered that Via Rail Canada was advertising for fares to Montreal for as low as $59 each way and after a few mass emails out to the gang, voila, 3 days later we had a posse signed up for a trip over the Easter long weekend.

Deciding to make the very most of my foray into new territory (i:e Quebec), I pitched the idea of meeting some Montreal based clients at the same time. Boss Lady jumped at it and thanks to the hard work and efforts of my eager beaver intern, I had a bunch of meetings set up for the Thursday before. Equally nice was the fact that my organization agreed to pay for my travel costs there and back as well – hurrah!

My meetings were set to begin bright and early on the Thursday, so I caught the evening train in to Montreal on the Wednesday night. 4 hrs and 10 minutes later I was wandering around Montreal’s central station looking for long lost family friend who I was to stay with for the first two nights until my friends got into town. Had not met him in over 10 years so had given him a brief description of self that ended with “look for the brown girl in the bright red winter coat!”

The Boy was nice enough to drive me to my first meeting the next morning as it was an utterly miserable day with spitting rain and a good measure of wet snow as well. As luck would have it I stepped out of the car and into a puddle which of course meant that part of my pant leg and my entire shoe was totally and utterly soaked! Urgh! Thankfully I was carrying my “meeting boots” and was able to mop up most of the mess off my pants in time to meet clients. After the meeting, made my way directly to nearest shoe store and bought a pair of nice, comfy and happy rain boots. (Did I mention that the weather was crap?) Feeling much better after my purchase – party because my feet were nice and dry and partly because I had actually found the store using my rudimentary French and partly because the boots were really quite cute (and cheap) – I proceeded to the rest of the meetings feeling lovely about life.

Caught up with the Boy over dinner that night and traded stories about eccentric uncles, nagging mothers, interesting jobs (he is a Human Rights lawyer) and travel adventures over a rather LARGE jug of Sangria. After dinner (with more Sangria) staggered around looking for the car. Decided that he was too buzzed to drive anyway, so went off for dessert and actually ended up taking the subway home.

The next day dawned bright and sunny, but with butt freezing temperatures, which is of course what you get when you go to Montreal in March. After retrieving the car (and the accompanying parking ticket) Boy drove me to the famous St. Joseph’s Oratory where I spent ages checking out the amazing collection of nativity scenes from over 135 countries.

Then over for a winter walk in the Mount Real Cemetery. Winter walk soon turned into full blown snow fight (more like hard packed ice fight) which resulted in more than one disapproving look from other walkers/visitors. It was a terribly odd feeling scrambling up onto a 6 ft high bank of snow that was packed solid so that you could walk across the top! Most annoying was the fact that boy was able to run lightly across the top while I kept sinking in every few steps. (Gah to people who can run like Sanghai deer across snow banks)

Made my way over to the hotel that afternoon to meet up with the friends. True to form they were sitting in the restaurant drinking beer, waiting for check in time!

And that is pretty much how the rest of the weekend played out as well! Over the next 3 days (and nights), we went a wandering in downtown Montréal, checked out the famous Simon’s department store, drank out of a 4ft beer “pole”, visited several watering holes and sampled a lot of the local fare.

Rambled through the quaint lanes and by lanes of Old Montréal, got lost quite a bit, but always managed to find ourselves again!

We even managed to stumble upon a shoe store that was having a liquidation sale and I found the nicest (and cheapest) pair of brown winter boots! (For those of you at home keeping count – yes, that was the 2nd pair of boots I bought in the span of 3 days)

Other than the boots, the other important purchase that I made was Mackenzie Moose II. The first Mackenzie Moose was purchased before my mega trip in Dec 2006 and he was my constant companion in Scotland and England. Somewhere between London’s Heathrow airport and my grandparents’ house in Bombay he got lost and I dearly missed my furry friend on my travels. On my return to the T Dot, I looked high and low for a replacement Mac, but no such luck. Imagine my delight on finding him again! Look for Mac in my travel pics henceforth.


Anonymous said...

Yeah Mac Moose wonderful! Looks like Montreal was a great trip.

Did you know Anna, from The King and I fame is buried in Montreal? She's in the Mount Royal cemetary..

Penguin Pal

The Pixy Princess said...

Did NOT know that, although I did know that she moved out to Canada after she returned from Siam. Guess I'll have to go take a look some time when its not covered under 10ft of snow!

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