Snow in Montréal It was Thanksgiving last weekend. Since Meghan had a break from uni, we decided to boycott Thanksgiving and visit Montréal for 4 days. It was an 8 hour bus ride there, so we got the night bus and woke up in the morning to find thick snow Montréal. It was so pretty – and so cold! We had to wear at least 4 layers of clothes at all times, and even the locals were saying it was cold for that time of year (apparently it gets as cold as -40 degrees Celsius in February!) While walking around the city, I decided that if I could choose any city to move to, it would be this one. It has beautiful old architecture and old cobbled streets, every sign is in French (even more so than France), a superb lively music scene with jazz and blues bars everywhere playing live music, the people are friendly (much like in Edinburgh) and it has so many indie record shops and clothes stores that it puts Camden to shame!

We stayed in two beautiful b&b’s there (not quite “budget” travelling!) The second one was very Victorian-esque, with antique furniture and decor everywhere; it felt like a step back in time. We had a four-poster bed in our bedroom, an en-suite with a tub in the middle of the bathroom, and a bidet! (I’d never used one before.) The landlady was a lovely old Hungarian woman, who went out and bought food (and a rose) just for us and made sure our stomachs were completely full. She told us one the time she went to London, in 1956, before she moved to Canada, and how life in London was back then. She told us that she used to see the gentlemen doing the gardening on Sundays, and in banks there were unmanned tables with change on it, for people to change their money. She also said when people were getting on buses there was never any pushing or shoving (compared to Hungary, she said), and when she went to a football match and the opposing team scored, the English men would clap for the other team if it was a good goal! I think she was a little disappointed when I told her England wasn’t like that anymore.

Oh, and the best thing of all: the all-organic, all-vegan restaurant we found on our last night. When we arrived, there were no signs on the outside indicating it was a restaurant. In fact it looked like an abandoned house. But we walked in, and it was like stepping into a hippy world (or the tipi field at Glastonbury). The restaurant was filled with colourful throws cushions, the walls and ceilings are painted with psychedelic colours, tinsel, tin foil, disco balls and subdued lighting.

Vegan restaurant, MontréalWe walked through the entrance room and into another room where a very flamboyant, very gay French man marched up to us in his black & white stripy top and tilted black beret and said in military style, “Have you booked? Have you been here before? How do you know of this place?” After we answered the questions correctly, he sat us down in what appeared to be the “first-timers” room. Another waiter, this one even more French and gay that the last, approached us and said, “Okay, here are the rules: you will get a two course meal, soup, and a main dish. If you do not finish both courses, including all the sauce, then you cannot order dessert, and you cannot come back to this restaurant ever again.” We were offered small, medium and large dishes, and they told us they hate wasting food, hence the reason you’re banned if you can’t finish.

The food was the best food we’d ever eaten; we practically licked our plates clean. Afterwards we went to the ice hockey arena where the Arcade Fire were supporting U2, and stood in the foyer and listened to the last few songs of the Arcade Fire’s set. What better way to spend our last night in Montréal?