Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

More Montreal, in retrospect

So, it turns out they have food in Montreal. I knew this, but -- golly. Food. Wow. And there were several places I wanted to try and didn't have the chance at, even within less than a mile of the hotel. It was astonishing.

I had both sweet (banana chocolate) and savory (pesto tomato goat cheese) crepes. I had the Hungarian food I described and the Peruvian food rysmiel described elsewhere. There was baklava cheesecake, people, and when they say they've freshly squeezed apple juice, they mean, like, in the last fifteen minutes or so. I marveled at the "pizza rolls" in the all-you-can-eat sushi place and dragged people back for a second night of crispy spinach (crispy! spinach!) at the Asian fusion restaurant. I had chocolate, and gelato, and a little chocolate raspberry cake, all at Suite 88, which is extremely fine and which will be the source of future pilgrimages. I had...confidence, is what: I had confidence that when we walked into a pasta place where you ordered things in line, holding a tray, it would still be tasty, and it was.

Other things I liked about Montreal: it was kind of fun to use my extremely rusty French a bit, and most people were able to switch to English when necessary, and if they weren't, they were cheerful and friendly about not doing so, particularly if I apologized and said that we were tourists. Many of the preferential Francophones who switched to English for me were extremely concerned about how others were treating us, wanting to make sure everyone had been pleasant and friendly. The hotel staff in particular seemed eager to know whether anyone had been unpleasant so they could refrain from sending other Anglophone guests there, but I didn't have any such bad experiences to report and could make them all a bit smug with my enthusiasm.

Some of the Francophones had the northern-North American o instead of a more standard French one when they said "sorry," and I loved that. Also people met my eyes when I looked at them walking down the street. The population figures I've been able to find suggest that the greater Montreal area and the greater Twin Cities area are about the same size. I would have guessed that Montreal was larger, and I wonder what kind of population distribution we're talking about for each, but the point remains that Montreal is of a size that's fairly comfortable for me.

The Musee des Beaux Arts is worth the time (and free-will donation) for the modern Inuit sculptures alone. There are other lovely things I was glad to see, but nothing so categorically different from other art museums I've visited before. Generally if you're old enough to be traveling by yourself, you already know whether you want to see postmodernist paintings or Chinese pottery or Italian Renaissance paintings. But the modern Inuit sculptures were all their own thing, and fierce and wonderful.

The Jardin Botanique was too big to see everything of interest, but the things I did see were very fine, the Alpine Garden and the "Test Gardens" (which haven't been tests for quite some time, so the time capsule nature of them was interesting), Chinese and Japanese Gardens but also some First Nations Gardens, again stuff that wouldn't have been done the same way the world over. Definitely worth the time and money, and worth a return visit. A series of return visits.

Main complaint: not enough time available to see all the interesting things, eat all the interesting foods, talk to all the interesting people (or see/eat/talk to them enough). Other than that, I'd have to concentrate fairly hard to come up with a complaint about my week in Montreal, and I don't see the point to that.
Tags: see the world they said, so juicy sweeeet

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