Montreal is completely and totally different to Vancouver. From the moment we stepped off the plane we felt like we were in a different country. Firstly as Brits it seems amazing that we could travel for 5 hours and not change country, but then there was the language, and the heat, and the food and buildings made of bricks!
It was slightly unnerving at first, things were the same, same banks, bookstores, fast food chains but at the same time different, it was a little bit like stepping into the twilight zone especially as we tired from flying at night and overwhelmed by the sudden temperature change. The French was written first, rather than underneath in a slightly smaller font, Starbucks becomes CafÃ© Starbucks and stores have a slightly different logo to accommodate the language change. French is the main language spoken here, but as our baffled looks established, almost everyone is fluent in English. Sort of puts the rest of us to shame the way Montrealers effortlessly switch between the two. Restaurant menus though, outside the tourist areas, are generally only in French which makes for some fun estimated guessing and a certain element of menu roulette depending upon the extent of your vocabulary.
Despite this we ate extremely well throughout our stay, indulging in lots of cheese and charcuterie; warm, fresh from the oven bagels; wonderful pastries and coffee we even partook in the Canadian national dish – poutine. Chips, cheese curds and gravy â€“ so horrible it’s actually amazing, best accompanied by beer. I took a picture but it actually makes it look incredibly disgusting.
And eating outside, bliss. Nothing screams holiday like eating outside on a slightly wobbly table, enjoying good food and a glass of wine and watching the world go by.