Cobblestone sidewalks, tree lined streets, and beautiful architecture are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg to be seen when exploring Montreal. Those of you that hang out with me on Instagram or Facebook know that Sean and I spent an amazing week there this summer. It was my first trip out of the country as an adult, and it was everything I dreamed it would be.
We rented a loft in Montreal’s Plateau District for our time in the city and we absolutely loved it. Hotels are fun, and we love that pampering, but for a full week, having the comforts of home was ideal. We spent our days wandering on foot, by metro, or by bus, throughout Old Montreal, Little Italy, Chinatown, Mont-Royal, the greater Plateau area and more. There was so much to see, we could have gone non-stop all ten days, but we chose to stay mostly on foot and just explore the city close by, without going out of our way to see everything possible.
In preparing for our trip, I ran across several references to Canada’s “Little Europe.” I didn’t have a clue how accurate that description would turn out to be. Montreal is a predominantly French speaking city and we loved the immersion into a different language right from the start. We were lucky in that nearly everyone we met also spoke English. So, we were able to enjoy listening to the flow of chatter around us in French and yet still be able to communicate without any difficulty most of the time.
Our first morning out, we were surprised to see so much street art! Last year, in June 2013, Montreal hosted the MURAL Festival for the first time. MURAL is an art festival designed to celebrate urban art and graffiti style painting, along with sculptures, dance, music, film, and live performances. As a result of this street art festival, the buildings are decorated with some breathtaking art. In just two years of hosting the festival, Montreal’s buildings have been transformed with some truly stunning artwork. I can only imagine what the city might look like in just a few more years.
I chose not to research the murals ahead of time, wanting to be surprised whenever we turned a corner and found something new. The murals added a lovely serendipity to our adventure. We walked anywhere from 6-12 miles a day while exploring the city (our Fitbits have never been so happy!) and we enjoyed almost every step. Getting absolutely drenched late one night, while looking for a mysteriously hidden restaurant, might not have been my favorite walking moment at the time, but it makes us laugh now.
This trip reminded me that I see the world through much more appreciative eyes when I’m moving at a more relaxed pace. Now that we are home again, I’m slowing down whenever possible and reminding myself to find something beautiful in each day.
Be blessed today, my friends. I’ll be back tomorrow with a great new recipe. For now, I’m challenging you to stop and find something beautiful around you. Tag me online or send me an email, if you take a picture. I’d absolutely love to see what makes you smile!