Oh Canada, I’m Starting to Like You.

Right until I opened the curtains I would’ve sworn that it was still the middle of the night. Whilst we hadn’t partied particularly hard the night before we’d been lazing around in bed for a good few hours before we made those dreaded first few steps out of our comfortable little abode. It was still overcast and the rain from the previous day put a chill on the wind that seemed to cut through any layer of clothing. The side benefit was that you couldn’t be anything but awake when you were outside making us even more determined to get to our goal: Laura’s favourite place for brunch.

We arrived there not 10 minutes later and instantly I was struck with the similarity to the restaurant we had dined at the night before. There were lines of booths all the way up and down the restaurant with only a smattering of tables to cater to the couples and those dining alone. We were seated and given menus that could’ve been short novels with the selection being extremely vast and ready to cater to any taste. I selected myself some eggs benedict with salmon which also came with a side serve of fruit and house potatoes (mashed with a bit of garlic in them). The girls ordered similar and not 10 minutes later did we have our meals. They were quite large and I struggled to get through most of it, remarking on how over the last 2 weeks my usual rule of “If you pay for it, you gotta eat it all” had been promptly thrown out the window. I just didn’t have the urge to make myself at every meal.

After satisfying ourselves there Laura had some things to attend to so Rebecca and I retired to the hotel room. Whilst we spent the first hour or so trying to find things to do for when Laura goes back to work we soon became listless as our bodies struggled to absorb the massive meal. The next few hours were spent lazily watching the TV, waiting for the message to come through. During brunch Laura had mentioned that I had to try poutine (as any Canadian will suggest) but from this one particular place. I likened it to Chicken Gourmet back in Canberra, it was the place that everyone went after a good night on the piss and needed something to satisfy that early morning hunger. It wasn’t too far from where we were and not a couple minutes after arriving there did I have my prize:

This was the real deal with chips, gravy and cheese curds not just shredded cheese. You can tell curds are fresh by when they squeak against your teeth when you eat them and these were definitely fresh. I think I disappointed Laura though as my reaction was more like “That’s tasty” rather than “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE BEEN MISSING THIS ALL MY LIFE”. I’d definitely eat it again but I’m not about to be as obsessed about it as these Canadians are.

Rebecca and Laura had planned a night out at a spa with one of Laura’s workmates and for me they had planned a bro date with Marc. Since I had hit it off with him last night I wasn’t dreading it like I do with other forced social interactions. I fired off a message to him but didn’t receive a reply. Adding in the country code and sending it again I still got no response. Frustrated I called him and finally got an answer from him. He had responded but it just hadn’t come through, but phone calls seemed to work well enough. After figuring out where the hell I was he came around and picked me up. Tonight we were going to hit up a local micro brewery called Bieres Brasseurs which we had walked past the night before.

The place was packed as a hockey game was on but they still managed to seat us down the back. We ordered our first round of beers (he a wheat beer and I an amber ale) and food from the bilingual waiter and got into a good conversation. The next few hours saw us make our way through the beer menu whilst the crowd roared when the home team scored, ringing what sounded like a massive cow bell. The time went by quickly and after finding out that the girls wouldn’t be joining us after their night at the spa we decided to call it a night with Marc dropping me back off at the hotel.

The night reaffirmed the idea I had the night before that whilst travelling to new places is always interesting it’s the people that really make it worthwhile. We’ll be spending the next few days getting taken around the heart of Montreal and I can’t wait to get more acquainted with it. My walking tour of Miami had been great fun but it still lacked the human element to really bring the place alive, so I’ve got high hopes for doing the same with a local by my side.

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