March 2012 and March 2013
Looking back, I wish I took a little extra time to venture out into the second biggest country on planet Earth, but my adolescent self was determined to party and celebrate, so my friends and I ended up spending the whole spring-break trip in Montreal. But I can't really complain overall because it is a pretty fascinating and really fun place to be. It's like if you took half of a North American city and half of a European city, stuck them together, and populated it with Canadians (so everyone is super friendly).
The first thing to strike me while there was that the whole city is on the side of a hill, which eventually tops off at the summit of Mt. Royale (which the city happens to be named after). Naturally, I had to go to the top, so first day there, I grabbed my friends Doug (see Russia) and Hoitt, both of whom were also on the trip, and we all decided to go running to the top. Unfortunately, however, the whole path up was a sheet of ice, this was Canada in March after all, but that didn't stop us. We persisted, fell down multiple times, but eventually reached the top and looked out over the city in awe. The whole city, from the baroque architecture of McGill University to the vibrant downtown area, was visible all the way to the water. Looking back, I wish I bought a camera so I could have something to show here, but you'll just have to take my word for it. And all the bruised knees and twisted ankles we sustained on the way up were entirely worth it.
Then there was the nightlife, and Montreal did not disappoint. Throughout the day, things tended to seem pretty relaxed and easygoing, but the second midnight rolled around, it was as if someone flipped a switch. Live music was pouring out of every bar and the whole city emerged to partake. But while this all would have been fun to join, we had a little bit of a different plan. My friend Matt, who was also on the trip, happened to have a good friend from highschool who was now attending McGill, so we decided to go for that instead.
I'd like to tell you how that went. I'd like to fill in all the details and share the experience, but I don't exactly know how to explain it. Just imagine if filmmakers David Lynch and Terry Gilliam got drunk in the editing room together, and then you might understand. Anyway, what had been Canada on the outside had now transformed into this new dimension. Customs, languages, and perceptions of our surroundings all changed as this new world opened up. And there were dogs. Several dogs were running around in the midst of all of this, so I course, I took it upon myself to interact with and pet all of them. Dogs are awesome.
Once we left, the streets were alive. Music seemed to be coming out of every bar, and the previously deserted sidewalks were swarmed with all walks of life. It was time to hit the bars and have our fair share of Molson and Labatt Blue. I'd like to go on here, but my memory is unfortunately a bit hazy, so let me just use a picture to sum up everything afterward: