“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I have been on the rails and in the skies, working on my frequent mile points. California was only just the beginning or perhaps the middle of my jet setting ways. Only a couple short weeks later, I was checking my passport twice and heading North of the boarder for my best friend’s bachelorette. It was sure to be a fun-filled weekend.
Despite the chillier then normal temps and the fact that we had gasps -snow!- I met my Gemini twin in Albany and we drove the four hours to Montreal. The drive wasn’t bad despite the snow, but it was definitely monotonous. The boarder crossing, which can be stressful, was a piece of cake. They checked our passports, asked us a couple questions and we were through.
What New Hampshir-ite hasn’t been to Montreal? As someone who grew up only a few hours from the border, it is a prerequisite to go there. Mind you it had been a few years, and I was much older wiser and more appreciative of the ability to travel and explore new places.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Montreal near the art/theatre district and adjacent to the shopping complex which is like an underground city. As Amanda and I were the first ones there, we decided to grab something to eat and do a bit of exploring.
The first thing we found, when we walked out the hotel was nectar of the Gods, a Starbucks! Yasss! I was one happy girl since the only coffee we found on the four hour drive was Dunkin’s and Gas station coffee…Yuck.
That wasn’t the end to my caffeinated fueling. My Gemini twin found an adorable cafe to fill our travel hungry belly’s. Cafe Parvis was so stinking adorable. A cross between a Le Pain and an Italian restaurant. The space was huge and they had private as well as communal tables so you could be
romantic antisocial or channel your extroverted self and talk to people. The Cafe is definitely one of the go to places. It was crowded with many people their on laptops, sipping coffee (which was excellent…You know me, I DO judge a place by its coffee.) while others were their enjoying the food. I ordered an avocado bean salad which was beyond yummy. So much so, I hope I can recreate it!
After that, the weather was crappy, so we ducked into a crepe cafe which unfortunately did not have Gluten Free crepes, but did have bowls of coffee. We sat and talked for awhile waiting for the others to arrive before we joined them for drinks as our “linner” was filling.
Morning Work-outs and a Jolt of Java
The next day was insanely busy but that didn’t stop the bride-to-be, Krystal and I from hitting the gym. Detox to retox people! Afterwards, we made an (in my opinion) emergency stop for some caffeinated fuel at Starbucks. Of which the barista was enamored with my sweatshirt (Built by Pure was written on it, the studio I work at) then proceeded to grill me about New York. While he was sweet, I had not slept well, nor had I had my wake-up shower or even a sip of the latte he was making. I wasn’t feeling it when he was asking questions and I definitely fit the stereotypes of “Rude American” and “Dumb Blonde” staring at him blankly half the time. Sorry Starbuck’s Barista.
Once we had our morning java jolt, we walked the few blocks to Milan Pole Dance Studio which not only taught pole dancing, but yoga as well.
Having several friends who are not only incredible pole dancers, but actually teach it, I had taken a couple classes. Still, I was very much a beginner. I was also dealing with a shoulder/back injury, which made hanging from a pole feel REALLY good. Despite that, the belly laughs were out in force. Laughing as we spun on the poles, contorting ourselves, crashing INTO the poles, attempting to remember choreography, AND hanging onto the poles (which move) for dear life. The bride-to-be was a consummate natural and looked like she had been doing it for years!
It was definitely a work-out, though with all the fun we had, it did not feel like one at the time.
After our class, we went back to the hotel to have some much needed nourishment which included Bloody Mary’s and a delicious omelet at Eggspectation, a Canadian Breakfast chain much like Denny’s or IHOP in the US. After nourishment and a boozy cocktail, we were ready to do a little down regulating of our system.
I have been to the Russian Turkish Baths in New York, so I was not a stranger to the quiet luxurious atmosphere. Packages and prices will range depending on what you want done. We chose to just do the baths. Once paid, they will give you an electronic water proof bracelet which will lock and unlock your locker which holds a robe to change into as well as two towels. They also give you a pair of sandals to wear.
We changed into our swimsuits and threw the robes on, before venturing out into the pool area.
The Scandinavian Baths have a large heated pool, an ice bath, two saunas including one with eucalyptus, and a cold shower stall. They encourage you to switch between the hot and cold (despite it being arctic temps!) so as to flush away toxins. They also have couches, sitting areas and even beds throughout, creating a relaxing, if not at times sensual, atmosphere. Their is also a strictly no talking policy, though my friends and I would sneak in a whisper here and there with our many varied looks and eye rolls at different people. Yes as much as it was relaxing it was also GREAT for people watching too!
We stayed for several hours. There is no time limit once we entered, and could have hung out there all day. They offered complimentary tea, flavored water, apples, and cider to help rejuvenate and rehydrate ourselves. It really was an oasis.
Night Out On the Montreal Town
Once we were zenned out we made our way back to the hotel so we could get ready for a night out. I had a romper that I was wearing, regardless of the chilly temps. Once ready, we took the Montreal Metro, which really is much nicer then New York’s (take note Concrete Jungle!), to The Village for dinner at the Saloon Bistro and a drag show at Mado.
Dinner was held at a modern but still retro bar, with flashing lights and an incredibly cool vibe. While the Drag show was all in French. The bride-to-be did get pulled onto the stage and was told she was a much to classy bachelorette. (I concurred) I’ll let the pictures do the showing.
Home Sweet Home
Sunday morning, after another fantastic brunch at Eggspectation complete with the waiter selfing (is that a word in this selfie age?) with us, my Gemini twin and I made our way back cross the boarder and I took the train home for some much needed zzz’s.
It was such a fun weekend in Montreal, that I will definitely be back to explore soon!