Montreal was… let’s just say I need a do over. I believe it’s a great city, but things didn’t go well for me. My intentions were to check out the street art scene and stroll aimlessly through the neighborhoods – stopping whenever something caught my eye. But, it was a cold weekend in early November. The weather was supposed to be a bit warmer and more tolerable for my Louisiana blood, but Mother Nature had jokes that week. I wasn’t interested in being out in those below freezing temperatures, yet a lot of the things I wanted to do involved being outside.
Well, uhhh, what was I going to do now?!
I spent half of my first day buying supplies that I failed to pack in my luggage – a lock for my locker at the hostel, an adapter for my headphones, and a hat to keep the wind from blowing in my ears. Since I was in the area, I decided to walk up Mont Royal to get some of the best views of the city. That probably wasn’t the best decision for my current physical shape, which is the worst shape of my life. Honestly, I’m just a hot mess in every aspect of my life. I somehow made it to the top after taking several short breaks and allowing the various other tourists to pass me by. This trek was worse than when I was sick at Teotihuacan. The cold and windy weather didn’t help at all, and I wasn’t wearing gloves for some idiotic reason. Add that to the fact that I didn’t have any water with me, and I had only eaten a slice and a half of toast earlier that morning. Again, it just wasn’t my best idea.
I got to the top and didn’t even take a moment to view the scenery. I went straight inside the chalet because I was freezing. I remained inside for a while, and ordered a hot chocolate from the little shop to warm up a bit. In those moments, I realized that I was getting hungry, and I needed to get back down so I could get food. They were selling pastries inside the chalet, but I wanted real food. I gathered my last bit of energy, and I walked back outside. I snapped those photos of the scenery without even really taking a moment to reflect, and I got out of there. The wind was blowing, and the misery felt so much worse.
I just knew the trek down would be easier, and that thought was a mistake. Man, listen. Both of my calves started cramping, and I just couldn’t walk down the steps. Then my upper thighs started cramping too. It was a nightmare, but I somehow made it down to the bus stop. My legs were shaking as I stood waiting for the bus, and I stumbled several times. I decided then that I was going to make some health changes when I got home because I was going to Perú and Equador in a few months and my body needed to be ready.
At lunch, more cramps. My foot was at a whole angle like a cleft for a while. Over the next couple of days, I felt cramps and soreness on muscles I hadn’t felt in years. My body was weary. I had plans to explore the nightlife, but introversion and cold weather wouldn’t allow it. I spent each evening inside.
On another day, I headed to Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) to check out some contemporary art. There was a line outside when I arrived, and I was confused and wondering if there was some sort of special event happening. It was a rarity to see a queue for an art museum. It wasn’t a Jay-Z concert. I later learned that it was because MAC had an exhibit on the late Leonard Cohen. If I can be honest, my knowledge of Cohen doesn’t go beyond “Hallelujah guy,” and I wasn’t in a mental space to enjoy and learn. It required more reading than I was willing to do. I simply wanted to view some contemporary art. I proceeded, thinking there would be a nice temporary exhibit for Cohen, and the vast majority of the museum would be dedicated to contemporary art. Well, I paid $19 to view two small rooms of contemporary art and the rest of which was Cohen. I walked around the museum twice thinking I missed a room or a floor. I looked at the directory and the exhibits were on the 1st floor and that was it.
The artsy day was not lost, however, because I stumbled upon a Barbie display in the underground city and fell in love. When I was a young girl, the only gifts I wanted for Christmas was Barbie. I played with dolls a bit longer than the average child mainly because I was a storyteller, and I liked to create stories with my Barbies. The Barbies were dressed beautifully. Here’s one of my favorites because I felt like it embodied how I imagined myself in Montreal even though I was a hot mess:
My first visit to Montreal didn’t go well, but I genuinely would love to visit again during a warmer season. Everyone that I met was nice, and I didn’t have any unfortunate incidents. I felt safe at every moment and at every turn. The next time, I want to walk the streets and get a better grasp of the city and what it has to offer. I want to discover the beauty of the street art murals, get acquainted with the city’s Caribbean culture, explore the markets, and eat the local cuisine. I did get a chance to eat smoked meat, poutine, and a bagel, but I wasn’t too impressed.