If you’re from the Midwest, you probably think this post is about football. You’d be wrong.
This is a story of four airports, three planes, two trains, and a bus. Getting from where I live to Montreal is not a simple journey. There were a lot of steps I had to take; the first of which was picking up my traveling companion along the way. Do you remember Liz Case from my Ireland posts? If you don’t, I recommend hopping over there, or simply hanging around for the Montreal details. She’s a hoot.
We set out on this journey Monday evening, getting into town the night before to catch our 7 a.m. flight to Minneapolis. Thankfully, security lines weren’t long, because we had to wait in line to get our boarding passes. (Something about international travel and not having paid to pick our seats made printing them out ourselves impossible. So the ticket counter had to help us out.)
The flight to Minneapolis wasn’t terrible. A little over an hour on the plane, with three rows of happy, rowdy soldiers separating us, was actually quite entertaining. Some soldiers preferred Belle to Jasmine (if you have daughters, apparently you are required to have a favorite Disney princess). Personally, I’m a Mulan fan. Liz went for Jasmine as a child, but currently is a Belle kind of gal.
A run (fast walk, really, and only if you think a snail’s pace is fast) through the Minneapolis airport and we hit the next plane to Toronto. There, we had to fill out declaration cards before the authorities would let us into Canada. (I almost slept through when they handed those out. Oops. What can I say, but planes make me sleep.)
After going through Customs, and security again, we had to book it to our terminal. We tried getting Canadian cash out a few times, but it took three ATMs and a call to the bank before my card was accepted. Ah, well. It worked out well enough. Our terminal was changed, and we had to book it once more before we sat our butts down for the flight to Montreal.
One note about Montreal: It’s a French-speaking city. Guess who doesn’t speak French.
You got it. Neither of us speak French. I can muddle through written words in German and Spanish to a limited extent, and Liz is slowly teaching herself Italian, but none of those are French. Thankfully, Canada has two official languages, and the second is English. We’re (kinda, sorta, maybe) fluent in that one.
We landed with no mishaps, and managed to find the bus stop outside the terminal. After a brief conversation with a very friendly transportation professional, we obtained our bus passes for the week and caught the shuttle to the train station. The passes also work on trains, so we should be set regarding public transportation.
Two trains (and many stops) later, we arrived just down the street from our vacation lodging. A short walk later (and an about-turn since we started walking the wrong direction at first), we arrived and introduced ourselves to our hosts.
The place looks nice, doesn’t it? And we settled in pretty quickly. Our hosts directed us a few streets over, where we found a large selection of shops and eateries, which is exactly what we were looking for at the time.
We found a Portuguese tapas restaurant — Le Grill Tasquaria — which had amazing food, and ordered a selection to split. With some fries, codfish croquettes, caldo verde soup, and figs covered in goat cheese and caramel sauce, we filled our stomachs easily and happily. The proprietor also taught us how to use the keypad to tip, which differs from the American method of writing it. Useful thing to know in Canada, I suppose.
After dinner, we picked up some breakfast food and took our time strolling down the street. After a long day of traveling, we didn’t feel like hitting the night life of Montreal, so we settled in for an after-dinner movie and a few glasses of wine. What movie? Well, since neither of us had seen it yet, we picked out the Academy Award-winning Moonlight.