I’m on my way to work, it’s 5.30am and my legs are already part numb. The 20 minute walk at this time of the morning in Montreal is not an easy one. It’s -11 Celsius out here, I can’t feel my nose anymore, perhaps that salty taste in my mouth is nasal juice trickling in? I have no way to even tell, everything is numb on my face – the only exposed part of my body. Brutal as it may seem, its just a casual part of daily life here. I am lucky today, that the path is not covered in ice as is has been this past week, adding an extra danger to the journey. The crampons I bought for my shoes are a life saver for these particular conditions. My inner Australian is laughing at this situation I am in, never had I ever imagined..
I have spent the past two and a half months here in Montreal, working and trying to save some money for the next part of our Van adventure. I have been working in a small little artisan cafe in the downtown area as well as a famous poutine restaurant which has been around since the 60’s. For those of you who aren’t quite familiar with poutine – let me indulge your senses. Picture a plate full of fries, sprinkled with cheese curds and smothered in gravy- this my friends, is Canada’s national dish. A hero in the French speaking region of Quebec. Working at such a well renowned poutine restaurant has been a eye opening experience. We push out 3 tonne of potatoes into the mouths of the customers each day. The establishment is open 24 hours, perfect for those drunken 3am calls for food. Its noticeable as I enter the restaurant at 6am, welcomed by a line of taxis waiting out the front. You can add anything to your poutine here, from hot peppers to Montreal smoked meat and my personal favourite – goats cheese.
But Montreal hasn’t been just about work, there have been some incredible friends met here as well as those who have visited us, together we have experienced the many famous clubs and restaurants around town, the local food markets and nearby Quebec villages. The French influence on Montreal brings incredible architecture which sometimes tricks you to believe you are somewhere in Europe. The dominating French language also adding to the facade. All Montrealer’s speak of the summer here, the city turns into one giant festival as the months roll on, the sun is out and the days are long. Free festivals, food festivals, music festivals and arts festivals take over the city. I only wish I could stay for the experience. Its hard to imagine as I walk past the ten street plough machines each day after snowfall.
But the future calls for new adventures – that of another road trip – 5000km across Canada and back to Vancouver. We leave Montreal on Monday, hoping to see the nature and raw beauty of this country as the snow melts and spring rolls in. Our noble van has undergone some maintenance here and received a fresh new Quebecois number plate. We are ready to hit the road again and call the van home once more. Yippee.