25.08.22 — Travel
Hello there, I’m back!
It’s been over a month since I last posted, but the reason is a valid one: I’ve been gallivanting around across the pond for an entire four weeks! This American adventure took me on a wild trip around Canada and the USA doing so much that I’m going to have to break my trip down into a series of what I assume will be about a dozen blog posts.
But enough with the intro, it’s time to strap in, because here goes the first one…
My journey began as I said goodbye to my two plants, saying a little prayer that the funky automatic watering device I’d put in them would keep them alive for a whole month. I headed down to the train station with my suitcase and backpack and jumped on a train to the airport, where my first couple of dramas occurred.
I was firstly interrogated by a guy in the check-in queue over how long I’d been in Spain. I panicked, thinking it was some kind of immigration issue, but it turns out that he just wanted to compliment my Spanish! The next close call came as I’d no idea what kind of batteries were in some of the stuff I’d packed in my suitcase, calling for the stereotypical rushed unpacking and repacking of my suitcase in front of the check-in desk to fish the little buggers out of there.
The rest of the journey then went without a hitch, with the added little surprise of lunch being included which even came with a glass of red wine – I’ve been flying Ryanair for many years and so I was pretty amazed that anything was included for free. The wine improved the rest of the journey no end, and I was soon in Canada for my first ever visit to the country.
Things got off to a rocky start as the arrival forms I’d prepared to enter Canada wouldn’t work, and then my flight’s suitcases took an eternity to show up in the baggage reclaim. I did manage to spot my new bright blue case as soon as it came down the slide, and so headed out in earnest to look for my guide for the first part of my American adventure: Megan!
The last time I’d seen Megan was when she visited Madrid back in 2019 along with Loredana and Heidi. The four of us met in Madrid, and I’d always said I’d go and see all three of them: I saw Heidi in 2018 and 2022, and Loredana just last year. Megan’s from Vermont in the US, so this was always going to be a slightly tricker one, but it was time to be reunited!
Megan met me in arrivals with a balloon which said “congratulations” in French (apparently there were no welcome ones), and the two of us excitedly headed off to find her car and head into Montreal proper. We found our hotel, checked into our room, and got ready for our first night out checking out the city.
We wound up stumbling across a comedy festival hosted by Just For Laughs, the Canadian prank show that I used to watch as a child – I never thought I’d come across them again! We watched on in amusement as street performers made their way up and down the street whilst we searched for somewhere to grab a drink. Once sat down, the show continued on as we tried a local beer and watched the parade of comedians go past.
We’d decided that while we were in Canada we wanted to eat some poutine, and so ordered some only to be told that the kitchen was closed due to the fire system malfunctioning and dumping foam all over everything. We thus headed across the road and to another terrace, where we were served a hearty portion of the gravy and cheese curd-covered chips.
After our very Canadian meal we headed back to the previous bar, enjoying one last half-pint and chatting to the waiter before heading back to the hotel for a relatively early night – I was pretty exhausted after the day of travels!
I had a pretty rough night’s sleep thanks to the jet lag, but the early morning meant that me and Megan could squeeze in some activities before breakfast. We’d wanted to go check out a vantage point atop a hill near the hotel, but the drive up their turned out to be in vain as the road was closed off. The two guys manning the blockade suggested we walk up, a suggestion to which me and Megan laughed in unison.
We retreated back to the hotel to make the most of the free breakfast, after which we hopped back in the car and drove down into the Old Port, one of the oldest areas of the city. We had a wander around as the clouds rolled in, stopping by at a café along the way to grab a chocolate croissant after Megan spotted that an underground bakery had some really good looking ones on offer.
At this same café we grabbed some bread that had full olives baked into it, resolving to eat it as we headed back out on the road later on. We took some photos around the area, wandered down to the water, and then grabbed the car back to the hotel to pack and check out.
Once back in the car, we began our journey out of Montreal and out of Canada itself: it was time to cross the border over into the US. We waved goodbye to the city that I’d been in for less than 24 hours and headed south to a remote border crossing point that Megan had decided would be less crazily busy than the main one.
It was a lovely drive, passing through small Canadian towns and past some beautiful natural scenery before arriving at the backroad border crossing, which consisted of a little white hut and a cone in the road. Despite its benign appearance, I wound up stuck there for a while whilst I got asked a lot of questions and had my details taken.
I was very relieved to eventually be released and reunited with Megan, now in the US! The rest of the journey saw us power on through a bunch of small American towns, where the Canadian red and white tricolour had been swapped out for the Stars and Stripes.
But that’ll have to be all for now: stay tuned for my next blog post, where I’ll delve into the first destination on my American adventure!