Monday, 1 October 2012

Hey, remember how I went to Montreal?

...and then never blogged about it?  Well, wait no longer - the blog you've been waiting for is here!

So I went to Montreal for a quick girls weekend to celebrate my friend Jenn's birthday.  We took the train there on Friday and came back on Sunday, so it was a pretty compact trip, but we fit in a lot of awesome stuff and somehow managed to have the most perfect vacation ever.  The weather was perfect, we all got along perfectly, our hotel was perfect, our location was perfect, meals were perfect - we really couldn't have asked for anything better.

So we took the train there, which was definitely the way to go.  No muss, no fuss.  We had a lovely relaxing ride there and didn't have to worry about parking or driving in Montreal (which seemed crazy).  We also completely lucked out with having out hotel be at an awesome location - right at the corner of Sherbrooke and St. Laurent - so we were able to walk the whole weekend, only taking a cab to and from the train station.

When we got to our super swank hotel (the Opus at Montreal) our room wasn't ready yet, so we headed down the street for the first order of business - poutine.


Followed swiftly by some booze shopping at the gas station across from our hotel.

Oh, and our hotel?

Yeah.  Swank.


Isn't it beautiful?  It was so awesome and boutique-y and classy, and the service was amazing.  Seriously, I don't think that concierge ever left the building - she was so super helpful.

And the room?  A little glass-walled shower action...



Amazing cozy beds...


Gigantic mirrors - definitely a must for 3 ladies in one room.


And a view overlooking the hotel's club - that's it under that canopy.


And the industrial unfinished concrete ceilings?  I die.


So after a little resting up in our awesome hotel room (where I watched the Adam West Batman movie and could have stayed in all night just doing that) and a little pre-drinking, it was time to put the pretty on to head out for dinner and our evening's events.

We decided to stick close and do dinner at Koko, the hotel restaurant/club.  Fridays are pretty dead, so had no problem getting a table and had a super-delicious dinner.

I had a lobster tail, and all our meals came with a weird kind of beef jerky bacon strip thing.  Sounds weird, but it was yummy.



Pretty ladies!


The restaurant/club was also super classy and fancy - and see that that horse in the corner?  We named him Gene, he makes another appearance later.





The weirdest part about the restaurant?  It had this funny bathroom - see those black doors in the background?  There was a male and female door, and it just had a single stall bathroom, then the sinks were out in the open.  Very bizarre.


After some posing in front of the restaurant (as you do)...




 We walked down to our real destination of the evening - Club 281.


Seems a little unassuming, right?  Don't be fooled - this is Magic Mike land.  And that seems to be me in the lower right corner charging towards the entrance.

So the deal with the 281 was simple - no touching, no pictures.  They were very, very clear on the pictures thing.  You couldn't even take out your cellphone in there, which was a shame because we were all too drunk to be able to remember all of the intricate details of the evening.  So naturally I started taking notes on a coaster to be deciphered later.


Basically, it was a riot.  It was a perfect atmosphere for women - no one approached you for anything, the drinks weren't super expensive, there were a lot of props used and it was just all around hilarious and awesome.

Our plan for the evening was supposed to be to go back to the hotel and go out to the club there for the evening.  But it was pretty dead there, and we were pretty dead, so it was early to bed for us.

The next morning was the start of our "Big Day".  Saturday was our only full day in Montreal, so we intended to make the most of it.  Of course, we got a late start, but we ended up walking to the legendary Schwartz's for lunch.



 And holy crap - was it ever worth it.  The sandwiches were amazing.  We got ours to go and then parked it out on a bench to enjoy our smoked meat and pickles.

I don't know why they even bother putting bread on these things, because by the end we were all literally scooping handfuls of meat into our mouths.



And the pickles?  Good lord.  These pickles made you blush.


After our smoked meat heaven, we checked out a few vintage clothes shops - apparently Montreal is hipster-haven, because they were everywhere.

Our plan was to keep walking and head down to Old Montreal to explore for the day, but since we were going to be walking right by our hotel, we stopped in for a quick freshening-up/midday alcohol.

Then we were off and walking - and continued to walk through Old Montreal for the whole afternoon.

Of course I took pictures of the most random things.

French Homer Simpson signs?  Love.


Amazing vintage French strip club sign?  Love.


Nerding out over the Quebec Court of Appeal?  Love.


The architecture was awesome - every building was so amazing and unique and just spectacular.




Dreadlocked and kilted street performers...



It was so nice to be able to walk right down to the waterfront.



















After allllll our walking, it was back up to the hotel to relax and get ready for our Saturday night out.  We tried to figure out a restaurant that was close and what we were looking for, but we ended up just stumbling out to the first restaurant we could find, that just happened to be across from the hotel.


Factory Bar-Resto was awesome - totally what we needed.  Something light and quick.  It was so good that we didn't even have a chance to take pictures of our food, but here's the aftermath of our awesome cold cut plate (which sounds boring, but was actually unbelievable) and salad and wings.


 Then it was time to wander down to the Metropolis to pick up our comped tickets to see The Cult.  Jenn's cousin's band was opening for them, so we ended up checking out the show.  Totally amazing way to close out the trip!


The show was awesome and the venue was really great - very similar to the Opera House in Toronto.

Of course by this time there had been a lot of drinking - did I mention that Factory had a martini special that night?  So I was doing a lot of this...



The plan after the concert was supposed to be to go check out a fancy club that had multiple levels, but by the time the show was over, we were ready for bed.  An entire day of walking and drinking had done us in, and we were all in bed eating poutine by midnight.  

Sunday morning was getting packed up and ready to catch our 11:50 a.m. train.  Of course we had to have some yummy breakfast before we left...


Mmm, smoked salmon bagel.

Then it was a quick cab ride to the train station and we were on our way home.

It was a great trip, with great Jenns (yes, there were three of us, and I was the only one not named Jenn).  I learned a lot - like you should always pack more cardigans, holding cameras at high angles is very important,  and apparently people in Montreal leave clothes on bus benches for some odd reason.



Yay for girls weekends!  Have you ever been to Montreal?  I would go back in a heartbeat - maybe it should be an annual girls trip?






No comments: