Travel Photography: Montreal
The first solo international trip that Eli and I went on was to Montreal. It was just a skip from Chicago and in the middle of winter it was cheap enough for us to afford in our early twenties. Even the cold couldn't dent our enthusiasm. At the time, we weren’t old enough to rent a car without a steep additional fee so we literally walked all over the city. For years we would reflect back on that trip with delirious sentiment. It was the best. We had the greatest time. Everyone should go to Montreal!
This summer we finally made it back out to Montreal. We were able to rent a car this time around and didn’t have to pack our heavy duty winter socks.
There’s so much to love about Montreal. It feels slightly foreign. Most people start off conversations in French. Yet it’s so easy to navigate and generally welcoming. As soon as people realize your French is limited to Bonjour they quickly switch into English.
I’ve had more memorable meals in Montreal than anywhere else. There was the time Eli and I took the latest possible reservation at Joe Beef, had a ridiculously good meal and then experienced a karaoke level sing along to Tupac’s California Love. Or the time that we finally made it over to the poutine place everyone insisted we try only to discover that it was cash only. This time around we also had a number of mishaps and insanely good meals, most notably at La Cabane d’à côté.
With our bumbling youth behind us, we felt very pleased with ourselves to have made reservations properly ahead of time. I emailed with the restaurant to come by on that Saturday for photos and we made sure to rent a car for the drive out. Of course when we arrived the chef I was supposed to photograph wasn’t actually working that day. Scheduling miscommunication happen and I’ve found it’s just best to go with the flow unless the images are for a very specific purpose. The staff suggested we go through the woods to go see the pigs, so off we went.
We took a wrong turn, walked past an apiary and struggled to keep our cool as bees zipped around our heads but we eventually made it over to the pigs and it was very much worth the effort. Eating meat these days can feel so sanitized. I spent the first few years of my life on a farm and realize on some level that every slice of bacon I eat is from a pig but it’s easy to ignore.
Our scheduling snaffus weren’t over yet. It turned out that Eli and I had gotten our days entirely mixed up and actually had a reservation for Sunday not Saturday. It’s not a long drive out to La Cabane d’à côté and we volunteered to come back the next day but were also thrilled when the restaurant was able to seat us outside. It was one of the most wonderful meals we’ve had this year.
In the end, we realized that it’s hard to recreate the delirious enthusiasm that you experience during a first visit. We still love Montreal and still think that everyone should visit. It is a perfect weekend trip from New York City or Chicago. For now we’re going to focus on seeing new places.