When I left Montreal today, I was ready to go home to Cincinnati. It's not because I do not like Montreal because it's such a beautiful city. But, I never felt at home here. Maybe because I knew it was a solo vacation and I felt like a stranger in a sea of French-speaking Québécois.
Food & Sights
The trip was mostly driven by food. I would look for places to eat and hope that there's some touristy stuff do there. I think the only place that I really went out of the way was the Olympic Park where there's really nothing much to do but see a sliver of history. Two of the places were the gems of this food trip. The first was Le Robin Square, and the other was L'Avenue. Thank you Yelp for the recommendations! I also tried poutine in Poutineville but my low expectations held true. Potato dishes are not my thing. On my birthday, I almost panicked because my planned Italian place Amarone was closed for business. Boo Yelp! I tried 2 other places but they were either closed or too busy. Good thing I found one near my hostel in the Gay Village and I had linguine for dinner.
What I like about Montreal is that there are just really a few places to go to so the amount of time I spent in the city is just right. On Thursday, I walked a bit in downtown and Notre Dame until I settled at Le Robin Square. On Friday, I walked to L'Avenue for a brunch lunch. Then, I walked to Mount Royal and to the Museum of Fine Arts. I walked around downtown until I reached UQAM area for my pasta search but ended up deeper in the Gay Village. On Saturday, I had my poutine and then rode the metro to the Olympic Park area and then returned to Old Montreal. I just went out Friday and Saturday night in the Village. Friday was to check out Sky Dance Club and Saturday was just walking around St. Catherine with all the street performers! It was such a treat.
It's my first time to stay at a hostel. Alexandrie was one of the more economical options I had in the Village. I procrastinated booking my place so I ended up here. It's not that terrible because I booked a private room where I share a bathroom. The good news is that the folks in the other room left Friday morning, and the next person in the room arrived Saturday night. So I had the place pretty much myself. My days were pretty packed so I did not really mingle much with the other hostel travelers. Would I book another stay in a hostel? If I can find a slightly more expensive hotel option, I'd go for the hotel. I'd pay extra for the comfort and security and do a proper vacation. But, it's not something I will say no to if I'm with group of friends. I think it's more fun with other people.
I have always had mixed feelings about traveling solo. I love the flexibility and being able to just control my schedule on my own, but it can also be very lonely because you cannot share the experience, or talk to someone. I'm introversion is such a pain at times because I just put on my earphones and walk around the city. I was averaging 22K steps a day so I did a ton of walking. Maybe next time, I will travel with someone.
Mental note: ask around who wants to travel with when planning vacations.