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Montreal

Let’s start with the facts… Montreal is in the province Quebec and is about a 6-hour drive from Toronto- you could say 5 and a half to make you feel better, but once you’ve stopped for food etc. it is definitely 6 hours. The first time Jamie and I visited, we drove there and back in one go and it wasn’t fun. The drive I mean, Montreal is fun! Now I say this while I’m currently sat on a megabus for the next 5 and half hours to Montreal lol at the moment, I feel fine but I’m only 1 hour in (I will keep you updated) and hey ho, you gotta do what you gotta do when its cheap!

So far, each time I have visited Montreal it has been very different. The first time, Jamie and I went with his parents, the weather was lovely which made our stay beautiful. The second time I visited with my mum and to put it frank… it was pissing it down! To the point where it really limited what we could do. This time, I am actually going with work and going to watch the new Cirque du Soleil show which I am super excited about… I have also checked the weather and, it’s not raining! Phew!

The province Quebec is predominately French speaking, I do find though that most people in Montreal can speak English and they are very friendly. This definitely gives the European effect and sometimes you forgot you’re in Canada- we literally felt like we were in Europe for the weekend lol! The old town is where I have tended to visit on my trips, it is along the waterfront, with cobbled streets, cute restaurants and little stores (there’s like a million gift shops for some reason lol).

When we visited with Jamie’s parents, we were there for 2 nights and stayed at Hotel Auberge Montréal Espace Confort which was a nice/standard hotel, everything that you needed and very simple. Peanut butter and jelly croissant in the morning and I’m happy. It was a little far from the old town, maybe a 20-minute walk- but still in an area with many restaurants.

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Jamie posing outside Hotel Auberge Montréal Espace Confort

On our first visit we did a lot of the tourist activities such as visiting the Basilique Notre Dame, which is stunning.

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DSCF3735It is $10 to get in so pretty cheap, but for me (maybe not others) it was very much, I came, I saw, I took a picture, lit a candle, used the washroom and I left. Jamie just went in to sit down. This means no disrespect, just something I am not overly interested in although it is a beautiful building.

We had dinner at a restaurant on Place Jacques-Cartier which is like a square with lots of restaurants, stores etc. There were also lots going on at the square, very lively and holiday like as well as a Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream shop that is right up my street; of course I had cookie dough!2016-08-01 22.11.36 - Version 2

When I visited with my mother, as mentioned we were unfortunate with the weather. We stayed at Hotel les Suites Labelle which is located near the ‘the Village’, which is very colourful and bright and conveniently located a tad closer to old Montreal (about a 10-minute walk). The hotel was again, standard- it had peanut butter, jelly croissant option for breakfast (yay!) and I will mention it had the BEST bed I have ever slept in in my life. It literally felt like it was hugging me. The only downside was it was down a side street which could seem a bit ropy.

Ps. Update on the bus, it’s not that bad! You just get a bit restless towards the end!

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‘The Village’

Now what do you do when it’s raining in Montreal I hear you ask?! Well, you go to a spa! Mum and I thought we’d take this opportunity to relax on the second day of our travels lol and went to Scandinave Spa. This place is very nice and relaxing. I have no pictures because you are not allowed to take any inside- but it has a pool which is super-hot (hotter than a normal pool) and the thing to do (apparently) is spend 15 minutes in the hot pool or area and then 15 seconds in an ice cold plunge pool, or shower. As you can imagine, we spent most of our time in the hot pool/areas and then an arm under the cold shower lol- we didn’t go in the cold plunge pool. No chance. You can also get treatments here at an extra price.

While travelling with work, we went to see Cirque du Soleil (Volta). The show was amazing and very different to the previous show that I saw (Luzia) as it is more sports focused. Volta is currently touring and I have just finished working with the show in Toronto, their next stop is Miami!!! Looking for them, leaving us behind in the cold to the sweet hot weather in Miami.

Cirque du Soleil was located on the waterfront, which also has lots of activities including a zip line, cute stores and food stands.DSCF4690

The hotel I stayed in this time, my gosh- was amazing! St Paul Hotel, located in Old Montreal- I wanted to live there lol! But it was super expensive, so if you do fancy treating yourself I recommend St Paul for sure!

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Just a quick 5 minutes down the road from St Paul is Le Cartet Resto where we went for breakfast… it was deliciousssssss- take a look for yourself!!!

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Going with my colleagues/friends from work, I got to experience Montreal a little differently as one of them had been many times before. Now if you want a lively evening then I definitely recommend going to Crescent street, there are lots of restaurants, bars and clubs in this area and for sure busy, even on a Wednesday night! We ate at Wienstein & Gavino’s which was super delicious (they have a Nutella cheesecake! YES!) and then went for drinks at Thursdays bar.

I also recommend going up the Mont Royal for a nice hike and to get a nice shot of the city, you can see everything from up there (45 minutes from old Montreal) and very beautiful.DSCF4743

I hope you have enjoyed my little story of visits to Montreal and start around for my next blog post 🙂 until next time…

Jollietravels xxx

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Niagara Falls!!!

The beautiful wonder of the world, that is, Niagara Falls!!! I will admit, it is truly stunning- but… I have seen this stunning wonder 3 times already and funnily enough I am going tomorrow too lol- my mum is visiting me and I haven’t seen her in 16 months!!!!!DSCF3360

First things first though, I’m not sure about you guys but I thought Niagara Falls was in Toronto, or at least near it… it is not! It’s in Niagara (who’d of thought?!), well I guess it’s not too too far away, it’s about a 2-and-a-half-hour drive, or about 3 hours on public transport (train and bus) or there is a bus trip you can buy from Toronto to Niagara Falls and Niagara on the lake (which I haven’t been too yet, but will be going tomorrow- so stay tuned). Niagara has many different aspects to it, you have the falls; which really do take your breath away. You have the strip of Niagara (Clifton Hill), which to be honest (don’t hate me) reminds me a little of Skegness (UK), I think it takes away from the natural aspect of the falls as it is a very built up and kid friendly. It has a little fair, every fast food restaurant (except McDonalds funnily enough), gift shops, treat shops, a Ripley’s Believe it or not, casinos and much more.

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The Strip

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Then you have ‘The Q’ which is Queen St in Niagara. It is a shame because The Q seems like it was the hustle n bustle once upon a time, but now you just see closed down businesses and hotels. You’re just waiting to see the tumbleweed roll across the road. It is very airy, but it’s kinda cool and calming.

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The Q is where Jamie and I got off the bus and walked from to the falls, it was so nice to see the cute little houses overlooking the lake, which is so sooooooo blue- it’s gorgeous!!! It’s also crazy to think that you are looking directly at the states. Some of the houses have the Canadian flag outside and then on the other side they have the American flag.

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Smaller falls before the Great Niagara Falls

As you get closer to the falls, you can certainly hear the roar of the water falling. It’s exciting, I will let you know though- the actual falls is the last one you see lol there are other falls as you are walking to it and Jamie and I kept getting excited like is this one it? But it wasn’t, and then when you see the actual Niagara Falls you are like ‘ahhh that’s it!!!’.

Now there are different ways you can see the falls, obviously from the side walk, by boat (Maid of the Mist), behind the falls and there is a zip line you can do in front of the falls (which Mum and I will be doing tomorrow). All the others I have done already- so I thought I would share my array of photos with you so you can see the view from each. I will also link all of them, so if you are stopping by Niagara Falls, you know where to go! 😉

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On Maid of the Mist
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Behind the Falls
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Top of the Falls

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures… I feel this post is more pictures than words but it’s something you have to see for your own eyes- the Niagara Falls talks for itself and its truly stunning! See you in my next one.

Jollietravels xxx