Before the year ended, we got the chance to visit for the first time, Canada. We have been planning this since day 1 here in the US as we got a friend and her family who immigrated to Montreal the same year as we moved to New York from the Philippines. We spent the 4 days in their home and spent one night in Quebec City which was a very surreal experience.
The flight to Montreal (YUL) from New York (LGA) was just less than 2 hours. We booked a round trip ticket with American Airlines for $680 (2 adults 1 child). Note that we booked this fight 2 weeks ahead which made me think it would have been cheaper if we booked it a few months before. The flight was hassle free and no delays. How ironic is it that flying to Montreal was much faster than flying to Las Vegas or Florida. lol
At the Montreal- Trudeau International Airport. As tourists, we need to have that obligatory selfie :)))
Coming out of the plane, we were there greeted by signs like “sortie” “bonjour”- there were French signages scattered all over the airport. 80% of Quebec’s population is predominantly French speaking and 90% of them speak the language on a day to day basis. That’s why when you are in Quebec, either Montreal or Quebec City, when a local approaches you and says “bonjour”, if you are a tourist like us who cannot converse in French, better respond “hello” or “hi” than saying “bonjour” to the person since he/she might think you are a local who can converse fluently using the language and will put you in awkward situations. Trust me, been there. lol
The YUL airport was quiet and serene, so much different from the loud airports of LGA and JFK in New York.
Day1: Montreal, Quebec
Montreal is a buzzling city in Canada and the second most populous. The streets are lined with shops, tall commercial buildings and apartment buildings. At the residential area, you can see houses mostly made of stones. Their public transport is the Montreal Metro-an intricate system of underground trains (subway) which we noticed is more quiet than our beloved New York’s subway cars. Passengers of the Metro also come and go and I’ve read that they have the 2nd most ridership per capita behind New York City.
Their trains got tires 🙂
Oh and just a heads up, when they do announcements in the train, they say it in French which can be a challenge if you are a tourist trying to decipher why your train is not moving :)))
Our first stop is lunch at a restaurant near our friend’s house (still waiting for her response as to what it is called).
Then we went to St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal– Canada’s largest church. And yes it is very large. It’s our first time seeing a church with escalators and elevators!
We then went to Old Montreal- a historic neighborhood in Montreal which housed stone buildings built as early as the 17th century. It’s housed with a plethora of shops and restaurants. We love just walking around its cobblestone streets and admiring the well preserved stone buildings.
One of the must try in Montreal is the Beavertails- fried dough pastries topped with a variety of flavors and condiments. And it;s actually good!
Day 2: Old Quebec in Quebec City
This is one place I would be definitely going back. Two hours away from Montreal, Old Quebec (Vieux Quebec) is a walled city and has been a popular tourist attraction due to its very rich history and well preserved colonial architecture for over 400 years. We reached there at night and greeted by the town’s old Christmas vibe. It was also freezing hence we are so bundled up.
Despite the freezing weather, there are many people like us strolling along the streets of Old Quebec, the town has a very unique charm, it’s a place you want to go back again. Old Quebec is like a movie scene in Christmas 🙂
We had dinner in Quebec City’s oldest restaurant- Cafe Buade
We stayed overnight at the Delta Hotel by Marriott since its just a walking distance from the old town. There are hotels inside the walled city but it gets sold out fast and the ones left are a bit pricey. Maybe next time we come here, will be staying right at the heart of Old Quebec during Summer or Spring where the cold won’t bother us. lol
The morning after, we came back to the old town to grab some breakfast at McDonald’s and do sight seeing inside the car.
We also made a stop at the Montmorency Falls.
And at the Ste. Anne de Beaupre- a Roman Catholic basilica that attracts pilgrims every year in a nearby town.
If America runs on Dunkin, Canada run on Tim Horton’s :)))
3rd Day: Ottawa, Canada.
2 hours away from Montreal is Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. It is where the Parliament of Canada, its government offices including the Office of the Prime Minister.
Our flight was the next day and we were not able to catch our plane due to the long line in TSA and immigration, we got lucky since American Airlines was able to book us to the next flight without charge. One lesson learned, it is an international flight so one has to be in the airport 2- 3 hrs before the flight. But we will be coming back, this time on a summer.
Thank you Aika and Jeff for welcoming us into you home. Sunod na pud (til next time) :)))