Day 10 – Montpelier to Montreal

Today we are crossing the border into Canada at the Highgate Springs / St Armand crossing, passing a town called St Albans along the way. We tried to get an early start but eventually only got away just after eight – though that is quite an early start for us! We’re getting quite efficient at packing up quickly and the system for what goes where is now firmly in place. We’ve also bought a cooler to keep some ham, cheese, tomatoes and fruit so we can make our own sandwiches as you can only eat out so much before you get a bit fed up with it!
The trip up to the border crossing was beautiful and green all the way, but once you cross the border the landscape changes completely and it is all farmlands on the way to Montreal. There was an issue with our hotel booking that turned out to be a glitch in the Hotels.com system, which meant that while I meant to book a Days Inn hotel in the centre of Montreal, once the confirmation came through it was actually for the Days Inn near the airport. We made our way to the one at the airport to see if they would change our booking, and the check-in agent told me that I wasn’t the first person this has happened to so they were happy to cancel our booking free of charge, and we managed to nab a room in the Days Inn in downtown Montreal. The drive to the city centre was quick and fairly easy, using my trusted phone and Google Maps as Satnav Sam doesn’t work in Canada.
Arriving at the hotel we had to find parking for the car, which turned out to be a bit of a palaver but eventually we found some overnight parking and set out walking for the afternoon. Montreal is really lovely with lots to see and plenty of bars and restaurants in certain areas. It was also a lovely sunny day though not ridiculously warm so it was really good walking around – though I would say we probably overdid it again. Three and a half hours of solid walking, without any breaks, took us round most of the city (or the bits you can cover in a day anyway) and left us rather knackered again. I had to find poutine for dinner of course, while Brian had a burger and some very expensive beer. The poutine was ok, but I probably should have found a more authentic place to have it at, rather than in the touristy area. We had another early night so we could get an early start for the trip to Toronto.
Things I learned today: Montreal is VERY French and it really didn’t feel like being in North America; everybody was speaking French and I kept forgetting that they aren’t really French and could actually understand English! Tip of the day: don’t talk about someone, assuming they don’t understand English – not that I would ever do that of course!

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