"Shoe & Beer Weekend Adventure in Montreal" Province of Quebec Travelogue by bkathryn
Province of Quebec Travel Guide: 6,593 reviews and 14,837 photos
This past weekend (March 24-5, 2012) several friends and I headed to Montreal. My main purpose was to go to the Fluevog store and use my birthday present gift certificate I received in October 2011. I got some assistance from another friend who works for the Fairmont hotel chain and we got a great rate on 3 rooms at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. I also managed to convince other friends to come who are interested in excuses to drink flavourful beers.
So we met up with the friends who were giving us a lift (no point paying to park more cars than necessary) and headed to Montreal on Saturday morning (March 24). Our plan was to meet at Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen (3895, Boul. St-Laurent) for lunch. Well, we made it to Schwartz's and found one friend standing in the rather long line-up outside the deli. We joined him and discussed whether we wanted to wait the full time, whether we would go to a different restaurant, whether we would just get take-away. Since other friends were still meeting us, we stayed in line until they arrived. Eventually, we decided to abandon the Schwartz's line-up and head across the St-Laurent to The Main (3864, Boul. Saint-Laurent), into which we walked and were immediately seated. We all had smoked meat (of course) and some of us had "cherry coke" and then had a good base for some later activities.
After reclaiming the vehicles, we met again at the Queen Elizabeth, where we would spend the night. I checked my husband and I in, while the drivers tracked down the appropriate parking location. I also took our bag to the room got ensured I had everything I needed for shoe shopping and returned to the lobby. Eventually the others arrived, sorted out their rooms and we met in the lobby again.
By that time, it was almost 4 pm. Where did the day go? Fluevog was going to be open for only another hour. My husband nabbed a taxi and shuffled my shoe shopping friend and me into it. We asked to go to John Fluevog Shoes at 3857 Rue St. Denis. It didn't take too long and then, there we were. We went in and I gave the store a one-over. Then I looked around again, picking up possibilities to try on. I had three options on my first go. One did not fit and they had no other sizes. One was nice but too small and my assistant found me a bigger one, which of course was too big and they did not have the half size down (though the Toronto store did). My assistant had already found a better size for the third shoe I had picked, so when I tried it, on, it was perfect (shades of Goldilocks...). I walked around it it and I looked in several mirrors and I asked my friend. They all said, "YES!" So I headed to the cash.
After buying my goodies, I had to get them into a state for carrying around Montreal for the rest of the evening. Armed with my backpack, a map of Montreal, and the address of the pub our friends were at, we headed off to find them. We first considered a taxi. However, there didn't seem to be a lot of those running along St-Denis. We did have a map telling us approximately where to find the Metro, so we opted for that. After a bit of walking around, we found the metro and made our way down to buy 1-day passes ($8). Then, after figuring out with way we wanted to go to find our destination, we attempted to head to the train. After a couple of failed attempts to get through the turn-stile, we watched a bunch of others folks who were obviously more familiar with the system. Then we tried again. Success! We were on our way. Partway through our journey, we had to get off the metro and change lines. (by this time it was pretty familiar). We got off at the right stop and then looked around. No clues. So we pulled out the map again. Fortuneately, a helpful cyclist stopped to ask if we needed help. We mentioned where we were trying to go and she suggested the name sounded familiar and she thought it might be just up the hill from where we were. We thanked her and headed off up the hill. At the top of the hill, it was just across the street! Success again! In we went to Benelux brasserie artisanale et cafe (245 Sherbrooke ouest) to show off my shoes and get a beverage.
After we'd had a few beverages at Benelux, the idea of food/dinner came up. We also had plans to hit another pub later, but thought it best to have at least something to eat. So after some hemming and hawing, off we went to the metro and found our way to the Bar-B Barn (1201 Guy St.). Funny now that I think about it, a few of the people with us were born the same year as the Bar-B Barn - 1967. The restaurant seemed a bit of a step back in time! Their ribs and chicken were pretty good, too.
We waddled out of the restaurant and returned to the metro station from whence we had come. Then we found a way to Dieu du Ciel! (29, av Laurier Ouest), a brewpub back near where my shoe store visit had been earlier in the day. By the time we got there (9:30 ish?) it was pretty busy. Not a chair or table to be had. However, we hung around, looked around, some of us considerred what to do. When, suddenly, a full table of people were getting up and leaving! We "ran towards" the table and claimed it for our own. That was lucky - while I'd have been happy to go back to the hotel and go to sleep, I was also happy to have a bit of a sit-down before walking back to the metro! So once we had seats, we could order beer. I enjoyed what I had.
So we sat around and chatted, or tried to - the music was kind of loud. Eventually, it was time to get out and find our way back to home for the night. So back to the metro station we walked. It was nice to just be able to sit down and not have to change lines this time. Finally, we arrived at the central Bonaventure station, where we exited and eventually found our way back to the hotel. We made some plans to meet the next morning (later that morning?) at 9 to look for breakfast
Well, I'm not sure it was the best sleep I've ever had, but it was nice to stop walking and carrying my backpack all over Montreal.
Ultimately, it was time to get up about 8:30, get dressed, try to wipe the cob-webs out of my head, and go down to meet folks in the lobby. After a somewhat confused morning, we left our stuff in the rooms and headed out of the hotel to find breakfast. It was drizzling a little bit, but after the were warm hotel room all night, that felt quite nice. We didn't have to go too far to find a restaurant were we noticed people eating breakfast-like food (eggs), so in we headed.
It turned out to be Boccacinos, which had a very good breakfast at a very favourable price. And great coffee! So we had our breakfast and re-hashed some of what we had done the day before. Eventually, we decided it was just time to go, though some of us would stop at the Beau's brewery in Van Kleek Hill, on the way home. We did just that and got back to our drivers' place about 1 pm. We hopped in our car and headed home.
I've kind of missed road trips! We had fun.
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