After having lived abroad for 3 years in Europe, we made the decision to moved back to our Canadian home city, where we’ve remained for the past 8 months. And to be honest, that decision was regretted every single day since for the first half a year of our return. It’s only recently started to sink in that perhaps it was in fact for the best, and the move back happened for a reason. But boy did we miss our European way of life.
We especially missed the ability to travel to a different country on a whim, and on the cheap. We’d go to Italy for the weekend, to London for a few days, to Germany as an overnight layover, and it never got old. There was always a new country to see, a different city to explore. Whenever restlessness (read: unhappiness) in our foreign home struck, we’d simply book a last minute trip and away we’d go, coming back re-energized and in love with our lives once again.
Fast forward to moving back to Canada, our travel options have become rather limited. No longer were we able to hop on an hour plane ride out of the country, we had to make what we already knew (i.e nothing ‘new’) work.
Montreal popped up as an option, a city I had been to many times, but none more recent than 8 years ago. We booked a stay right in Old Montreal, and a short flight later we found ourselves strolling through cobblestone streets gazing up at stone carved facades and feeling as if we had been transported right back to Europe. It felt foreign (that ‘newness’ factor we craved), yet strangely familiar. We felt home.
It was everything from the voices around us speaking in non-English tongue, to the way the vegetables were displayed at the produce market (seriously, have you ever seen the way they do it Paris?!). From the charming shops to the cool factor that hung in the air surrounding the locals going about their day, but doing it their way. It was so European, in it’s own right. It is European old world charm meets modern North American metropolis.
Eating, for example, is something that is not taken lightly in Montreal. Literally. We dined on some of the richest foods we have ever eaten in our lives, from buttery foie gras to umami truffle, delicious crisp wines and deeply flavourful cheeses, we didn’t hold back (more on the best eating experiences later). On top of the rich cuisine, the way a dinner is enjoyed reminded us the way it is in Europe: as an event. Multiple courses, bottles shared amongst friends (or just between two), and with nowhere else to be, so without rushing. It was the perfect taste of our previous European way of life, yet bridging the gap between what we thought was our “old life long gone” and our current situation. It reminded us that Canada is pretty cool too, if we just take the time to enjoy it for what it is.
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