This year alone, I have gone to Montreal 3 (or 4?) times to date. Most of them were long weekend short trips, as I have another work commitment, and I like to divide my (meager Canadian) annual vacation days between Indonesia (where my parents and best friends live) and Europe (where I 'grew up', had some of the best 4 years of my life, and made friends to life with a few) - or other destinations like Japan (where I have a Japanese sister from the student exchange program, and also simply because I grew up with Japanese manga and I love a lot of things about the country!) or Scandinavia (I have a soft spot for the Vikings, truth be told).
Having lived in 3 different continents and dozens of cities around the world, I often get puzzled look when I ask back 'What do you mean where I come from? Did you mean where I was born? Where I went to school? Where I currently live? What my passport/nationality is? Or did you mean where I just moved from?' Because the answer to each question is a different city/country (prior to living in Calgary, I lived in 2 different places in Quebec within 3 years I was there, and before that, I had lived in 3 different cities in Ontario within the 5 years I had lived there). At the citizenship ceremony in Montreal years ago, the judge told us that from that moment on, whenever someone asked where we came from, we were to answer 'Canada'. But what if someone in Canada asks me? Like the saying goes, home is where the heart is, my answer is Montreal. My heart and soul long for Montreal. Yes, the government sucks (which government does not? Maybe the Danish/Norwegian ones...), yes they have lots of potholes, yes they have ignorant folks (they exist virtually everywhere, people.... even in your own little corner of the city). But like Lara Fabian's song 'Je Me Souviens' (which, by the way, are the words shown on Quebec vehicle plates), not only do I love their lively and art-filled-free-festivals cities, but I also love all the vibes and culture. My fondest Christmas memory is with a Quebecois family, in the countryside, when it snowed outside and inside was filled with joy, laughter, tourtiere, and... rigodon :D
I thought I had left a huge chunk of my heart in Switzerland when I left it in 2004 (I cried like there was no tomorrow, and it crossed my mind to superglue myself to the pavement in Caux/Montreux), but apparently my heart belongs to Montreal now. As soon as the plane lands and I start driving in Dorval, my heart is all content.
These are few photos from my April, July, and August (very) short trips to Montreal. Please excuse the quality; most of these were taken with iPhone. One of my biggest regrets is that I had brought my (heavy) DSLR to Lara Fabian's (free) concert, with the telephoto lens, and then I forgot the camera's battery! So unfortunately I had to resort to iPhone. To see Lara Fabian live was one (huge) bucket list ticked off; so worth the thousands of dollars on the trip costs.
St. Benedict's Abbey in Eastern Township, Quebec. Founded in 1912, and there are still monks living there. Click here to go to their website.
Some photos from Manoir Hovey, a gem in the Eastern Township.
... and back to Montreal!
My friend, Finel, found me this corner (below) that was used in Le Chateau's video clip that I am really fond of.
At Lara Fabian's concert at Place Emilie Hamelin.
Free classical concerts all day long at the mall Place Desjardins.
Tango night at this gorgeous little theatre Rialto.
Foresta Lumina in Coaticook, a multimedia trail.
Near Coaticook, the lavender field at Bleu Lavande. Too bad they had harvested most of the lavender when I was there. You can have a massage in a hut in front of the lavender field.
My other posts on Montreal: