Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Street Art of Montreal

I could do a whole blog series on why I love Montreal: the food (namely poutine and smoked meat); the annual Jazz Fest; the Tam Tams; the intersection of French and English; the different neighborhoods; the fact that you can buy booze in gas stations…it’s all amazing!

But one of the things I love most – and what I think makes the city so interesting and unique – is the abundance of street art.

Here’s a snippet of what I saw while I was wandering the streets of Montreal. (I also find it refreshing to do a blog post that focuses on images, rather than words, every once in a while.)

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Cycle Montmorency Falls, Quebec


Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.  ~John F. Kennedy

The one somewhat touristy thing I did while in Quebec City was go on a bike ride to Montmorency Falls. (Pronounced mawn-maw-rahn-see in Quebec, not mont-more-en-see like I first said it. Aussies really do butcher the French language!)

It’s a leisurely 10km ride to the Falls following a bike path that extends all the way from downtown Quebec. The absence of hills is an added perk! Bike hire is available from Cyclo Services.

Once at the Falls, there are multiple viewing points.

1) Bottom

2) Mid-way (involves a thigh-burning climb up a rather precarious-looking set of stairs)

Sketchy staircase

3) Over the top (a suspension bridge runs all the way across)

There’s a park at the top of the Falls where you can have a picnic lunch and a nap.

While it’s no Niagara or Iguazu, it’s still a pretty impressive waterfall. Combined with the ride, it makes for a fun day trip if you’re looking to get out of the city.


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Know When To Go Slow

By the time I reached Quebec City I’d been on the road over a month and a half, visited five provinces and, aside from two weeks working on a farm, had been in a different place every two days or so. I was exhausted and had burnt through a significant chunk of my travel fund. (I know, I know, first world problems!)

I was ready to do nothing for a while. And the fact that Quebec was in the throws of a heat wave just fueled my conviction.

So I walked around, drank coffee, read books, bummed around at the pool (free entry, yeah!) went to street festivals…and generally had a great time!

But after a few days of this, “traveler’s guilt” started to set in. I felt like I should be doing more, seeing more, meeting more people.

I decided discuss this internal conflict with my hostel roommate, Zoe, as she was doing even less than me but seemed completely unperturbed.

This is what she said to me:

The best way to enjoy a city is to just soak up the atmosphere – notice how the air is different, discover what makes the city tick, get a sense of what everyday people do. Relax and take your time to get to know the city. 

This is probably one of the best pieces of travel advice anyone has ever given to me. It reminded me that traveling is about observing, feeling and learning and this can only happen when you do things slowly and reflect on your experiences.

Thanks Zoe!

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