in, but not of, Montréal

Schwartz's deli
(photo above links to gallery images)

We’re just back, and we had the best time. We basically lived out of a copy of Fodor’s that Caroline lent us.

I was immediately taken by Montréal’s subway system. Not merely do they run on rubber tyres (fast acceleration!) and have cool station names (c’mon, wouldn’t you rather travel from Côte-Vertu to Henri-Bourassa than from Kipling to Kennedy?), but the power electronics in the trains “play” the first three notes of Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s version of Fanfare for the Common Man. Which, if my memory’s mot completely gone, had something to do with the Montréal 1976 Olympic stadium.

We stayed at the Lord Berri Hotel, which is pretty much downtown. We were most taken with the food. Schwartz’s Deli does the best smoked meat ever (it’s worth the wait), while St-Viateur Bagel really does whup the oversized, overrated New York bagel.

(St-Viateur was the only problem we had with Fodor’s. They said that the St-Viateur Bagel & Café was at 1127, avenue du Mont-Royal Ouest, while in reality it’s at 1127, avenue du Mont-Royal Est. Our STM 3 day tourist passes, and a passing Mont Royal bus, saved the day.)

The city reminded me of Edinburgh, minus the unpleasant smell. We’ll definitely be back many times.

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