The Grit and Grace of Montreal

old port of montreal

Mr. H at Old Port of Montreal

If Brooklyn and Paris mated, their love child would be Montreal.

Grit and grace. Hard asses and romantics. The ones that won’t look you in the eye and the others who stare right at your ass.

This paradoxical city is emphasized further by its language tug-of-war. French is everywhere: the parking signs, the menus, the spoken greetings.

Yet, a sorry attempt at some high school French by an American tourist (yours truly) flips the switch. Seamlessly, as if “Bonjour” were never stumbled over, the conversation morphs into English with a peculiar flourish.

Walking down the street is a puzzling treat as English and French interlace. A couple at a table next to us bounces back and forth – a French question, an English answer, then one, then just the other ā€“ like a nail-biting tennis match for the ears.

Taking a road trip will only confuse the American more. Living in the U.S means conquering an ocean to hear that steady foreign hum.

Although Ontario looks a lot like Wisconsin, there are doors like these in the rest areas…


Eventually, there’s no more English. None. Our foreign experience creeps up on us in the form of construction signs and unpronounceable roads.

Where the hell are we? North America? Canada?

No…Montreal, Quebec.

Each languid day is strange ā€“ no schedule, no obligations. And, Mr. H. and I wander around this land without time.

trees and us

Snuggles with Mr. H

One of the deepest ways to connect with someone means surviving together in a place where nothing makes sense, somewhere that is the antithesis of home, routine, and grind.

Travel makes the heart open to possibilities. And, so we opened ours to Montreal and did all of this…

Mont Royal and Olympic Stadium

Mont Royal and Olympic Stadium

Le Plateau

Le Plateau

old montreal

Old Montreal

2013-09-02 13.21.36

More Old Montreal

Trife Life Graffiti Crew

Trife Life Graffiti Crew

And, we got down at Piknic Electronik at sunset on an island. Yeah, it was cool…

But, what about the food, Britt? Montreal is one of the foodie capitals of the world, isn’t it?

Indeed, it is. So, food gets it’s very own post next week. Get ready to drool.

18 thoughts on “The Grit and Grace of Montreal

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Old Montreal has some cool buildings, but it is uber touristy…so beware if you ever go there. We dashed through and took most of our pix from afar, away from the tourista stampede.

      No Piknic Elektronic for you, Roy? : )

  1. 4amWriter says:

    We drove into Canada about eight years ago and spend a long weekend there. I loved it, like a mini-European country. I took French in high school, so we were able to get along in places that only had signs or menus or directions in French. Looks like you had a fab time.

  2. Letizia says:

    That photo of Mr. H could be right out of GQ, too cool! I love that video of you rockin’ too – looks like you had a blast. Of the many times I went to Montreal, I only went in the winter so it’s fun to see photos of it in the summer. I always heard there was a great music scene during the summer.

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