Heading North for Spring Break? Think Again!

It seemed like a good idea at the time: we were underage and too broke to fly anywhere for Spring Break.

(If you missed yesterday’s post, go back and read it now before you proceed.)

So we drove north— to Montreal (congratulations, Ash! You guessed correctly)— and discovered immediately upon our arrival why Mexico (and not Canada) is the Spring Break destination of choice.

It didn’t help that we had to wade through five inches of snow—in stilettos— to go out.

The entire trip seemed cursed: we arrived late Saturday night and, thanks to one of my not-so-brilliant-suggestions, decided to save our energy for a “proper” night out the following evening.  Unfortunately Sundays aren’t particularly rockin’ in Montreal (or anywhere for that matter, as far as I’m aware).

After a late night visit to Tim Horton’s (which is essentially the Canadian equivalent of Krispy Kreams), we decided to walk back to our hostel to save money.   There were four of us, after all—what was the worst that could happen?

Well, a drunkard singing “Hey Jude” at the top of his lungs starting following us not long thereafter, forcing us to seek refuge in a 24-hour Burger King which catered almost exclusively—or so it seemed—to homeless people and American frat boys.

Upon deciding that we perhaps ought to take a cab the rest of way, we arrived at the hostel only to discover that my car had been towed.

My roommate who spoke French didn’t so our attempts to communicate our plight to the hostel’s Quebecois staff were ill-fated (although to be fair, we did lose said roommate on the subway earlier that day en route to art museum and she was barely speaking to us at that point).

We argued over everything: where to go, when to eat and what to eat.  Suffice it to say, it was a long, quiet ride back to the US.


This picture was taken in Montreal, outside the Musee des Beaux-Arts, during my sophomore year of college. I'm on the left in the black beret, going through my "I think over-sized men's dress coats are cool" phase.

15 Responses to “Heading North for Spring Break? Think Again!”

  1. Philly Tap Teaser

    Montreal might be my least favorite city on earth. Forget the rude French people who detest Americans. Did you know that American debit cards are not accepted by a lot of businesses in Montreal? I didn’t either, until one night I had literally no way to pay for my dinner. I had to plead with the restaurant owner to let me run several blocks to a debit card-friendly ATM that then charged me insane service fees. Oh, but my favorite Montreal horror story is: almost 2 years ago, I was sitting down in the Montreal airport, gleefully on my way home, eating a salad. My second forkful of lettuce contained a fairly big, electric blue INSECT. It was a cross between a ladybug and a mutant ant. It was alive. I ran out of the restaurant. To me, that was the Montreal way of saying – don’t come back here again, you stupid American!

  2. RedRican

    You make it sound so terrible! I remember having a pretty great time, although we definately took Murphy with us. A great comedy of errors. But i hold that freezing Spring Break close to my heart.
    Also, you forgot to mention that when your car got towed and we freaked for a good twenty minutes about who to call and where to find it… It had simply been towed to the other side of the road lol

    • Jess

      I have to agree. That trip had it’s rough moments, especially the twenty minutes after we discovered the car was missing, but overall the memories are good ones. 🙂

  3. canti

    I’m sorry your experience in Montreal was less-than-stellar … maybe you need to try it another time of year (though I’ve found adventures there any time of year a lot of fun). Maybe it’s my growing up in Vermont and my five years of french between junior high and high school, but I always found Quebecois to be very friendly, and going to Montreal was the closest you could get to a European experience without getting on a plane to cross the ocean. The Hotel Frontenac is as close as I’ve come to what I imagine a castle to be like, 18th Century history is all over up there (French & Indian War era), and if you’re adventurous, the food is beyond fantastic. Both the pastrami and the bagels *have* to be tried up there and the farmer’s markets are an adventure all by themselves.

    I just wish it was as easy as it used to be to pop across the border … there used to be roads from Vermont to Quebec where it was little more than a wave to the guys at the border.

    At the same time, I’ve always had a real love for Canada … Toronto has the Bata Shoe Museum (which I KNOW you’d love), the CN Tower and some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten, and Winnipeg is beautiful and probably the cleanest city on earth.

    Maybe just pick warmer weather for your next adventure up that way, eh?

    • Kat Richter

      I actually like Montreal a lot– what I failed to mention is that the Spring Break trip was one of many (my first boyfriend was from Montreal so I spent quite a bit of time there back in the day… although never during any part of the year that could actually be considered WARM!)

      I’m currently scheming about going to Quebec City with The Wedding Date, although he doesn’t quite know this yet. (Surprise!) Landlord, Chauffeur, Tech Support and I sneaked into Frontenac once back in the day… I’d LOVE to actually stay there but I can think of plenty of other things upon which I’d ought to spend a week’s pay… 😦

    • Kat Richter

      Haha, I remember being 17 and very disappointed to learn that my boyfriend-at-the-time didn’t actually have a Québécois accent– lol!

  4. Landlord

    Ditto, LOVE Montreal, and remember trying to figure out a way I could get a job at the charming flower stall in Place Jacques-Cartier and Place De La Dauversière. The Chauffeur and I spent quite a romantic weekend there, long, long ago while we were dating–It was our first totally adult get away. (both had graduated and were working) Although we camped (there’s a shock)we had a most interesting gentleman as our neighbor who thought that parents should be “licensed”, great conversation even back then!


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