Earlier this month, I got to have a bit of an adventure when work sent me to Montreal for four days for a training. Granted, it meant spending three and a half of those days in a training room, but that was actually pretty great in its own way, and I got to have some little adventures on the side too.
For this post, I’m going to focus on my extra-curricular adventures.
I had one afternoon to go exploring. And of course, it was the coldest day while I was there, registering a high of only 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
And I decided to go out for a walk around Old Montreal anyway. I had the outerwear, so I figured I’d be fine. And it was a great walk for the most part. I got to take tons of pictures of the buildings and admire the feel of the place (which really is a bit more like Europe than you’d expect anywhere in North America). I found postcards for my sister, maple treats for my mother, and a little journal for me.
I made one slight miscalculation during all this. I forgot that batteries don’t work as well when it’s below freezing out.
I was using my phone to take pictures. It has better image quality than the better of my two digital cameras, so I hadn’t even bothered packing them. I’d already been wandering for almost an hour when I went to take another picture and got no response from my phone. After a few seconds of panic, I stuck it in my pocket and let it warm up a little, then tried again. The low battery image was all I got.
So there I am, at least 30 minutes’ walk from my hotel, with no cell phone.
I had an older phone with me (I’ve been using it as a music player since my last player died), so I started using that to take pictures and I kept walking and tried to formulate a plan.
I stopped at a souvenir shop (the one I found the journal and maple treats in). When I brought my items up to check out, I asked if the owner knew where I might be able to charge my cell phone. I didn’t even have a charger with me (and I’d left the battery pack I got for Christmas at the hotel). Thankfully, he had the right charger, and let me charge my phone for a bit. I continued browsing, and ended up buying something else, so I think it worked out for him, and it was a lifesaver for me.
So I had a minimal charge on my phone, and I had the backup phone for taking pictures, so I decided to head back the way I’d come on another road and try to get back to my hotel on foot. I’d used an app to get a ride out there, but I wasn’t sure I’d have enough charge to get one to take me back. I knew the vague direction I needed to walk, so I just started off in that direction and kept walking. By this point I’d been outside for about two hours.
The walk was up a long and decently steep hill, and it was getting closer and closer to sunset, so when I came across a Tim Hortons, I stopped for a minute, planning to use their restrooms and get a donut and cookie. (I’m now very jealous of Canadians, because both were amazing, and the donut beat out everywhere I get them at home.)
After I made my purchase, I noticed a sign for free Wi-Fi. So I took a moment to get the old phone on the Wi-Fi and pulled up a map to figure out where I was and where the hotel was. I took a screen shot while I was at it since I would lose the connection when I left.
Armed with a better idea of which way to go, I suited back up and headed out again. My less than direct route back to the hotel meant I passed a gorgeous Episcopal church I might not have seen otherwise, and my inability to find the right block for the hotel meant I explored a bunch of the streets around it and found a row of neat little restaurants I’d never have tried otherwise.
I did finally make it back to the hotel, a little over two and a half hours after I’d left, which gave me half an hour to thaw out before I went back out with my coworker to find dinner. We ended up at a tiny little Italian place I’d passed on my way back.
Montreal is known for its amazing food, and I got a chance to sample more than just the little Italian place while I was there.
I tried the famous poutine (which was way better than I thought it was going to be).
As fervently recommended by my boss, I had smoked meat while I was there.
I also got these mini desserts that night which were pretty amazing.
And the night my training hosts took us out to dinner I got this amazing Oreo-Nutella ice cream sandwich and someone let me have one of their beignets too.
Over all it was an amazing trip with lots of great insight during my training, amazing food, a really fun afternoon adventure, and actual winter weather (which I’ve missed).