Our journey to Montreal began at Penn Station. The train was scheduled to depart at 8:15 and after being advised to get there early (if we didn’t we might not get to sit together) Lyle and I decided to get there around 6:30. Before getting in line to board, you’re required to check in with an agent who looks at your passport and gives you tags for your bags. Getting there early definitely paid off! We were first in line and didn’t have to worry about whether or not we’d get to sit together.
Once on the train, we settled in for the eleven-hour ride to Montreal. The train was comfortable. We had lots of leg room and the seats even had foot rests that you could pull out. Those really come in handy when you’re several hours into the trip and needing to change positions and move around to keep comfortable. I did a little reading and writing, and attempted to work on some things for school, but Amtrak’s Wi-Fi is a little uncooperative. The border crossing took about an hour. The train stops and the customs agents come through the train and speak to each person. Pretty painless.
We arrived in Montreal an hour ahead of schedule, around 7pm. Our hotel wasn’t too far away so we decided to walk. It took about 20 minutes. Not bad, but wow, it was cold! Less than 10 degrees! I really need to up my winter wardrobe game! I guess I still have a Tennessean’s mentality when it comes to dressing for cold weather. In my mind, long pants and a coat (ANY long pants and a coat) are sufficient for any winter temperatures.
We stayed at Le Petit Hotel in Old Montreal. The streets of the oldest part of the city are narrow and lined with cobblestones. Very quaint. Very European. There are lots of art galleries, cafes, and great restaurants. We checked in and went up to our room. It was a cozy room with exposed brick and stone walls, king size bed, and a nice modern bathroom.
We headed downstairs to the front desk to ask for dinner suggestions and decided on BreWsky, a bar and restaurant located a few blocks away in Bonsecours Marche. Bonsecours Marche is a public market located in a former government building that was constructed in 1844. The building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1984. (As a historic preservationist, this won’t be the last time I throw in tidbits like this!) BreWsky had lots of beer choices and an upscale bar food menu. We each tried a local beer and split the fish and chips for dinner. It was delicious.
Our first night in Montreal was wonderful. After dinner we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the next day!