Curious Travels: The Grand Detour of 2019 | Montreal in Small Plates

When we were in Montreal, we made it our mission go visit small plates style bars around the city. We wanted to do small plates style so that we could order various small plates and share the food. This worked out quite well; we were able to enjoy the place, the food, and the drinks without feeling overwhelmed by the amount of food in front of us.

The one craving we weren’t able to satisfy was churros. A tapas place we tried going to was too busy, and another one was not yet serving dessert because they were still only serving salty dishes. Nevertheless, we made the most out of our trip and enjoyed our small plates tour.

We made it to five tapas places. My favorites were Biiru and Bar Henrietta.

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Curious Travels: The Grand Detour of 2019 | Old Montreal + Mount Royal

We went to Montreal over a long weekend. It’s a 1.5 hour flight away from Toronto, and it’s in the part of Canada where everyone speaks French. (They also speak English, so I got by.)

We stayed in Old Montreal, so the touristy places (and numerous coffee shops and restaurants) were within walking distance. I enjoyed walking around and just enjoying the view. It reminded me of Europe, at least the parts of Europe I’d been to, cobblestones and all.

The Notre-Dame Basilica is beautiful, and I think it’s worth a visit regardless of one’s religion. (If you are interested in their masses, they play the organ during the weekend ones, but double check whether the mass is in English or French for that schedule.)

While walking around in the evening, we saw a clip of a man’s face projected onto a wall. It turned out it was part of a historical touristy attraction. There was another clip projected on a nearby building as well.

We also found ourselves on Mount Royal; we were looking for the Mount Royal Chalet. Unfortunately, we were dropped off at an incorrect location and had to hike a bit to get to the chalet. The whole “mountain” is a park, so there were locals running the trails as well.

The chalet had a nice view of Montreal plus some flowers.

All in all, it was a fun, low-maintenance trip. My allergies flared up with all of the construction in Old Montreal, so I spent most of the last two days indoors. I’ll definitely come back when there’s less construction or dust in the air. (The other parts of Montreal were fine! It’s just that we stayed in Old Montreal, so maybe next time, we’ll opt for a different neighborhood.)

Curious Travels: The Grand Detour of 2019 | Casa Loma

It only took four trips to Toronto and numerous occasions of passing by Casa Loma until I finally made it inside. Casa Loma is a castle in midtown Toronto and was previously an affluent family’s residence.

There’s a fee to enter the castle (which I feel is worth it considering the upkeep required for the property), but there’s no time limit nor structure your visit has to abide by. There’s a self-guided audio tour in multiple languages, but all of the rooms in the castle have signs and descriptions in English as well.

The main level rooms are largely for entertaining visitors, except perhaps the study, which has a not-so-secret passageway to the basement and upper levels. The upper-level rooms are bedrooms, and there’s even one dedicated to the Royal Family, should they have ever wanted to visit the castle. The basement houses the wine cellar and the entrance to a tunnel that leads to another part of the property. Wow, #goals.

My two favorite rooms are the library (no surprise there) and the conservatory. The library has walls lined with books, and the conservatory pays homage to plants. I’ve found my wedding peg. (I’m filing Casa Loma as the peg for Plan A.)

Toronto: Following with a Faves List

I’ve already rambled about my quick weekend in Toronto in my previous post, Toronto + Niagara Falls, but I felt like I missed something in my attempt to keep the entry short and sweet. Given that I have now visited Toronto twice this year (which prompted some of my friends to think that had moved there), I now give myself an excuse to make a second entry for the purpose of listing my Toronto faves.

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Toronto + Niagara Falls

Last Friday, I hopped on a plane (OK, two planes) to visit my people in Toronto.

First order of business: see the Niagara Falls in all its Canadian border glory. Straight from the airport, we rented a car and drove to Niagara Falls. It was only a one-hour drive, and it was pretty easy driving there (mostly due to Canadian drivers being very very kind on the road).

Niagara Falls is beautiful! The drive was definitely worth it. There were a lot of people visiting that weekend, but we were still able to find a spot to take pretty pictures.

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