Mile End, Montreal

Best mural in Mile End

My first day in Montreal. Sophie, my gracious host whom I met in Laos, showed me around the cool parts of town, especially Mile End. We ate at a homey, inexpensive diner with badass breakfast near her house on Beaubien. We meandered around the chic neighborhood Mile End, walking and talking. Found ourselves a free exhibit at the Musée des Pompiers, Firefighter’s museum.

There was an awesome 19th-century photo of firefighters during the freezing Montreal winter. They had 8-inch icicles hanging from their beards and mustaches. As we walked I kept stopping to take photos of great murals and street art. During our walk Sophie said that she doesn’t even notice the street art anymore. She said that this happens in every place. You find something you like about a city and after you see it so many times you’re over it. Like the temples in Thailand. At first you’re like “Wow! Look at these beautiful edifices!” then after a while you stop going inside them as often. She lives in Montreal, thus she doesn’t notice the wonderful street art around her anymore. I understand that feeling. It’s common to take for granted what we see every day. Things we see, think, feel become normalized. Great things and horrible things alike.

We stopped to have a beer at a sidewalk bar. The sun was beating down on us and the mix of a tall beer and the heat made us both feel discombobulated and worn out. We walked back towards her apartment, stopping for a few groceries along the way. She made dinner at her place and we watched the Game of Thrones season 6 finale. We felt we had to remind ourselves what had happened before the new season comes out.

My first impressions of Montreal: I love this town. The blend of European and North American cultures is evident on every corner of every block. The Mile End area has a lot of cool cafes, bars, shops and restaurants. It’s a very hip area of town. One could spend weeks exploring Mile End. Click HERE for a pretty good post about things to do in the neighborhood. The people here are beautiful, friendly, and I love the Quebecois accent. Having learned French in France, it’ll take a bit getting used to the difference in dialects. Though, that shouldn’t pose much of a problem. I love traveling. I am now with the wildlings north of the wall.

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