We all met at the Massachusetts Ave. T stop at around six. Three of us work full time so it was the earliest we could all meet up to make the five and a half hour drive up to Montreal. With full duffle bags hanging off our shoulders and bursting backpacks on our backs we fought our way onto the T, rush hour is a pretty miserable experience on a rainy 60-degree day. The train was packed all the way until the end of the line. Orph’s mom picked us up from the Alewife T stop a little bit before seven and we made the way to his house. After saying "Hi" (and "Bye") to his family and thanking them profusely for letting us use his car over the long weekend, we were off.
The six of us packed into his mini-van and drove through the night, jamming to music and pretending to be grown up as we talked about our jobs and the upcoming elections. None of us had a chance to eat dinner before leaving so we stopped along the way at the only restaurant that is open at 9:45 at night along the highway in the middle of nowhere — Subway. It had been dark for so long it felt like it was one in the morning, but we still had three more hours of driving before we would make it to our basecamp for the weekend. We switched drivers and got on the road again.
The border took about 10 minutes.
“Do you have any guns, alcohol, tobacco, knives, produce, or other controlled substances,” the Canadian border guard said.
He was surprisingly cheery for one in the morning. We did have a few of those items: a pocket knife, some fruit, a small bottle of vodka, but nothing too serious.
“No,” Choppa said from the driver’s seat.
“What is the purpose of your visit?”
“Uh, fun,” Choppa said. There was a hint of a question in his voice, what was the purpose of our trip? Fun seemed like as good an answer as any.
The border guard smiled, he knew what we were up to — six young college students driving into Canada at the start of a long weekend, we were definitely there for fun.
We pulled out of the border control station with more energy than when we’d first gotten in the car. We were in Canada. It was past one in the morning, we were tired and worn out. But we were in Canada. We were excited.
Choppa got up to 70 MPH pretty quickly out of the border, then he realized that the signs were in kilometers. It still didn’t take long to get into the city, though, even going almost half the speed. After some inconvenient construction-caused traffic on the only route into the city from the south, we made it to our friend’s place around two o’clock. I promptly went and got a Guinness.
Over the next three days we stayed up until 5, 6, and 7 AM, woke up after not enough sleep, explored the city, enjoyed good food and drinks, and fell in love with Canada. We climbed Mont Royal (it’s more of a hill than a mountain), ate poutine, explored the waterfront, and drank hot maple apple cider, which I highly recommend.
This was my second trip to Montreal in two years and, after a jam-packed and sleep-deprived three days, I definitely need time to rest up, but I wouldn't mind making the drive up more often; even at one in the morning.
Montreal has an annual mural festival, and we were staying about 50 feet from the festival’s main office. The whole city is covered in public art, but that area in particular had dozens of pieces, both massive and small.
Being the person in the group with the camera means there are never any pictures of you, which I don't mind, but usually I focus more on the scenery than the people I'm with. I tried to change that up a little on this trip.