Hungry and lost on dark empty streets without a cent of local currency to our name was, not surprisingly, a familiar sensation. In our travels, my fellow editor and I have had our share of rough starts to new cities. Québec City it seemed, was no exception. And though I was confident we would eventually find what we were looking for (a working ATM), I was less confident that we could find that which had brought us Québec: the sense of boundless adventure that accompanies international travel. Instead, we found a city that wasn’t the “Europe of North America” that we’d expected, but a unique city unto itself.
Arriving in Quebec City days earlier we had sought something unique and unfamiliar, to capture the sense of discovery in a foreign land despite our relative proximity to home. What we found was something else, not the detachment of internationalism that we had expected, but a uniquely Québécois appeal. Leaving behind Quebec City’s francophonic charm for the modernism of Montreal then seemed bittersweet, having breached the apex of our northern venture, it seemed we were being drawn back toward the familiar, and everything ahead was literally, figuratively, and culturally closer to home.
Dodging a frightful thunderstorm on our second day in Montreal, we head to the open air (but covered, thankfully) Marché Jean-Talon for the city’s freshest eats. There we traded loonies and toonies for fresh fried cod, pork empanadas, juicy tomatoes and no small number of crêpes. Hats off to Legal Nomads for the recommendation.