first of all, i never like bagels. i always find them too dense and heavy, i like my bread fluffy and soft. but somehow i convinced myself that i should give it a second chance since i’m in montreal and it’s famous for its bagels, supposedly. so i googled ‘best bagel in montreal’ and a few ‘st viateur bagel‘ came up. i just picked the closest one. got there 15min bus ride later only to realise i went to the shop instead of the café! it’s a little bakery that only sells takeaway (smells awesome btw) and the café is 30min walk away. then i remembered fairmount bagel which was also recommended is nearby so i walked there… to find out it’s a takeaway shop too! my bruised ankle (too much walking in my boots the day before) didn’t help in the situation.
for someone who doesn’t like bagel, i don’t know why i was so adamant about eating bagel for brunch that day! i still don’t. sometimes i drive myself crazy. determined, or stubborn, some might say :p, i continued on my bagel quest. after 15 min of walking (i swear i’d have walked barefooted if not for the cold winter), i saw a cab and hopped in! when i finally got to st viateur bagel café, i ordered myself a hearty brunch, to fuel up for a hike at mont royal (yes with my bruised ankle). for someone who doesn’t like bagel or salmon at all, i ordered from a menu of great choices… the traditional smoked salmon bagel! what’s up with me today?! it was delicious, i have to say. the side crab salad was yummy too. still, that did not convert me to a bagel or salmon fan. but for bagel-loving travellers, it’s a must-try. just make sure you go to the right one!
so after the hearty meal, i was all ready for a hike, despite my nagging ankle! mont royal is a 200-hectare park, easily accessible from downtown. frommer’s recommended starting at the corner of rue peel and avenue des pins, which is a few train stations from where i was, which, was my original plan if not for the “eventful” morning. and since i was 15min walk from the east side of the park, i decided to just walk and see where it leads me. there wasn’t any marked trail where i started. i just kept walking towards the top of the hill.
at some point, there was just fresh snow, no other footprint except for mine. i was surrounded by pretty trees covered with snow, occasional squirrels ruffling the leaves and snow falling to the ground. kinda magical. there were times when i wondered if i was lost and should have taken the proper trail. but i just wondered and wandered on, following some snow shoe trails, asking a couple of cross country skiers if i’m on the right track to the top.
40 min later, i reached the first lookout. it was grey and foggy but city views never fail to take my breath away. well, i was a little out of breath too, hiking up with my bruised ankle. after asking some people at the lookout, i continued on to find mont royal cross and met mr frosty there.
finally following the main trail now, i made my way to chalet du mont royal and the lookout. from there, i headed back down to rue peel downtown with the proper stairs mentioned in frommers. i’m glad i decided to wander the “off beaten” path. i would not have experienced the “wild” hike up and enjoyed the magical moment if i’ve climbed up the stairs.
sometimes, wandering without a plan can get you lost but mostly, it surprises you. of course, my sensible self wouldn’t have done that if it was a hike in the wilderness. mont royal is right in downtown afterall and all roads leads to the top. so perhaps, it was just a “wild” adventure in my mind. ;) most importantly, never stop wandering.
montreal. canada ♥ 22 december 2014