To Montreal

There’s nothing like waking up and finding your towel, which you left outside after last night’s shower, wetter than when you put it there because of an obscene amount of dew. It really makes you want to get up and do things! Wait…
Today was a fairly easy ride, at only 90km or so. That being said, there were a number of turns I had to make. I missed a couple of these turns and had to backtrack slightly, but nothing too bad. It was a good thing I had the guidebook today, as there are only a few ways bicycles can get to Montreal island. Of course, they’re not allowed on the 400 series highways, and it gets pretty sketchy on some of the larger bridges, so I had to go north and enter Montreal via Laval.
The weather could not have been nicer for riding. It was warm and sunny but with occasional clouds and a nice, cool breeze. It was a pleasant break from the pouring rain and intense heat and humidity I’ve had in the past.
Along the way, I stopped for a beak at a Tim Horton’s. Outside, a woman asked me a question, in French. I’m technically bilingual and can carry on a conversation in French. Granted, I’m out I practice, but I still speak it passably well. That being said, I had no idea what this woman asked. She could have been speaking Japanese for all I understood – I imagine she used some pretty intense joille. I politely explained that I could not understand and she switched to English. To be honest, the fact that someone was asking about my bicycle and my trip startled me – I had become accustomed to having real conversations with people that I actually know, and this stranger’s inquiry caught me off guard. We chatted for a bit and she went back to her motorcycle. As I was leaving the parking lot, she yelled to me: “I hope you find the love of your life and settle down!” She meant it in a nice way, and I smiled, but really? I’ve only had that reaction once before, when I told a former colleague (female) I was doing this trip. Is there something about a solo female traveller that frightens older women? Or is everyone else just better at keeping their thoughts to themselves?
Anyway, I eventually made my way into Montreal and was thrilled to see so many cyclists. I caught rush hour and there were a ton of commuters on bikes, so I basically blended right in. I am staying in a hostel right downtown, because the campsite is too far from the centre of the city. I’ve decided I stay here 2 nights, because I love Montreal so much. I know I haven’t made much progress in the last week, but the whole point of the trip is to see the country, and I want to see Montreal.
I met up with my friend Bruno tonight at a hipster bar near my hostel. It was great to catch up with a friend and see Montrealers in their natural habitat. I’ve discovered that I can get most of the way through a difficult conversation in French, before the person decides that perhaps English would be better. Win!

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