Greyhound Trip to Montreal

One of the first trips M and I took together was a 24-hour trip to Montreal, Canada. M had some business clients in Montreal who was eager to show him around. This was when M and I were working in New York so we thought going by car would be fun and not too long of a ride. We decided to take the Greyhound , a popular bus system that travels to apparently over 3,700 cities in the US.  We left right after work on Friday and headed to the Greyhound NYC location, which was near Times Square. Since we still had some time, we took some time sight seeing the area and grabbing a quick dinner. Boarding the Greyhound is like boarding onto a busy subway. People are in line, most carrying several luggage bags, and holding out their passport for the driver to verify that we do not need a special visa to enter Montreal. We boarded at 11pm and spent most of the time on the bus napping. Contrary to the popular notion, Greyhounds are actually quite nice. They had wireless internet on the bus, mini-TVs for each pair of seats, and spacious seating areas. The total time it took from Manhattan to Montreal was about 8 hours since the bus made several other stops in between. In Montreal, we were surrounded by French. All the signs were in French and many of the people we talked to only spoke French. It was wonderful! We made very little plans about the trip so it was an adventure searching for a place to stay for the night. We chose a cozy bed and breakfast hotel. Wanting to maximize our short stay there, we immediately embarked on an exploration of the city with the guidance of M’s business clients. The treated us to an authentic French restaurant for brunch, complete with wine and dessert. Since we were in the heart of Montreal, we spent the rest of the day admiring the elegant architecture and city design. We stopped by a touristy area called Saint Catherine street that is lined with bars and gift shops. Then, we walked to where Cirque de Soleil was holdings its performances. Unfortunately, we only had one day in Montreal so we had no time to watch the show. Coincidentally, we witnessed two separate pairs of newly weds taking their post-wedding pictures while we were there. It was entertaining watching them pose in public in their full wedding attire. As late afternoon approached, the clouds began forming and out of nowhere, it began pouring. I was in a tank top and shorts. Within a minute, we were both drenched since we had wandered far away from many buildings in our goal to find quirky places. The coldness of being wet was overshadowed by how romantic it was to be caught in the rain in Montreal. That night, we went to a nightclub called La Mouche. It was the first time we heard, Stereo Love, and we absolutely fell in love with that song. A few months later, it became popular in the US! Dancing the night away was perfect for our 7am Greyhound ride back to New York since we napped the whole way back.

Cost: $$$ (Greyhound round trip ticket per person: $140. Hotel for the night: $100. Other expenses such as club cover, food, etc: $80/person)

Difficulty: Some skill

Time: Long

Materials you will need:

1. Money

2. Passport (you will have to go through immigration twice)

3. Greyhound tickets

4. One or two changes of clothing (in case one set of clothing is drenched from rain and one set for clubbing)

We had no specific plans-we wanted to to wing the whole trip. In fact, M bought the tickets for us the day before we left to my surprise. He asked me if I was interested in going to Montreal not too long before and I said yes. I didn’t think he would actually go and get the tickets! This experience made me appreciate people who keep to their words. Because we didn’t really speak French, it made the trip even more exciting because we had to work as a team to figure things out. It was also a big plus that we didn’t make any arrangements beforehand because checking out various hotels was a lot of fun. I highly recommend Montreal as a romantic getaway-it is the city in North America that is closest to  romantic rendezvous in Europe.

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