No, this isn’t a post about Beyoncé.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I do not have a bon passeport (yet) so obtaining a visa can be an adventure in itself. So this is the story about the time I spent a total of 12+ hours on a bus to be in Montreal for less than a day.
Last year, I had booked a trip to visit my family in Switzerland only to realize the Swiss Consulate had shut down in Toronto and I had to go all the way to Montreal to process my visa application. Given the fact that I earn Canadian Dollars and wanted to save both money (currently $1 CAD = 0.76 Swiss Francs) and time-off for my actual trip , so I hopped onto a 6pm Megbus which got me to Montreal just after midnight.
I had booked myself an AirBnb* for the night.
*True Story: The first stay I booked on Airbnb was for my family members and I will never forget the look of horror on my mother’s face when I told her the hostess insisted they compost and recycle everything, including toilet paper. Used toilet paper. Needless to say my mother didn’t follow the rules as they were a little on the extreme side of things. I do not blame her. But I digress.
I slept with one eye open, as you do when you realize you’ve payed to spend the night in a stranger’s bed. I was up bright an early for my 10 A.M. appointment at the Swiss Consulate. In true Swiss fashion, my application was processed swiftly and I was out of there by 10:27 A.M.
My bus back to Toronto wasn’t until 5 P.M. One thing I hardly ever do when I travel to new places for a short period of time is plan out the day since I like to keep the element of spontaneity throughout the trip. If it means I might get lost a few times that day, then so be it. I’ve found I actually enjoy exploring a new city on foot, with only screenshots of an address or map in hand. Getting lost is all a part of familiarizing yourself with the city, and you never know what gems you might find along the way. You can tell I’m really bad with directions and it’s a part of me that I have embraced fully.
A quick stop by a café for a coffee, croissant, and free WiFi and I decided I would go to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It was only a ten-minute walk away and I didn’t feel like trekking through the blanket of snow that had just taken over the city. At this point I just needed somewhere dry, possibly with a quiet corner I could fall asleep in if need be.
The place had free WiFi (!) and was free for anyone under 30 (!!).
Here are few things that made me absolutely extatic to be at that particular place at that partocular time:
I live and breathe everything pop culture , so this was everything to me.
African Arts Exhibit
African art first gained popularity in Europe in the early 19th Century, and became even more valuable later on once renowned artist such as Pablo Picasso were known to collect such art. Apart from the ROM in Toronto, I’ve never come across an extensive African arts exhibit so this was a pleasant surprise. It features masks, drums, and carvings from all over Central and West Africa.
After my visit to the museum I passed by the gift shop and bought a stunning postcard. From this moment I decided I would buy a post card everytime I visit a new museum.
My6-hour bus ride back home was mostly uneventful if you do not count the small group of African musicians who decided to practise some of their material during the trip. It was lovely for the first 5 minutes, but when it went on for about 25 minutes straight I was with very much with the girl who implored them to pleeaase staahp.
Some things are better in small, welcomed doses….kinda like lemonade.
I’d like to hear about any quirks you have when you travel. What do you bring home as a souvenir? Let’s hear ’em .