Montreal — The Failed Poutine Excursion

I sit at the back porch of our rented apartment. The alleyway in front of me and the back gardens surrounding it are wet from a sudden downpour connected to a thunderstorm that roars every now and again. Day one was long, but we spent most of it in Iceland and in the air. It was therefore uneventful, except for a hairy bus-ride, a dicey trip to the apartment and a failed poutine excursion.

We came into the airport an hour late and managed to make our way to the bus that would take us into downtown Montreal eventually. The bus driver drove like a monkey on amphetamine and the bumpy Montreal roads didn’t help. When we stepped off the bus, unsure of our surroundings, dizzy and grateful to still be breathing we had to find our way to the apartment we’d rented off a nice lady on AirBnb.

We stepped off the bus next to a park. We thought we would find our way to the next bus quite easily by simply strolling into said park. That was not the case. I thought we needed to take the number 2 bus to a stop 13 minutes from our house. I thought so because google told me. Therefore, I stood with my phone in front of my face, turning in circles while trying to figure out where in the blazes bus number two stopped. Jenny finally realized that bus number two didn’t exist. We needed to find metro line number two.

The metro took us near enough to our house that we could walk the rest of the way. With our backpack strapped to our backs we passed cafés, nightclubs and bars that had flooded out onto the sidewalk in the warm night. Jazz seemingly floated on the air from one such place where a saxophone player was visible in between the tables filled with empty beer and wine glasses and people chatting away. 

Our apartment, located on a side street from Avenue Mont Royal, is a studio shaped like a narrow rectangle book-ended by balconies. There are film posters on the wall, and the bed is up against a naked brick wall.

Being completely wiped off our feet we take some time to relax and get settled in. We had talked of the prospects of poutine for about a month before the trip, deciding it would be the perfect dish to have before we went to bed on the first day. Poutine is a decadent plate of French fries, thick gravy, cheese curds and whatever else you can think of that makes your heart go, “No, please, no more.”

I had found, with trusty help from my friend google yet again, a gluten free poutine place some five minutes away. After filling our drained batteries some 10% we set off. We eventually came across the eatery. It was tucked away slightly on a relatively busy street. I opened the door and was greeted by a scraggly bearded man with a broom in hand waving one hand at me. My spirits dropped. “Are you closed?” I mumbled. “We’re closed, sorry,” the bearded man said with a French accent. We checked the opening times and found we were actually one minute late. Jenny suggested bananas and crisps as an alternative and I saw no other recourse possible.

We ate our bananas and crisps, took our showers and crawled into bed completely exhausted. It couldn’t have been but 11 o’clock PM when I drifted away, drooling on my pillow but the lack of poutine must have sapped my strength. I had also been awake for around 21 hours.