Been jamming some travel recently, which is nice since I haven’t been in the mood much since my trip around the world. It’s nice that the excitement of the road is slowly stirring my soul once again.
I’ve also been venturing about New York City as often as I can since it only takes a couple minutes to get there and it’s only $5.50 round trip on the PATH (or $4.20 with the 10+ Trip SmartLink cards)
June 30: Montreal
Swung up to Montreal on a fairly uneventful car ride. Was pulled over for a going 75 in a 55 on the Taconic in Chatham, NY. I saw the cop but I didn’t really feel like slamming on the brakes because I was just doing the same speed as everyone else.
He pulls out behind me and throws the lights on. I look for a place to pull over and I can’t seem to find one. I have to slow down to a very slow speed on a two-way highway where people are driving at 75 miles an hour. There’s no shoulder. I slowly drive over the curb and onto the grass, still partially sticking out into the road. It’s unsafe and I end up scratching my bumper pretty badly in the process. The officer was nice. He tells me my PBA card is useless and writes me a 4-point ticket. He asked me if I had any questions. I say no and wish him a good day. He’s just doing what he’s told.
I hate speed limits. I hate speeding tickets. I hate everything that has to do with holding the world back from being efficient. It’s sad that we waste so much capital on enforcing systems that are designed to slow our progress. And it’s pathetic that the State of New York had to go through such measures to rob me. It’s the only speeding ticket I have ever got in my entire life. I think back to my time on the Autobahn and I quote it here because it makes me happy:
“Driving on the Autobahn is incredible… I’ve been cruising on the Autobahn between 90-100 mph, not pushing my little Opel past that. Even at that speed cars are passing me. It’s a beautiful thing.” – me
I’m sorry for quoting myself. I wasn’t originally planning on writing much here. I’ve lately been pretty disinterested in words. I was tempted to just throw some pictures up, but so far the words are flowing.
That was the original direction for this post three months ago. The standard rambling that I do accompanied with some pictures.
But things have changed quite a bit since then.
I’m not quite so sure how to finish this.
There are pictures that I want to post, but time has passed since they have been taken.
Back when I was deeply in love with someone who now won’t talk to me.
But so it goes in life and love.
There’s no closure.
You give your heart to someone and when things don’t work out there’s this weird thing you enter into.
Where you no longer talk.
And you no longer exist.
Because to do otherwise would be too logical and too painful.
And humans are emotional and love comfort above almost everything else.
You can take everything away from a person as long as you leave them comfortable.
Am I sad? I hope so. Sad just means you had something great.
There are a lot of opinions and a lot of feelings and a lot of things that I’m not sure I can entertain.
I followed my heart to this point in life and will continue to do so.
It’s the only way that I think is right.
At the expense of everything.
My heart guides me.
And so it will be.
So what about Montreal?
I could barely tell you.
Let’s have a look at the pictures.
The Notre Dame.
It’s a beautiful building. But at night it’s quite a site. Montreal does an amazing job with its lighting at night, and the Notre Dame is just one example.
Another is the BMO Bank of Montreal right across the street. If you were to spin the tripod around and shoot a picture, this is what you would see. Sure it’s just a bank, but on a night in Montreal it’s electric.
You may notice a lit up area above the bank. At several locations in old Montreal they play movies on the walls of buildings. The world is your theater.
There are some great bars and restaurants in old Montreal. And although it’s probably too touristy you should check it out.
Midnight passes and it’s Canada’s 150th birthday. Love to you. And love to all of Montreal which is celebrating it’s 375th year at the same time.
July 1: Montreal
I went to St-Viateur Bagel because I saw Anthony Bourdain do it. And if there’s one person set up to be as iconic to this time period as Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Kerouac were to the Beat Generation, it’s him. I’m sorry if that’s dismal but I just don’t see anyone else fitting the role better than him.
They don’t make bagel sandwiches there. You buy bagels, cream cheese, capers, and lox and make the bagel yourself. Thinking back I guess they even showed this in the show.
Back to the Notre Dame. It’s raining. It’s been raining.
Actually before we get to the Notre Dame I have to share a song I heard while I was waiting in the line to cross the border into Canada. It’s Trucs Styles by Bengale. There’s a lot of great music out this way, even on the old radio. I strongly recommend giving a listen to the radio out here if you’re road tripping through. Shout out to all the musicians out that way making great music that will never be heard by anyone.
Carrying on. Back into the gloomy clouds and rain. I was in Notre Dame about a decade earlier.
Actually. Let’s go back to before the border. Somewhere halfway through the middle of New York. Listening to some obscure radio station. Where I heard Wasted Days by Cloud Nothings. Props to you if you make it through the nine-minute track.
Ok. Take me to church. The Notre Dame is as amazing today as it was a decade ago. The colors and the lighting in this place is amazing. It’s almost completely cut out of wood.
It looks like a Disney princess castle or something.
Places of worship are too nice not to stop into.
Fleur-de-lis is a recurring symbol in my life.
Carvings and paint and light. Ultra on point. This stuff is easy to shoot.
After you see enough of this stuff head across the street to a place that sells tea.
And stroll the streets of old Montreal. I must admit not much of it looks this beautiful. It’s all covered with restaurants and tourist traps. But still, it’s nice and you should go.
On the way to Quebec City try going to Joe Beef because you saw Bourdain eat there too.
Drive through the fireworks.
But since you won’t be able to get a table, try sister restaurant Liverpool House.
And since you won’t be able to get into that either go to cousin restaurant Le Vin Papillon.
Ask the bar tender to bring you a tasting a their food because you trust his judgment and prepare to enjoy mostly vegetables that leave you shaking you head in anger that the glutinous Joe Beef had no open tables. Even ending the meal with a lobster won’t bring solace.
Drive to Quebec City.
July 2: Quebec City
At some point stroll over to good old Rue du Petit Champlain. Try to score a table at Le Lapin Saute. It’s a place I tried to eat at when I was last here but there were no available seats that night. Sure it’s the most touristy street ever but you can find good food here. Order the duck and rabbit platter. It has duck and rabbit prepared a whole bunch of ways, but the foie gras and rabbit rillettes are probably the best.
Seriously this street is packed with tourists in the summer. It’s a very different vibe from the freezing cold winter were it is only filled with locals.
Head up to the castle, or the Chateau Frontenac. You can get here via the funicular, which is a nice way to get up and down the hills. Go grab a drink at the bar. If you see the most beautiful drink being made I don’t recommend ordering one of those. It’s a gin and tonic.
Sigh. I’m talking too much. I didn’t think this would be the case but while the words flow…
Google best restaurants in Quebec City and go there. You might not have the chance to do this again. So you better do it right. The choice is Le Saint-Amour. It’s old school. Like really old school. But it’s French and it’s Quebec City and old French is perfect for the occasion.
I wanted to do a tasting menu but it doesn’t feel right.
So instead it’s foie gras five ways. Including foie gras creme brulee. You know. Creme brulee is a desert for old people. But I like it. And when it’s made of foie it couldn’t be better.
Also elk carpaccio.
Entrees are sea scallops and pork belly. And sweetbreads and shrimp. If you’ve never had sweetbreads you have to try them. They are one of life’s great luxuries.
Not sure where the sherry is but oh well.
On the way out you should probably take the car that valet offers to you. Just drive the thing down to hill and ditch when you get to the hotel. It’s about to pour in a couple minutes.
But of course you can’t steal someone’s car, even if it’s just for a drive down a hill. So decline and tell them it’s not your car. And walk. Out into the downpour.
Take cover in a touristy Italian restaurant where Budweiser is an import but you order it because America.
On the way back stroll down the winding roads messing about with the camera. Shoot some fire pictures.
And if you happen to be experiencing the world with the most beautiful woman you have ever seen in your life then make sure you work the camera as best as you can.
July 3: Burlington, VT
Have some more French food.
Shoot some more pictures.
Check out of old Quebec City and make your way out to Burlington, VT.
Stroll about the streets a bit of this heavenly place.
Go to The Farmhouse Tap & Grill because it’s the best. Grab some raw bar and some meat and cheese and some delicious beers. Listen to some hippie bros play some strings and sing some words.
Swing down to the water to check out the fireworks.
Then hop back in the car and drive all the way home in the middle of the night.
July 4: Tarrytown, NY
Sleep some more.
Then catch the fireworks one final time.
To complicate this even more I decided to write up that trip before I started the writeup for an earlier trip. So here’s that. It will be quick.
June 8: Cambridge, MA
Drive to Cambridge, MA. Why Cambridge? Because there’s an opportunity to work out this way.
Go to sleep because tomorrow starts early.
June 9: Boston, MA
Spend the day working and interviewing. Asking for piles of money so big that everyone involved in the situation is uncomfortable. That’s how it has to be done sometimes. Companies with a market cap in the hundreds of billions can afford it.
Then swing out to the heart of Boston.
Shoot some pictures.
Smile because all is well. Or maybe it’s not but you’re happy.
Check out the old sites. The Old North Church. The Paul Revere House. All of that stuff.
Stroll around the streets and shoot some more pictures.
You’re in Boston.
Grab some food at Neptune Oyster. They have a great scallop crudo. It was the best thing I had on the trip.
And there was some pretty good food. Like obligatory hot and cold lobster rolls. Oh and that hookup on that glass of sherry.
Afterwards stroll all around the city. Stroll around the wharf. Check out where they threw the tea into the water.
There’s great beer in this city. Stroll through Back Bay making your way back to the Fenway area. Stop into places and grab a pint at each one.
It might be packed because it’s commencement time.
It’s a different vibe from the day activities back in Cambridge. Where the mood was almost solemn. Because sometimes smart people don’t know how to party.
June 10: Boston, MA
Spend the morning grabbing another lobster roll. Take a bunch of pictures.
Then cut the trip short, swing back home, and make it home in time for a surprise birthday party.
So takeaways? I don’t really think there are any. There’s no closure in life (I think there might be). Let your heart guide you. Life. I have nothing but good things to say about the times where my heart directed me. Try to learn. Try to better yourself. The entire world is open to you. Love. Love always. Above everything thing go for love.