Monday, July 28, 2014

Montreal in One Word is Not What You Might Expect

Have you ever noticed that when someone tries to get you to focus your mind on one thing, it immediately shoots off in a million directions?  They ask you to spit out the first thing that pops into your head, but your mind has ten things combating for dominance and as a result, you're completely tongue-tied.

What one word would you use to describe yourself?  Brain: What time of day is it?  How much sleep did I get?  Where am I right now?  What am I doing?  Who else is around me?  Am I hungry?  All of these things majorly impact the best adjective for the moment!

What's the best country to visit?  Brain: What type of trip are we talking about?  Does weather matter?  Are language barriers an issue?  Are you okay with a little dirt?  Do you want to see animals or landscapes or people or buildings?  Every country marks its place on my heart for its own reasons.

I am not a fan of reducing people or places or things or experiences to single dimensions and solitary words.  So to avoid being hypocritical about something that bugs me so much, I've waited a few months to write this post.  Since I've written a couple other posts about Montreal which include music events and touristy fun, I now feel that it's okay for me to admit that there is indeed miraculously a single thing that pops into my head when someone mentions Montreal.


Based on my Canadian friends' reactions to my observation, I get the feeling that this is one of those cases where the visitor notices something that is unremarkable to the locals who see it every day.

But Montreal is absolutely covered with the most amazing staircases!

Instead of internal stairwells, many of Montreal's apartments and condos have twisty metal constructions from the upper level front doors straight to street level.

They twist and curl around.  They cut jagged patterns across the front of the buildings.  They're painted bright colors.  They are an unobtrusive but uniquely distinctive characteristic of the city.

I imagine that some of them are rather treacherous in icy winter months, and I know Montreal gets plenty of snow, which makes it even better that this city bucks the convenience of stairwells and sticks with these crazy constructions instead.

So if you ever try to torture me and make me distill my Montreal memories into one word, at least I know I can come up with an answer.  It has nothing to do with Montreal's lifeblood or culture, but I guarantee that when you visit, you will now notice the stairs.

These aren't the most amazing photos, since many were taken from a moving vehicle while also obeying traffic laws, but they're still not up for grabs.  Thanks.

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