Day Thirty-Five

Another morning, another massive struggle to get out of bed. I hopped in the shower to try to wake up and saw a message from Mitch letting me know he and Josh were headed to breakfast if I’d like to join when I got out.

I threw my things together and walked up to meet them at Bagel & Café and ordered myself their delicious bagel French toast, replete with Nutella, strawberries, maple syrup, and apples. The three of us sat enjoying the sun for about an hour, laughing as we caught Josh up on the night before. We also enjoyed the people watching, since we saw plenty of great characters walking through downtown. The three of us share a pretty similar sense of humor largely held up by the pillar of paying people out, so it was the perfect way for us to spend the morning.

We made a quick trip back to the hostel to grab sunglasses and sunscreen before making the trek to Parc Mont-Royal for a Montréal summer tradition: the Tam-Tams. I weren’t sure exactly where in the park we’d find this weekly drum circle gathering, so we hike up to the top of the mountain to see the view of downtown Montréal, which was stunning. We continued to hike around for a while, constantly listening for the sound of the drums that signaled the Tam-Tams.

We took a break to grab some ice cream and admire some fearless raccoons before winding our way down the mountain, where the drums started to get louder. We got through break in the trees and saw the thousands of people gathered near the George-Étienne Cartier monument. They were slacklining, playing some kind of strange hacky-sack/volleyball combo, dancing around the drum ciricles, and drinking and smoking unabashedly despite the police roaming through the crowds. It was a pretty insane thing to see, especially when we considered that it happens every Sunday when the weather starts to improve. If you’re ever in Montréal for one, you really do have to go.

We found a wall to sit on and engage some more in our favorite activity: people watching. There were so many different kinds of people to watch too. If you’ve ever been to the Minnesota State Fair, you have somewhat of an idea of the cross-section of humanity you’re likely to see at a Tam-Tams.

We stayed for about an hour before heading off to get food at Brigade Pizzeria Napolitaine. They make wonderful wood-fired pizzas. Mitch and Josh had been there before, and I can totally understand why they wanted to go back again. Over dinner we swapped stories about childhood, spent both on and off leashes, before taking a bizarre turn into stories about our countries’ most notorious serious killers and unsolved crimes.

After dinner, we made the rest of the walk back to the hostel, meeting up with Haylee down in the hostel bar. We also met Christine from San Diego, Nils from Germany, and James and Matt from Australia. We bemoaned the mass of middle school students who’d rocked up to the hostel a few nights before, and roared as Josh told us about his bogan-accented encounter with a group of them who wouldn’t move out of the way of his door (“Excuse me, PLEASE!”). We also got into a debate about whether or not breaking the seal is a real thing, because that’s just the sort of odd, hilarious conversation you get into at hostels.

Nils, Mitch, Josh, and I decided we weren’t ready to end the night, so we walked up to country bar near the hostel. It was Sunday, so the place wasn’t very full. We grabbed some drinks and threw some darts until close, then grabbed late-night food at McDonald’s.

We all said goodnight when we got back to the hostel. I made sure Josh and Mitch knew not to leave without saying goodbye tomorrow. I’m so bummed to see them go, but luckily some of the others I’ve met are hanging on a bit longer. I think I might extend my stay here in Montréal, since I do have some tickets left to work with on my rail pass.

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