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Our recent trip to Montreal was the first time my brother and I have voluntarily travelled together. We visit each other in our respective cities, but there’s something different about taking a trip together – something that can lead to hands at throats if people aren’t compatible. I wasn’t worried, since Steve and I get along well. I consider him a friend and he’s the one person who’s been there for me my whole life.

(If you don’t have an older brother, I highly recommend you get one. In fact, in case this has been too sappy, let me add that some days I’d beg you to take mine.)

We timed the trip for the Montreal Jazz Festival, although that was more or less an excuse for making a decision about a time and place. Don’t get me wrong, the fest was a huge draw, too, but I’m not a big jazz fan.

Jazz Fest is more than jazz, and Montreal has one of the the biggest in the world. There’s blues, funk, and pretty straight-ahead pop and rock. The B-52s were the closing act, for example – though we weren’t around for them. The names we missed out on should give you a taste of the fest’s variety (and our lack of advance planning): Prince, Robert Frampton, Diana Krall, Sade.

And our trip to Montreal was more than Jazz Fest. I did this with Egypt as a low-effort way to get some pictures and trip comments posted, so I’m doing it again – here’s illustrated tweets of my Montreal trip:

Heading to Montreal on Saint Jean Baptiste Day, which Québécois celebrate by hating anglophones. (Not really. I hope.)

Front desk woman at charming, quaint hotel is charming, quaint. Broke her heart we were too tired to join Saint Jean Baptiste celebrations.

Our hotel, which had been one of Canada’s first post offices.


What to do the first rainy day in Montreal? Visit Indiana Jones, of course.

No pictures were allowed in the exhibit but there were props and cosutmes from the movies as well as some fascinating sections on real-life adventures in archaeology, like deciphering Mayan writing and interpreting the Nazca lines in Peru.


Absorbing the atmosphere of Old Montreal.





Going to see the cutest little Chinese terra cotta warriors (yup still raining).

The signs in the Metro leading you to the exhibit. I’m sure the First Emperor would be thrilled to have his legacy be so cute.

One of the actual terracotta warriors on display. No pictures were allowed in this exhibit either, so this is a promo image.


Not so much a marching band as meandering band of New Orleans jazz.



Gorgeous sunny, lazy day in Montreal. Chilling on grass near Olympic Stadium after ride up tower, debating pros & cons of ever getting up.


We took the funicular up the tower for a spectacular view.


No guitars exploded at Guitar Explosion but between that & Blitz The Ambassador, some great blues & hiphop/Afrobeat/funk.

(Check out the Ambassador’s insane trombone player – loved him so much.)


Hoping Bootsy Collins rejoins his band onstage at some point. S: “Maybe a Bootsy concert is like a Krusty the Clown summer camp.”

(I couldn’t get any good shots of Bootsy but check out this photographer’s pics of the show.)

The Trombone Shorty/Bootsy Collins concert was good, except Bootsy came on for a few songs then left the stage for a long time, leaving his band to go it alone. He came back, did a couple of songs with his back to the audience, and left again. As did much of the audience.


Got a little lost getting to Mount Royal. Me: Well, it’s not the destination but the journey that counts. S: This journey kinda sucks.

We took an unnecessary train, waited for ages for a bus that didn’t come, got off at the wrong stop, but finally made it to the top of the (snicker) “mountain” at the centre of Montreal.

Steve hates getting his picture taken, and hates having it posted even more. But THIS is the pic he tells me I can post.


Great show by Fitz and the Tantrums at the Montreal Jazz Fest. Fitz is sporting the same hairstyle as Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element. Works for him.

(Steve pointed out after I tweeted this that I’d been saying Fitz’s lopsided bangs made me want to grab a pair of scissors. But, you know, the guy’s a lovely oddball – it did suit him.)


Ate tonight in a fabulous yet whimsical French restaurant with … this as napkins (used to be a clothing store).

Montreal 146

Montreal 165


Last night here. I’ll miss you Montreal. Maybe not the bacteria and yeast factory we kept passing, though.

No picture, and wouldn’t be the same without Smell-o-Vision anyway, but I wasn’t kidding.