19th of July 2015 17:40, day 204
Montreal
Fireworks, food and friends

Montreal was fantastic company, great food, cozy shopping and miles and miles of walking. It was pretty unbeatable, and I am so happy I got a chance to spend time with Erica again.

We arrived late in the evening, and after dumping our luggage over all available floor space, and tasting Alexandra's cupcakes, Erica took us out for some scrumptious sushi. She then proceeded to hand over her bed to me and Jeppe, and another unoccupied bed to Caroline. Pure luxury after our camping trip in Alberta.

Since then we've been walking all over town, eating in restaurants with consistently high quality meals. Apparently, Montreal has an abundance of great food. And we've been sampling all we could handle.

With Erica busy during normal working hours, we took the opportunity to shop some more, go to Notre Dame Bacilica, get misled to a MEC with no outdoor gear, go to the beautiful Mont Royal which gave Montreal it's name, and go training.

We found a great club - Gracie Barra Montreal, and trained twice. It was exhilarating to be back on the mats after 3 weeks break, and I somehow managed to get myself a bruised eyelid. We may or may not have been a bit sore afterwards!

Apparently, there's a huge fireworks competition that takes place in Montreal every summer. And Erica has the inside scoop of how to best watch it. That would be from the building where her friend Violetta lives. Rooftop terrace with a view of the park where the competition is held. That's what we did with our evening. Chatted and drank lovely white wine while watching Canada's contribution to the competition. Hell yes.

The only slight drawback is that the weather here is pretty nuts. Hot and humid, especially in the evenings.

In the weekend, Erica had more time. While we'd originally discussed renting a car and going to Mont Tremblant to do some hiking, the weather forecast of thunder storms put a break to those plans. Sometime Friday, Erica happened to mention that she's never tried climbing and really wanted to. So that's what we did Saturday - we went climbing at the nearby Allez Up.

This also meant that Jeppe and Caroline spent a good part of Friday evening reading up and practicing the stuff you need to know to be allowed to belay. Luckily, they passed the test at Allez Up while Erica and I tried our hands at bouldering.

After being belayed by Jeppe and Caroline a few times, and unsuccessfully trying to shake out the fatique in our forearms, Erica and I had our first experience with an auto-belay system. It would be safe to say that neither of us were filled with trust the first time we had to let go of the wall. With the auto-belay system, it feels like you're falling too fast for the first half second or so, before it slows down to a comfortable speed. That would be enough time to think "oh shit!", in case you're wondering.

We rounded off our trip with Argentinian stakes together with Eri and Chris. And everything tasted good. The starters, the mojitos, the caprinhas and especially the steaks. Then we went hoe and spent half an hour trying to find my passport. Montreal, did I mention it's been fantastic?

Did I mention that the police force in Montreal is protesting some financial reforms? As they are not allowed to go on strike, they're wearing colourful trousers instead.