Three weeks ago I took a, somewhat spontaneous, trip to Canada with my college sorority sister Maryam. Last year I saw the lineup for OSHEAGA and it was incredible. I had never heard of the festival so I looked it up and saw that it was in Montréal, in my head I was like, "Well that settles that. There's no way I'm going to Canada for a music festival". So, fast forward to several months back and I thought to myself "hmm... I wonder who's playing OSHEAGA this year". So I go on the site, the lineup is, of course amazing, as you can see here:
It just so happens that, I went on the OSHEAGA site the day before the tickets went on sale! If you know anything about me, you know that I took that as a sign. Tickets, if I remember correctly were $235 each and I had just received a $400 bonus which, of course, to me, was another sign. So, the next day, I bought two tickets!
Come to find out, long story short, my boyfriend wasn't able to attend and so begun the scramble to find someone willing to go to Canada with me for the festival. Luckily, Miss Maryam is quite the world traveling music enthusiast and, after some thought, gave me an excited "YES!" and the planning begun.
Maryam decided to use air miles for her flights and I, of course, chose to fly the cheapest that I could soooo we flew separately and while yes, TECHNICALLY I'm an adult, I was a little scared to fly that far on my own. My longest flight (by myself) was from Orange County to San Francisco. Which, is only a little over an hour and I don't feel like really even counts.
We decided to make the trip Monday-Monday to explore the city a bit before the festival because, if you're going all that way, might as well make a trip out of it.
My first flight landed in Toronto and had a bit of a rough landing which, of course, got me anxious but I had another flight to catch from Toronto to Montréal. Lucky for me, after we boarded we were told that our plane "failed a battery test" and that it would be about an hour to replace it. Clearly, that gave me plenty of time to psych myself out and convince myself that I was going to die on this plane. Obviously *SPOILER ALERT* I didn't die but I was definitely happy once we landed in Montréal and I didn't have to worry about being on another plane for a week.
Maryam had already landed, of course, because of my delay, but we found each other easily, hopped in a cab and headed to our hotel. Gouverneur Hotel: Place Dupuis Montreal. I can't say enough great things about our hotel. It was in the perfect location and the staff was extraordinary. When we were looking for hotels three weeks before our trip, I kid you not, EVERY HOTEL was booked for the week (because of the festival I'm assuming). After hours of searching, we booked the Gouverneur reluctantly because it was really, all that was available but it ended up being absolutely perfect.
We arrived in Montréal a little after dinner time. We took a look outside of our hotel window and saw this sea of pink that we had to check out. Turns out it was for Aires Libres, an artistic event taking place on St. Catherine. It was awesome to see.
We walked St. Catherine and had dinner at a little sports bar and headed to bed to get ready to spend the next day exploring.
*I apologize if you're my Facebook friend or if you follow me in Instagram because these are all the same photos (some unfiltered though, lucky you ;) haha)*
We decided to wander St. Catherine during the day and found a cute little cafe to have lunch.
We also had to stop for a photo op with a crescent that we spotted (our sorority symbol).
We spent the next few days soaking in as much of the city as we could. Asking locals, like our waitresses what we should do while we were there. We really wanted to see Montréal, not just the tourist attractions.
It's hard to see but we spotted another crescent (this time, as a street sign).
When in Rome... er... Montréal... I decided to test out poutine. Poutine is a Canadian dish, originally from Quebec, made with french fries, brown gravy and cheese curds. Sounds gross I know, and Maryam was not fond but I tried it and it really wasn't bad and I don't really even like gravy. Trying it just the once was enough for me though.
We decided to hop in a photobooth that was at the metro station and inside it, on the curtain it said "FUCK USA", a little disheartening, but didn't keep up from taking photos. Haha.
One of my absolute favorite nights was when we wondered over to Old Montréal and found this little pizza place. We ordered a pitcher of sangria and had such a great time chatting and laughing. Our waitress was so wonderful and friendly and gave us great pointers on things to do in the area. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
On Friday (day one of OSHEAGA) I decided to go with a braided alter-ego.
The weather was perfect and the crowd was great.
Clearly, I cant resist the fun in the fact that OSHEAGA has my name in it.
H&M was giving out these "sunglasses" but they couldn't be worn for long without feeling like beer goggles and making you want to throw up. Maryam even handed hers off to another girl because they made her so sick. Haha.
They had these booths set up, I think there were five of them, where you could scan your wristband and it would take your picture and post them to your facebook for you (you just had to register your wristband when you got it). It was pretty cool but the photo angle and quality wasn't the greatest.
On day two I decided to be a flower child with this crazy over sized flower headband. Haha.
Pretty much as soon as we got there I grabbed a beer.
The girl that took this photo saw the beer in my hand and said "A beer this early? You're a warrior". Haha. (Mind you it was like noon, maybe 1pm, not THAT early, right? Haha)
When you've got Irish blood in your veins, it's never to early to start drinking.
You'd be surprised the reactions we got from people when we told them we came all the way out from LA. They were in shock that we traveled so far.
Tegan and Sara were incredible. (As a surprise they also joined Mackelmore when he sang "Same Love" later in the day and, I kid you not, I almost cried. It was so beautiful).
And start the day with a beer of course. Haha.
Side Note: the drink options were so odd. The choices were, you could buy a beer OR you could buy a shot of Jager or Vodka poured by these girls, standing around and selling them. OR there was wine, but it was like a fruit wine that tasted like Jell-O. So, beer it was.
We got there nice and early on the third day because Twin Forks was starting off the day. If you're unfamiliar, Twin Forks is Chris Carrabba's new band.
There was this awesome "Chill Area" to hang out that had free wifi and chairs and hammocks set up for if you needed a break from the crowds or the sun. (or were just looking for a good place to take some pics. Haha.)
Overall the trip was such a great experience and it was good for me to get away and get my mind off of things for awhile. Maryam was a great travel buddy and the gigglefests that we got into were priceless. OSHEAGA was great and the venue was incredible. If it weren't for being on a plane for so long, I'd already be looking into buying tickets to next years festival. As I mentioned in my last post, coming home was pretty hard because, generally, after doing any traveling, I spend the next day on the phone with my grandma telling her all about it and hearing all about her experiences there (She had literally traveled everywhere so no matter where you went, she had stories from there too). I smiled on my flights when things got bumpy and, like I usually do, I told myself "just imagine you're in a bus". We discovered not long before losing my grandma that she did the very same thing on flights! My mom thought it was the weirdest thing. I'm lucky that I share so much with her from my fear of flying, to my crooked pinkie, to my ornery sense of humor. There's a little piece of her in everything that I do and while oftentimes its more bitter than sweet, it's a good reminder of her wonderful influence on my life.
A special thanks to Miss Maryam for coming with me. It was a trip that I'll never forget.