jessica lee journalist

Montreal update #1 by Jessica Lee

It's mid-morning and I am sitting in a bustling cafe on rue Amherst in Montreal. I'm staring out into the street sipping my cappuccino. It has just started raining and I feel lucky to have just missed the downpour.

It's almost been a week since moving to Montreal and I have to say I am enjoying it a lot.

The French seem much friendlier than Torontonians but then again, maybe they are just smiling back at me.

Though I miss Toronto and my friends back home, I am quickly settling in to my new job and life.

I started work at a hostel as a host and it's been quite the learning opportunity. I mean, I've lived in hostels all over the world, but when you work at one, you get to see the same faces over and over and you sort of get used to them in your life. I hate saying goodbyes so I've been trying not to get to close to this ever-revolving cast of characters. My coworkers, however, I know I will regret them leaving at the end of summer when they all leave to warmer weather out west.

There is a lot to blog about in Montreal. Like new places I've discovered, life at the hostel, the people I've met and how inspired I've felt after meeting them. That will all come in time.

For now, I leave you with a neighbourhood walk around the Quartier de Spectacles area. Enjoy the photos and I will talk to you again soon!

Bruges, Belgium, in black and white by Jessica Lee

On the weekend, my friend Guilhem and I went to the medieval-looking town of Bruges, Belgium. It's a beautiful town, but unfortunately, there's not much to do there.

The main attractions would probably be 1. the palace 2. the folklore museum 3. the beautiful architecture and 4. maybe the shopping, as that's what most people were doing.

I don't enjoy "touristy" towns where bad gimmicky shopping is a pastime. I also don't like being surrounded by too many tourists. I heard that after the movie In Bruges (2008) came out, the town was suddenly flooded with tourists- which can be a good thing for the economy, but I imagine slightly annoying to the residents.

Here is the main square:

Bruges has this nice canal, much like in Venice, which would have been nice to explore on a rowboat. They had a speedboat tour, but I tend to not go for pre-rehearsed, mass-information-directed tours; instead, I gravitate towards smaller, improvised tours which can allow for unique moments to happen.

I think my favourite moment in Bruges would have to be the hot chocolate we had near the end of the day. Belgium is known for it's good chocolate, and the place we went to, Bitter Sweet, was no exception.

We were brought two cups of steamed milk and told to place our dark chocolate tulips in the cups. The tulips would float, then sink to the bottom and melt into the milk. It was fun, and absolutely delicious.

Bruges would be a fun place for a day trip. I wouldn't recommend more than two days here as the cafes and chocolate shops (great as they are) will probably get old fast. The town is more suited for slow travel, as in taking the time to walk around and discover places, as opposed to a bigger city where you're always stimulated by different attractions and rushing around to get to places.

Here are more photos of the trip: