Re - Discovering "apporter votre vin" in the heart of old Montreal

Parched.  Dry as dust.  Cotton-mouthed.  Dehydrated.  At this point most anything will suffice, whether sugar-laden pop, warm tap water or even a lukewarm coffee will do the trick, as long as it’s a liquid beverage of the soothingly refreshing kind.  Heck.  It doesn’t even have to have a smidgen of alcohol in it, though, that would most definitely be an added benefit.   Let me tell you, in no uncertain terms, that traipsing around for miles on end requires gallons of sustenance, whether libations of the intoxicatingly numbing kind or aqua of the splish splashing satisfying kind.

Meandering along cobble stone rues and avenues, schlepping truckloads of souvenirs, as well as carting a library of maps and travel journals requires not only strength, but bucket-loads of fortitude as well.  I was in dire straits, beyond exhausted, my weary pink-sneaker clad feet aching and throbbing from having ambled aimlessly since early morn, my raw and bleeding blisters an oozing testament to the dozens of kilometers traversed.

On a mission of “pretend tourist” in my hometown of Montreal, I had embarked on an adventure like none other, determined to experience the flavour and feel of the city exclusively from a foreigner’s perspective.  Camera in one hand, pen and paper in the other, I strove to document anything and everything that caught my eye, as if appreciating this unique metropolis for the very first time.  Having re-located to another province some dozens of years ago, I have always viewed myself first and foremost as a Montrealer, a displaced French Canadian gal at heart - so it was quite a lot of fun to sport the tourist hat and immerse myself into the heart and soul of the city and become just another inquisitive visitor.

Yet, here I was, scampering about the well-trodden paths of old Montreal, desperate to bandage my calloused tootsies and languish the afternoon away sipping on bubbly and munching on crudités, on a never-ending hunt for a patio with a view.  And so it was either by chance, perchance or sheer luck that the first bistro I spied turned out to be a curiosity of sorts, a BYOB (bring your own booze) type of restaurant.  Could it be?  How could I possibly have forgotten that such establishments even existed?  Had I really been away from la belle province for that long?

Failing to notice the prominently placed “apporter votre vin” (bring your own wine) sign, I hobbled on in, imploring the waiter to fetch me, lickety-split, a large glass of aqua, as well as a humongous light ale.  On that note, better make it two.

 “Madame” (what? No Mademoiselle?), “we don’t serve alcoholic beverages, but you can go across the street to the déppaneur, where you can purchase your own wine or beer to bring back”.  Say whaaaaaaaat?  Good thing that I was practically a “local”, as I knew the drill, having made that same mad dash to the convenience store way back in the day.  Blistered swollen feet be damned, my marathon jaunt across the cobble stone avenue took all of three minutes and my pink-sneaker clad tootsies were back in a flash, contentedly nestled snug as a bug in a rug on the quaintest of patios in record time!  Olympics, here I come!!  Bronze medal or Gold, you decide!!

My neatly lined up cans of Bud Light Lime drew quite the appreciative stare from prospective dining patrons, tourists from all sorts of far-away locales, who were dumb-founded beyond belief when informed by Monsieur Waiter that alcoholic beverages are not sold at the restaurant but at the grocery store down the street.  Provided that one orders a meal from the dining establishment, one is free to consume one’s own wine or beer, a win-win scenario for both parties, if I must say!  Plus, no corkage fee and they even recycle your empties!

Needless to say, I had the most entertaining of afternoons, observing human puzzlement in progress, where my impromptu survey yielded the most interesting of results.  My keen powers of analysis thus concluded that most people who traipsed into the bistro were tourists of the clue-less kind, thrown into a conundrum of “what to do” when confronted with the choice of either staying put and sipping on lemonade or making that mad dash down the street for that oh so soothing liquid libation of the inebriating kind.  Giggling hysterically at the serious tete-a-tetes, the confused paralysis of an entire tour group and the shrieking hoopla’s of a pack of twenty-some-things, I was front-row center to indecision in action. 

Snickering along with the best of them, I devised quite the interesting game of “will they or won’t they hightail it across the street?” and nine times out of ten, I had pegged my subjects with a 99% percent degree of accuracy.  And, what does that tell you?  Don’t know, except that, if ever questioned, I’ve got a wealth of information to share for a future study on decision making for tourists of the unsuspecting kind.

And, on that note, hold that thought, while I excuse myself for a couple of minutes as I skedaddle on over to the store for a tetra pack of vino and then some more….

Come hang out with me in Montreal as I devote the rest of my week-long trip to scouting out “bring your own wine” restaurants as I tour museums, historic sights and partake in a multitude of tourist activities in my quest to be just another clued-out wanderer on the hunt for a patio with a view.

Side note – my entire meal came out to less than $15.00 for my Pizza Margherita, while my six-pack of brewskies set me back a whopping $10.00 bucks!  You do the math.  Where do you think that I wined and dined for the remainder of my stay in culturally historic and oh so French Montreal?

Service was impeccable at Giorgio’s and I was able to languish the afternoon away indulging in my favourite pastime of people watching, observing and imbibing, as only a pink-sneaker clad ol’ Auntie can do.  With age comes privilege. 

Stay tuned for more adventures of the wacky old Bag (who, moi??).

Next post – Wed August 13th – I will be on a summertime schedule and will be posting every second Wednesday for the months of July and August only.  I will be back to regular Wednesday posting September onwards.  

No worries – will be scribbling about The Kid’s hilarious escapades in Portugal soon.  Preview:  Airline lost her luggage on Day One!!  Yikes!!  Stay tuned!!

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