It is evening of July 6th, two days before we start our trip. We had moved out from our leased house a couple of days earlier and moved in with friends. They had thankfully offered us to stay at their home while they were away on vacation. Staying in a real home is so much nicer than going to an apartment hotel and it gave us the necessary time to fine-tune and prepare the last things for our trip. My parents in law had arrived earlier from Germany the same day and now I was just about to arrange a time to hand over our dog Sanni to the dog sitter we had found via dogvacay.com. It turned out that I couldn’t leave her later in the morning, as I learned that the dog sitter was leaving all dogs alone in her garden for eight hours, while she went to work. This never came up during the meet and greet we had a few weeks earlier. I was chocked, but luckily we could cancel with short time notice and dogvacay gave us all our money back. Thanks to good friends and their connections, we managed to find a perfect kennel – Spoiled Rotten Doggy Daycare and get all necessary tests and vaccinations right on time the following day.
1st part of the trip
On July 8th, we all worked hard to clean the house and pack the car. Finally, after a couple of hours delay, we had everything in place. I took place in the driver’s seat and turned the key – and nothing happened. It turned out that our cool box had emptied the battery. Again we were lucky to get help, this time by the neighbors and within 30 min we were able to finally start driving towards our first destination Montreal. With a pick nick break we arrived around midnight at our pre booked hotel – Hotel des Arts. It was located downtown with very friendly staff and the price-performance ratio was good. We stayed two nights and thanks to the blogger Marie-Eve Vallieres and her blog “To Europe and beyond” we got a good impression of the town and what to see. We absolutely loved the European flair of the city.
An highlight was our dinner at the restaurant La Raclette, where you could bring your own wine. We found the restaurant via TripAdvisor but when my in-laws heard that the restaurant had 4 stars, they got concerned and asked “How can you choose to go to such exclusive and expensive restaurants?”. It was the first time they came across how rating sites on the internet work and after explaining that the stars have nothing to do with Michelin, they felt more comfortable. Afterwards they would even rate the place with 5 stars :-). Heading back to the hotel they heard about our decision to take an Uber cab. As the word Uber easily can be mistaken with the German word for the “T” – U-Bahn – my mother in law got really surprised as we walked out of the restaurant, stepped right into a car and at arrival at the hotel just jumping out without paying. You never stop learning…
When I asked a young Montreal born man why he considers Montreal a great place to live in, he immediately stated “The multi-cultural dimensions in terms of religion, language, food, and culture.” He continued, “Montreal has its unique own taste, it is what it is and nothing is alike it.” Regarding the question of good deeds, he had to think for a while. Then he told me that he used to play hockey in the upper league. Through his connections in the world of hockey, he sometimes gets free slots to the ice rink and he invites kids of parents who can’t afford kids hockey lessons, for free and even coaches them. I think this is a wonderful idea as it can help young kids to spark an interest and enable them to hang on to a dream.
Another man I spoke to about good deeds defined it as follows “It is a random act of kindness – something that everyone can do every day”. He continued, “at pouring rain, give someone your umbrella and buy yourself a new one at the next dollar store or, convert your plastic bag into a poncho for someone who needs it”. Another example he mentioned was “give someone a notice to turn the wheels towards the curb to avoid a 53-dollar ticket.” I think he is absolutely right and it was exactly what we had experienced both with our dog and car a few days earlier.
What random act of kindness have you done lately? Please share it with me.