In the past month, I went home for the holidays to visit family, friends and remind me of the beauty of Montreal during winter. It’s nice, cold and white. During the holiday season, there was not a whole lot of snowing, but enough for it to remain beautiful without the hassle. Turns out that after I left, Montreal got hit by quite a snowstorm, which I missed. I love snow storms because of the nice and awesome quality you get down the slopes while snowboarding. Turns out two weeks is a very short period of time to go visit family and friends as I didn’t have the chance to see everyone I wanted and to go snowboarding. Instead, I focused on family and the nearby friends I could reach out to. One of the other things I concentrated on is taste.
The unique tastes I find and remember of this city. That amazing stack of ribs at Ice House on the plateau Mont-Royal or my favorite coffee at Café Vito, this city never disappoints me when it comes to food and the fulfilling dishes I get while I’m there. But the holidays are behind us, so am I back in China? Well, I’m actually still traveling…
I’m currently writing from Leipzig where I’m staying with a dear friend of mine. That’s in Germany. And although my friend told me multiple times that winter in Germany is not the sexiest time of the year, I still wanted to celebrate her birthday that is in January. So blame the parents for the unsexy season she was born into.
I woke up first in Berlin quite early as it was still dark outside. Turns out it was 10AM and the grey sky killed off the morning for me. During my short stay in the city, I was hit by rain, snow and everything in between. It was hard to fully enjoy Berlin, but I’ve seen enough of it to want to visit again in better weather conditions.
Leipzig has been dwelling in a very similar type of weather. But after pushing through the jetlag and the grey sky, I discover the community and spirit of this little city (with over 600k habitants, it’s not so little, but still). This place is growing and while it offers a diverse and old architecture, you are confronted to the mix of the buildings recently renovated that look quite amazing to the contrasting abandoned buildings that offer their own sense of beauty. And while you get captivated by this contrast, you find in between them, the hidden and beautiful life of the city. The small communal restaurants that offer local food, vegan food and environment friendly food like I’ve never seen before. Local businesses encouraging local farmers by buying fresh and nearby. From land to table doesn’t even makes sense as a unique sales proposition here as it’s such a common practice. And it’s all about the community spirit. Living in China makes you forget that spirit more often then what not. We spend so much time running, so much time working, and the chaos is so intense that variety and quality takes a toll, replaced by quick and cheap solution.
I can say that I forgot all about the grey weather and the mix of snow and rain. I ended up enjoying being surrounded by this communal vibe that invites your taste buds to try new foods while still simple at their core. This vibe that invites start ups and artists alike to build on top of a city that has much to offer in terms of inspiration and trendy work places. And it invites one to try the amazing cakes made by a passionate young girl already carrying the reputation of “Cake Fairy” in the surrounding neighborhood at a nearby coffee named RoestGut that will not offer WiFi, encouraging instead conversation between its visitors randomly popping in for their coffee, roasted on location.
Given it’s been a while since I last wrote for myself, this place has inspired me enough to make me want to share this pleasant experience that will have me come for more, in better weather conditions. As my friend described the city to me, the city is very calm during winter and bursting with life during summer. And yet, this calm life charmed me enough to want more of it.
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