North from Montreal, the bus headed toward the Laurentian mountains, where I was off to visit Mont Tremblant and my friend Tom who lived there. Confusingly, Mont Tremblant turned out to be the name of three villages, the old village, the settlement of Saint Jovite and the ski town. Saint Jovite was a quaint street of galleries, coffee shops and a stroll along the river. I then got on the little local bus that connects the area, but accidentally got off at the Old Mont Tremblant village and in confessing my mistake to a local, hitched a ride to the third and final, the ski village on the hill. There, a little standing gondola took passengers to the base of the alpine lifts, but on strolling up I passed many little colourful houses, shops and restaurants, eventually happening upon some music in the pavillion. Tom and Lia were finishing work for the day and they began my tour through the village to the important hang out spots, then on to the lake. Tom’s family lived in a beautiful house surrounded by forest where deer could be seen traipsing through the garden. That night we were to head to a party with Tom and Lia’s workmates, a chance to see more of the beautiful big houses of Mont Tremblant. The conversation flitted between English and French, and there was an ongoing tournament of Beer Pong to keep things interesting.
The next morning we headed back to the mountain so Tom could show me the Ziplining that he worked at. I was lucky enough to join a tour, so we loaded into the gondola and rose up through the trees. From this vantage point we could see the rolling mountains of the Laurentians with their heavy tree cover, as well as the weather weaving and darting through the surrounding valleys. Mont Tremblant takes its name from a French interpretation of the first nations word, meaning the trembling mountain. Sometimes the heavy spring water run off causes the mountain to shake and the local band talked of this as being the god of natures doing.
In the evening I enjoyed dinner with Tom’s family who joked along, speaking English for my benefit and allowing me the VIP seat at the head of the table. I felt so welcomed into this beautiful part of the world.
The next morning, Tom and I took e-bikes out to peddle around the area. It was a glimpse of the outdoors lifestyle that over breakfast Tom’s family discussed whether they should kayak, cycle, hike or climb that day. With the peddle assist it was easy to scratch off kilometres, barely feeling the hills. We passed lakeside beaches, the old train station and the race track. Many others were out peddling or running in this year round sporty community. We darted into the national park, following beautiful tree lined trails until we came across a lake. Purple fowers grew throughout the undergrowth and many birds busied themselves with their daily routine. The trails were marked green, blue and black and with our assistance we were able to power up the black trails but still panic coming down the other side! As the rain flitted on and off, we sought shelter under trees and signs and then continued on our journey out of the park and up to the mountain village, doing a full loop of the surroundings.
We drove around the rolling farmlands, sighting traditional bridges and amazing rock faces. We laughed at how great we looked as dressed up in fancy dress at the thrift store. I met Lia’s family who are anglophone but of course, bilingual also. From them I learnt that in Quebec it is acceptable, or even encourage to eat cheese curds from the bag in one sitting. This is great news. That evening Tom’s family were celebrating a birthday and again I was welcomed to share a delicious meal, drinks and a family tournament of Beer Pong. A super fun few days.