Bienvenue a Montreal
I am back on the road with work - this time that road has taken me (and a fair few others in the duty free industry) out to Montreal in Canada.
We touched down late last night to the encouraging news from the captain that it was -5 degrees outside. It put the "freezing" 7 degrees in London in context.
The problem with travelling for conferences is that you often do not get to see much of the interesting places you go to. Earlier in the year I was in Guangzhou, China, for a week. On my return when people asked what the city is like I had to admit that I didn't really know.
So when we get a bit of downtime we try to make the most of it.
We landed on Saturday evening and the event kicks off tonight (Sunday) with the opening cocktails; so that gave us a bit of time to have a look around. Therefore, this morning I hit the town with Liam - the digital editor of one of the other duty free magazines.
We discovered our hotel is located in the quiet and business district of the city. To the east of us is the French quarter, where boutique stores and restaurants populate small streets; to the north is Chinatown and out east is downtown and the Mont-Royal.
Besides giving its name to the city, Mont-Royal is also the focus of my favourite fact about Montreal - skyscrapers built in the city are not allowed to be taller than the mountain, so that is remains the feature of the cityscape.
After 8 hours flying and then a night's sleep, a climb seemed like the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning - after we had tucked into some breakfast. Dropping into the brilliantly named Eggspectation. Once inside I figured I had to sample the dish which proudly claims to be the restaurant's "speciality". This is the Eggstravaganza.
After our meal Liam and I joined the host of joggers and orienteering folk climbing the steps and paths which wend their way up the slope.
And this was the view we reached.
I would say that was worth the trip. With the cold winter weather giving the city a wonderfully festive feel we trekked round the summit to find the advertised "Croix du Mont-Royal". I am going to let you own have your own thoughts on this.
If you're wondering, yes that is a giant metal cross with lightbulbs on.
Fully exercised, we headed back down to stroll downtown. Oh and ran into a film set - as you do.