Travel

Two Days, in Montreal, in November.

Why Montreal over Thanksgiving weekend?

Cheap flights, love of Europe and desire to fly North for the winter!

How to pack in just one carry-on, dress for 30o weather?

Cold, wet weather means layers and weather-proofing for rain and snow/slushies. We wore a weather proof puffer jacket (with a hood) over a light sweater and light boots that had sole grips.

For three days (including travel) we packed three outfits all of which consisted of light sweaters, tights/pants and plenty of undergarments.

We travelled the city with a backpack since we’d immediately need to take off our coats when entering a building because of how well interior climates were managed. It was easier to smush our jackets into our backpacks rather than carry them in our arms. Not to mention carrying water, protein bars/snacks are easier in a backpack than over a shoulder any day!

For hiking days or outdoor strolls, we carried instant hand warmer packets in our gloves that gave us just enough warmth to face a 2 hour hike through Mont-Royal Park.

Our DAY-by-DAY itinerary

Travel ½ days

Snack time at Tim Hortons anywhere – get the Special French Vanilla Latte and any donut item with maple flavoring!

Stroll through your local district based on where your hotel is located.

Check out the Montreal Blog to find out other places that might interest you!

Day 1

Breakfast at Spoon Café – care for a delicious coffee early morning? Check out this gem in downtown along a hilly street filled with characteristics and charm du jour.

Mid-day snack at St-Viateur Bagel – There’s a debate amongst the locals between who makes the better bagel, Fairmount Or St-Viateur? Though we only went to St-Viateur, we recommend you make the attempt at the taste test and check out both!

Lunch to go from a halal restaurant, Azir – we were on our way to parc du Mont-Royal and we came across a halal corner shop along the way. We stopped, grabbed an elaborate plate of sausages and took it to go to eat on a bench during our gratefulness walk.

Sugar Rush at Andrée Chocolats – “Chocolat Andrée is a family story, but it’s also, quite significantly, a story about women.” Check it out to try some of the best chocolate or in our case nougat our palettes have had the pleasure of tasting.

Hike through Parc du Mont Royal – to burn off those carbs of-course! Take the easier long way and enjoy a gratitude walk with a loved one or even just yourself OR challenge yourself to new heights and take the stairs…all..the..way…up! Once your reach the observation deck, you’ll be glad you did! There are cafes there where you can get an espresso or latte to warm your soul.

Dinner at C’ChoColat – Just look at their Instagram page and tell me you’re not salivating…I dare you. We ordered the L’Italienne Crepes and the Pistache Pizzazz. No regrets. None. The sugar high and crash was all very much worth it!

Day 2

Breakfast at Café Myriade – we went to the one in collaboration with Club Monaco. For those of you who know me, you’d realize that this is my equivalent of the age-old ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. It was everything I could have dreamed of.

Stroll through RÉSO – Commonly referred to as The Underground City of Montreal, we roamed, we shopped and we snacked to our hearts content!

Lunch at a Lebanese café in the food court

Gelato Dessert from some corridor that connected to and from somewhere

Dinner at Le Taj – my man loves lamb chops. And having given me an entire afternoon of walking through an underground mall, what better way than to give him the best lamb chops in the area? The chai was meh, but the entrees and naan were entirely worth it!

Evening show of Aura Basilica Montreal – light, orchestral music and grandiose architecture combine to create a unique, three-act multimedia spectacle. All in the cathedral where Celine Dion married!

Stroll through Old Port of Montreal – walk through the historic streets of Montreal to see college students enjoy their evening among boutiques, holiday lights and historic cobblestone paths.

kun-ziarat-fatema-lotia

KUN Ziararat Care Package

Arbaeen 1438 (Nov 2016) I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Iraq, Karbala and Najaf, for pilgrimage.

Below are my recommended care package items that i would give someone who is going on the trip.

  • Powder washing detergent
  • Ziplock bags
  • Candy (to hand out to kids)
  • Trail mix bag (for yourself)
  • Scarf (for men or women)
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Cash

Below are maps of the Harams in Najaf and Karbala. They may come in handy when you’re trying to orient yourself amongst the crowd.

Haram-Imam-Ali-AS

Haram-Imam-Hussain-AS

There is no real way to prepare yourself for the KUN Ziarat if you have the opportunityINSA for going. it seems like every visit , brings with it different emotions. I had to make a list of the things i am grateful for and the things i wanted to pray for including forgiveness of my sins. When i left home i was scared, not for my safety since i have always been a believer that if it is my time to go, then nothing i do would be able to stop the inevitable. The fear i was feeling had more to do with facing an Imam who knows all my sins and weaknesses as i am today. Its something that i don’t think anyone can truly get over. We simply have to face it, with open hearts and pure intensions of paying our respects in this lifetime, as that in itself is one of the greatest blessings.

When you come home, it’s an emotional ride. On the one hand, you feel energized and ready to show the world how you embody the spirit of Imam Hussain A.S.. On the other, you feel the sorrow that comes with having not been there during that battle. Not having done enough ibaadat. Not believing where you had gone and come from.

It’s a life changing experience that one should make at least once in their lifetimes and, in my opinion, early in their lives rather than later. The way it moves your soul and changes your perspective on life and every day. I hope that in reading this article, you have found the inspiration to make your trip for KUN Ziarat, that you feel emotionally ready and have packed the bare essentials. May your trip be blessed in every way.

Planning a trip to Paris?

C’est La Vie! La Vie Est Belle!

Things to do while in Paris:

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

champselysees

Champs-Élysées: Wear shoes you can walk in!

Known for its theatres, cafés and luxury shops. Check out some of the great designers that are based in Paris but don’t forget to take a photo of the Arc de Triomphe. Make sure to dress well but wear comfortable shoes, its almost 2km from start to finish and that doesnt include shopping trips along the way.

Looking for a 7alaal bite on the beautiful avenue? Check out these restaurants:

  • Le Baron – Lebanese
  • Le Crystal Paris – French authentic
  • Le Butcher – Burgers
  • Paul Boulangerie et Patisserie – Bakery (try the chocolate beignets, they’re delicious!)
it's worth your weight in carbs!

Paul Boulangerie et Patisserie: it’s worth your weight in carbs!

 

Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Sacré-Cœur: It's a hike up and well worth the view

Sacré-Cœur: It’s a hike up and well worth the view

A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Make sure to take your selfie stick and/or wide angle lens because of the breathtaking panoramic views of Paris from the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.
If you’re planning to have a picnic on the stairs, check out these fares nearby:

  • Le Tricycle – A veggie hotdog street-food bike
Healthy hot dogs to go. (they do exist!)

Le Tricycle: Healthy hot dogs to go. They do exist!

 

Paris Museum of Modern Art

Check out these restaurants nearby:

  • Tokyo Eat – its quite popular with the Parisiens, plan to eat vegetarian if you’re searching for 7alaal

 

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-dame: You can almost hear Victor Hugo's hunchback.

Notre-dame: You can almost hear Victor Hugo’s hunchback.

Check out these restaurants nearby:

  • Maison de Gyros – known to serve some of the best Greek and Turkish food in Paris

 

Palais-Royal/Cardinal Versailles museum 

Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th Arrondissement

Fantastic garden views, children play with boats and sculptures all around - Oh My!

Fantastic garden views, children play with boats and sculptures all around – Oh My!

Pont Alexandre III Bridge

Get lost in the medieval alleys of the Latin Quarter

Latin Quarter: Enjoy the local bites at every corner while soaking in the experience of paris on foot.

Latin Quarter: Enjoy local bites while soaking in the experience of paris on foot.