"A vacation is like love; anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, yet remembered with nostalgia."~ Anon.
You know you've hit on the right Airbnb when this quote is posted on the door leading to your apartment. The skeptic might say, "Oh, sure, this is the owner's subtle way of warning us that the plumbing is cranky, the WiFi is spotty and you might have trouble opening the windows." But, if the truth be told, the whole idea of 'vacation', in fact, should have very little to do with comfort, ease and convenience. It should be all about the unknown, the unseen, the yet-to-be-found, and those of us who are perfectly comfortable with 'discomfort' fully understand that this is what makes a vacation truly memorable.
This concept becomes even more acute when you get that 'favorable' variety of anxiety in a city that you've visited often, over a period of 30+ years. For me, Montreal is that city. Yes, I can navigate my way around the Metro (including the sometimes temperamental ticket kiosks) in my sleep, and I can figure out the quirky parking regulation signage (just kidding, I'm still having trouble with that!) but every time we visit, something new awaits us, something exciting, something different. This trip gave us a record-setting March blizzard, delivering over 20" of snow over a 36-hour period, yet I could think of few other places one would rather be than a major Canadian city in a snowstorm. Nothing really changes much: schools remain open, your boss expects you to be on time just like any other day, and restaurants, pubs and coffeehouses are bustling.
The whole place is blanketed in a thick layer of white, you put on your best snow boots, tuck 'le sac' under your arm and head to the market for lunch provisions and the boulangerie for a fresh baguette or two, stopping in the nearest SAQ to pick up a bottle of red wine on the return walk home. If the spirit moves you, duck into the old bar a few doors away for a local beer (or two). When you get back, the toilet might not flush properly and the radiators are still making that funny noise but you've been given just the right amount of discomfort to make this vacation even more memorable than the last. Montreal alors!