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First time I ever traveled abroad I went to Canada to stay with my best friend, then to tour the States, on my own. Quite an ambitious plan, and a bit overwhelming, considering that I had no travel agency arrange things for me like hotels and transportation, but that was the optimism of youth.
I had flown Lufthansa with a stopover in Frankfurt for the change of flight to Montreal. The airport was huge and I had to change terminals, so by the time I reached the right terminal and the proper gate I was in near panic and barely made it on board before they closed the doors. Relief. Now I had a few hours where I couldn’t go wrong.
I flew in to Canada end of October, and my impression of Canada before getting there, is that of a cold, cold country, with freezing snow covering everything. So, when hours later, the plane landed, my first thought was: is it supposed to stop somewhere else before getting to Montreal? My ticket didn’t say anything about that. Out of the window was that gorgeous site of trees full of those golden brown leaves, the sun was shining and the air so clear, it crackled. Where on earth was I? Did I get on the right plane? I had to collect my hand luggage and shuffle out of the door, nothing can be done just sitting there. I followed the people out, trooped along with them till we reached the carousel for our luggage. One of the things that kept me guessing where I was, was the fact that we were early. So it must have been a shorter distance than Canada! But where? It was all ocean before that. I collected my luggage then headed for customs. I thought now I will find out what I should do to get to my right destination. The moment I stepped up to the customs official he said “Welcome to Montreal”. Relief….
I went through customs without a hitch, very quickly, and was free to go. But my friend was not there. Panic! What would I do if she doesn’t show up? Where would I go? For the life of me I could not remember her address. I stood there for a few minutes, panic increasing. Then looking up to the balcony, there she was waving at me and practically jumping up and down. I nearly broke down and cried with relief.
Finally I was out of the airport, my friend was there, I started to feel safe again. My first question to my friend was: what happened to Canada? Where is the snow? She laughed and told me to keep my fingers crossed. This was an Indian Summer. Whatever that summer’s nationality was, it was beautiful. I had never seen such colors of leaves. The beauty was breathtaking. A symphony of brown, red and gold. My first impression of Montreal, Canada was very positive indeed.

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