City Lights

The view from Mount Royal

Vincent Van Patten
3 min readNov 30, 2021


Shot by Vincent Van Patten

I’m at the top of Mount Royal, looking down at the city below. It’s dusk — the lights of the city are starting to come on. The lights turn the sky purple, hazy blue, a fading pink as the sun falls low.

Montreal, you are absolutely stunning. The vibe feels like a sleek modern city with European charm; the architecture is a gothic style like Paris, with green iron cathedrals that give the city heart. The boulevards are wide and the streets are quaint, then there’s this mountain in the middle, Mount Royal. What a special thing it is to travel. To see another part of the world that has its quirks and history, a distinguishable essence.

It makes me happier than anything to get a feel for a city. After talking to a few locals and getting the lay of the land, it starts to make sense. The pieces come together. I feel the pulse, the passion, the style.

I’m looking out at snow-dusted building tops, a city buried in a layer of snow. I can see my breath; the air is so clean and crisp.

There’s a Christmas tree in a courtyard glowing below the mountain. The holidays are here — what a gift to experience the world turn. How quick the time goes. People keep asking why we came here for travel — I love that — I love this. This is why.

Looking at city lights, with joy in my heart, a smile on my face.

I walked through McGill University on my way here. There’s nothing like university spirit; the energy and historic buildings, a part of the culture. It reminds me of The Name of the Wind. In the book the main character attends The University — there’s one in all the land.

You go to study magic and other fantastical medieval subjects, such as sygaldry and iron-work, all that jazz. I love that book. Reading it did change me; it imbued my imagination with a childlike wonder. The second one in the Kingkiller Chronicle, The Wise Man’s Fear, is just as wonderful.

I’m so damn lucky to be doing this. To travel with my best friends and experience life — it makes me happier than anything. You live and you learn, but what’s the point if we’re not enjoying our time on this beautiful planet.

It’s November 30th, the last day of this writing challenge to post a story every day. Doing this made me trust my instincts; I hope to write from the heart and share who I am.

There’s so much to explore in this world; we grow as people, the seasons change, we learn about who we are as we journey forth. It lights my soul on fire to share this journey with you. The sky is dark and the city lights have come on; time to make something of it.

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Vincent Van Patten

Exploring what lights my soul on fire ❤️‍🔥 Living in Japan. For my writing, podcast, photography and much more, check out