Before moving abroad we agreed it would be silly of us not to travel and see as much of America as time and money would allow. So far we have been to Dallas, Ithaca in New York, Niagara Falls and will be heading to New York City next month.
Last week Ian was travelling to Denver, Colorado, otherwise known as the mile high city, so I decided to tag along. Denver is exactly one mile high, 5280 feet above sea level, located at the base of the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains.
We arrived in Denver around 10:30pm (two hours behind Philly) and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel, The Grand Hyatt. First impressions; taxi’s, roads and people seemed nicer than Philly, driving – just as erratic.
The Grand Hyatt is right in the center of Downtown Denver, only two blocks away from 16th Street Mall, which is where all the action is for shopping, eating and drinking. I’m always excited when staying in hotels, I love seeing all the different rooms, and I’m especially pleased when there are free biscuits. (I’ve just remembered when we first arrived in Philly and there was an ice bucket in the hotel room, which I thought was a biscuit tin. HA.) The hotel was really nice and you may know how much I love a good bathroom, I can confirm the humongous waterfall shower that stretched the full length of the wall was up to my standards.
We had the full Saturday to ourselves, so after having breakfast at Syrup, we hired a car and headed up the Rocky Mountains. I am a massive wimp so was a little bit nervous about the roads, some of which were closed due to snow, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was of course the passenger, this was not the time for me to try out driving in America for the first time.
Ian had done his research and headed up the outskirts of the mountains visiting Bear Lake, Sprague Lake and Estes Park. Surprisingly the roads were really nice, smooth and well laid out, I barely had to fake brake with my right foot.
As we drove around I was on wildlife spotting duty, at one point we were at stand still as deer crossed the road and we also stopped to take photos of some Elks which was exciting. As you can imagine the views of the Rocky Mountains are stunning, at times it felt a little bit like we were in the movies – I still haven’t gotten to grips that everything in America looks just as it does on TV. The weather was cold but fresh, and the sun was shining. On the way back we stopped off at Estes Park, a nice little village filled with shops and restaurants, where we had a burger before setting off back to the hotel.
The Botanic Gardens were really nice and worth a visit, as well as a good opportunity to practice your photography skills if you’re into that kind of thing. In my opinion it wasn’t as good as Longwood Gardens which I have mentioned in one of my previous Philly Favourite’s, although it was the height of summer when we visited Longwood so this could have been why. I got the bus from the city to the gardens when a passenger shouted at me for not having my change ready “Is it too hard to have the right change y’all?”, I gave her my best passive aggressive ‘back off bitch’ look, however I have been told this makes me look more constipated than threatening. Scrap what I said about people being nicer.
If you enjoy art museums, Denver Art Museum, is a good place to go. Although I do like art, I’ve come to accept I’m not an art museum person. I do try, and I do keep visiting them, I stare at the artwork, pretending I understand how the artist is portraying emotion, however I’m really just thinking about what I’m going to have for dinner. I have to admit I didn’t look around the whole museum however it is a really good place to visit if this is your kind of thing, and the reviews on Google and Yelp more than back this up.
Each night we went out for some drinks and dinner, mainly along 16th Street Mall, one thing I will mention about 16th street are the roads and pavements. The brick pattern on the roads and pavements along this street are all the same, therefore they all blend into one, which lead to me having a rather dramatic stumble down one of the curbs. A women told me she had done exactly the same, so I can only assume this did not just happen because I am clumsier than most, and it is in fact a common event. Maybe.
The best place that we ate was Osteria Marco, all of the food was amazing however the caramel bread pudding was EXCEPTIONAL. Yup, I went there. I was so full when we got to dessert I didn’t think I would be able to eat any, but I got my Christmas dinner stomach on for this guy. I think bread pudding is different to the English bread and butter pudding, this was almost like a sponge, the good kind of stodgy, but not too heavy. Unfortunately for you, I was enjoying it too much to take any photos.
We also visited Henry’s Tavern and Rock Bottom which were both good for food and drinks, I also had what I think may be the best burger I have had in America so far, at a place called 5280 Burger Bar. Again, I forgot to take any photos. They had a big selection of burgers that all sounded so good, however if you couldn’t make your mind up, you had the option of getting two smaller burgers of your choice. Best. Idea. Ever.
After four days of fun it was time to fly home. Whilst on the plane I looked up from my book to see Ian, crying with laughter, the kind of laughter that makes you shake uncontrollably, veins pop out of your forehead, and you shine the brightest of red. He was laughing at a programme he was watching, all by himself. Poor lad. That’s what a 3am wake up call does to you.