Written by SeenThat on 07 Aug, 2006
The Mile High City is smaller than its title when measured horizontally and its center can be leisurely explored by foot in less than a day. Despite the method of arrival, downtown and LoDo are the first places to visit since they contain all the…Read More
The Mile High City is smaller than its title when measured horizontally and its center can be leisurely explored by foot in less than a day. Despite the method of arrival, downtown and LoDo are the first places to visit since they contain all the urban attractions. As a big regional center, Denver hosts a plethora of cultural events, and a visit there should be preceded by a check of any coinciding festivals. I wasn't lucky with that, but downtown kept me busy enough.Downtown Denver and its LoDo (Low Downtown)contain the main urban attractions and are small enough to explore within a few hours. The main public buildings of interest are arranged along the Civic Center and the main commercial area is nearby along the 16th Street Mall, which leads to the LoDo, the main nightlife zone. State Capitol Building was built in 1894 and as a golden dome and an impressive onyx interior. The tours are free on weekdays and from the top there are awesome views of the Rocky Mountains. It is located at the Broadway and Colfax Avenue junction. Nearby, two blocks away on 1340 Pennsylvania Street, is the Molly Brown House. It stands amidst many elegant buildings dating back to the 19th century and is easily spotted due to the two sculpted lions guarding it. Margaret Tobin survived the Titanic Catastrophe and became famous due to her courage while helping other survivors; later, a musical telling her story was named the Unsinkable Molly Brown and the named stuck to her home.Colorado History Museum, at 13th Avenue and Broadway, has a fine collection of Anasazi pottery and exhibits detailed dioramas of the life in the west, including mining, frontier forts and buffalo hunting.In front of it is the Denver Public Library, a post-modern attraction worth of a careful inspection and just across it, at 13th and Bannock streets is the Byers Evans House and Denver Museum, built in 1883. The guided tour there shows the life in the area just after the World War I. Nearby, the Denver Art Museum, of Italian design and finished in 1971, occupies a 10-story structure at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. The structure reminds a jail and it houses a large Native American art collections, arranged geographically, showing thus the intercultural connections. Artists from the rest of the world are also featured. (Tue-Sat 10:00am-5:00pm, Wed 10:00am-9:00pm, Sun 12:00pm-5:00pm)Further around the Civic Center is the US Mint, on 320 West Colfax Avenue and Cherokee Avenue, an Italian Renaissance solid building that offers free tours on weekdays and expensive souvenirs.The 16th Street Mall is a long pedestrian zone hosting the main commercial center of the city; it has a free shuttle bus, restaurants, fountains, coffee shops and trees.The D&F Tower Clock overlooks the 16th Street Mall, at its junction with Arapahe Street, and was the tallest structure (almost 100m) west of the Mississippi upon its completion in 1910. The structure is a close replica of the campanile at San Marco in Venice.Larimer Square - 1400 block of the same name street - hosts many commercial institutions on beautifully restored Victorian buildings.LoDo (Low Downtown) is bounded by the Union Station, Larimer Square, Coors Field and Cherry Creek and is the hottest spot in town. It has two main attractions, the Six Flags Elitch Gardens amusement park and the Coors Field, amidst a former warehouse district full of shops galleries and nightspots. Coors Field at 20th Street and Blake Avenue is the home of the Colorado Rockies, a baseball team. Close
Written by SeenThat on 05 Aug, 2006
The USA provides many surprises to the visitor. Before arriving for the first time, I thought that through the many Hollywood movies I have seen, I had a clear idea of how the cities look. In addition to that, articles read elsewhere, convinced me that…Read More
The USA provides many surprises to the visitor. Before arriving for the first time, I thought that through the many Hollywood movies I have seen, I had a clear idea of how the cities look. In addition to that, articles read elsewhere, convinced me that in these times of global warming, I would find a huge wasteland among the scattered and polluting cities. Traveling in a big circle encompassing New Mexico, California and Colorado, I found a different reality. Nature thrives here - at least for now.I saw many natural forests, wild mammals of different sizes and many signs warning of wild animals. I had a strange feeling of being in a northern version of an African safari.Yet, the image of the place is different, and foreigners attribute an undefined sense of ugliness to the country. After almost completing the big circle of my trip, the reason for the cognitive dissonance became clear, at least in my eyes. When I wake up in Europe or in Asia, one look out of the window is enough to recognize the city I'm visiting. Amsterdam is Amsterdam, Rome is Rome and Vientiane is unforgettable. However, in the USA, vaguely, Berkeley is Albuquerque and Oakland is Phoenix. The places differ only in the way they mark their streets; in my tour, Sacramento won the insipidity contest with plain numbers and letters to name its perfect grid.A downtown area with skyscrapers and no people living in it and many suburbs with nothing but houses describe many of the cities I've seen here. At the mornings, you need o drive a long distance to buy a piece of bread for breakfast.Arvada, a western suburb of Denver, is not different. Beautiful houses amidst spacious gardens, wide streets, a spacious library with huge windows allowing bright light in, and not even one grocery store.Is that all? Not exactly. Visiting large cities in the USA, usually means staying at one of its suburbs, far from the commodities cities have to offer; the art is to choose those with something special. Gorgeous mountains provide a wonderful background to two lakes within huge parks. The first is called the West Lake Park and is within the town limits; next to it is the Standley Lake Library and further toward the mountains is the Standley Lake Regional Park, which strictly speaking, is part of the City of Westminster, yet another suburb. Both offer wonderful opportunities for a stroll and maybe an afternoon picnic. Close
Written by SeenThat on 29 Jul, 2006
In my way out of Denver, expecting another string of delays, I decided to continue writing the spooks story I began writing on the way to town. It had proven to be an amusing and effective pastime and my expected arrival at 2:35am to Santa…Read More
In my way out of Denver, expecting another string of delays, I decided to continue writing the spooks story I began writing on the way to town. It had proven to be an amusing and effective pastime and my expected arrival at 2:35am to Santa Fe, would provide an attractive setup for its end.
My few obligations in Denver were over, and after the much-awaited farewell, I was sitting in an almost empty bus, waiting for it to get filled. My imagination raced. Where would the counterintelligence professionals place themselves within the bus to comfortably watch over the protagonist? Most probably across and behind him. What would make then invisible? I could make them a young couple, not too attractive, and in love. How would my protagonist disclose them? He could photograph them and watch their reactions...
The bus left a few minutes before 7pm, less than 10 minutes late, almost full and with an air conditioner operating strongly enough to frighten polar bears. Thus, while holding the passengers unable to protest due to our trembling mouths, the driver announced that the next meal stop would be in Albuquerque, an hour after my leaving the bus in Santa Fe. However, by now considering myself well prepared to confront Greyhound oddities, I couldn't but congratulate myself for having prepared basic survival goods for at least a couple of days. You never know with them. A bag of fruits and snacks, bottled water, a thermos of coffee and an almost empty notebook promised salvation under most vicissitudes.
While writing in my notebook the former paragraphs, I noticed such a couple in the anticipated location and amused moved to one of the seats in the back of the bus. Would they follow? Would they enter the restrooms to make inconspicuous phone calls regarding my protagonist's moves? Or maybe to check if there was a message written with some invisible ink? The thoughts warmed me up and a coffee out of my thermos completed the job.
At 20:15 we stopped at Colorado Springs greyhound terminal for a bit over 10 minutes and then for 20 minutes—despite the announced 10—in Pueblo almost an hour later. My couple left here, and left me without material for my story.
Suddenly, at 22:11, the bus stopped at such a speed that the driver had difficulties to control the bus. He began moving between the seats, openly sniffing the passengers' heads. He left me for a few seconds wondering about the unexpected exposure of local oddities, when he picked up a passenger who was smoking and invited him to a motivation talk outside the bus. Moments later, he called his neighbor. Both returned to their seats with a mere warning and we left.
Twenty minutes before midnight, we stopped at Raton, the northern entrance to New Mexico for a few minutes. After 02:30am, I was left alone at Santa Fe's terminal and the hot weather melted the coffee in my thermos in a matter of minutes.
Written by SeenThat on 28 Jul, 2006
Oakland's Greyhound terminal resembles an aquarium, slightly round with many glass doors and a few of those ubiquitous video cameras in America watching over citizens. In my hour-long wait for the bus there, I began writing a short spooks story taking part in the place.…Read More
Oakland's Greyhound terminal resembles an aquarium, slightly round with many glass doors and a few of those ubiquitous video cameras in America watching over citizens. In my hour-long wait for the bus there, I began writing a short spooks story taking part in the place. I could imagine the American counterintelligence attempting to thwart a dead drop, or approaching a passenger and trying to tempt him or her to tell some dark, maybe inexistent, secret. A sudden voice over the speakers awaked me and told me it was time to leave the East Bay.After boarding quickly, we left on time, and, still susceptible after my writing, I thought that someone in Greyhound had read my journal's entries about their service and decided to do something about that. Soon, that was proved to be wishful thinking.We crossed Emeryville and Berkeley, continued over the northern East Bay settlements and after crossing a huge bridge and Vallejos, we were on the countryside, speeding eastwards.A few minutes before 3pm, we arrived to Sacramento and Greyhound matched its reputation. The driver announced that due to something, we would be staying an extra hour in Sacramento. Finishing that, he parked the bus in a dark parking place and shut off the air conditioner, thus hinting he didn't want us in the bus for the next eighty minutes.Seizing the opportunity to explore a new town in my list, I walked into the scorching sun and soon, the invariant attempt of American Suburbia to feel different disclosed itself: here it was in the form of a perfect grid with streets numbered in one direction and lettered in the other. Q corner 6th makes a perfect sense as an address here.However, the sun convinced me to search for a shelter, and pretty soon I located the Westfield Shopping Town at the Downtown Plaza. The big place was decorated with attractive and colorful statues and I soon settled down at the crowded and small Starbucks for a dose of inspiration. The set was right and my story advanced at a surprising pace. "Let's test the suspect in our territory," said master spook A to B and arranged an artificial delay somewhere. A web was set and while carefully moving my protagonist through it, I found myself in danger of missing the bus.We left next to four and an hour later, the landscape turned from an urban one into a lush forest of dark greens and we began a rapid ascent and in half an hour we reached almost 2000m above the sea level. A bit later, the beautiful Donner Lake and Peak appeared at our right; some snow was still visible on the peak. At 18:30 we saw the Welcome to Nevada sign, but the rush hour delayed our arrival to the nearby Reno almost forty minutes. The gambling sites were prominent and lured me into changing my story into one about a laundering money operation; paper suffers anything.Reno wasn't a good place for dinner, the terminal lacked facilities, except for a tired vending machine offering bad coffee for three quarters. Reversing the historical trail, we advanced east and stopped for yet another coffee at a place called Winnemucca, around 22:30. Some of the passengers, maybe those belonging to my story or maybe those from another one, preferred to spend the short break at the gambling machines occupying much of the store.An hour later, we stopped for a meal at Battle Mountain in a place called Winner's Corner Convenience Store; the name hinted to the nearby casino, which from the kitty corner looked inactive. The driver seemed happy to have a big, hot and unidentifiable sandwich; the only other options for a hot meal were the languid Piccadilly's Pizzas.Effectively ruining the opportunity to sleep continuously, in an apparently old interrogators' trick, we stopped at 3am at Wendover and stared for a while at the gambling machines until the driver decided to complete the last leg of the trip and continue toward Salt Lake City, Utah, where we arrived a bit before 7am, counting by the new time zone.A flat city surrounded by attractive mountains at one side and a salt covered terrain on the other, I stayed enough to survive a metal detector check before boarding the next bus to Denver, my final destination. In my spooks story, by now occupying a significant part of my notebook, an inept counterintelligence agent was fooled by my protagonist into boarding a different bus and disappeared forever. A bit before 7:30am we left and began traveling along a narrow valley surrounded by gray rocks and low, but very green, vegetation.At a quarter to nine, we stopped for a thirty minutes breakfast at the Evarston Junction with Highway 80, and were formally announced we were in Wyoming. Those who hadn't managed to eat enough, had a second option at Rock Springs, some eighty minutes later. Thirty minutes are a long time while the only possible activity is to walk around a Mc Donald's branch, thus, spiritually broken, I stepped inside and bought a cup of coffee. However, the local humor was evident in the signs; one place advertised "Pasta with Altitude" and another was called "Outlaw Inn."Afterwards, we stopped at Rawlins, Laramie and Fort Collins, all that across an endless plateau wet with refreshing rain. Around 17:30, the bus entered Denver's Greyhound terminal, after a victorious and dramatic fight against the local rush-hour. And my spooks story was almost forgotten until, a couple of days later, it was time to leave Denver. Close
Written by Bev'sTravels on 09 Jun, 2005
To get a good perspective on Colorado, before going to Vail and the Rockies, spend a day or two in Denver. There were several wonderful history museums - the Colorado History Museum and the Black American West Museum. Both were wonderful and gave a historical…Read More
To get a good perspective on Colorado, before going to Vail and the Rockies, spend a day or two in Denver. There were several wonderful history museums - the Colorado History Museum and the Black American West Museum. Both were wonderful and gave a historical perspective on what we would be seeing when we reached the Rockies. There is also the Denver Mint, but be sure to try to get a reservation ahead of your arrival.
The Colorado History Museum begins with a panorama of the history: Indians, trappers, settlers, etc. It also had an exhibit about the 10th Infantry during WWII - the Snow Soldiers, who were on skis, trained in Colorado, and later were on missions in Italy. Very interesting. What a life! White tents on the snow. Mules were their transportation. There were also wonderful exhibits on the Cliff-Dweller Indians. The timeline of Colorado started in 1803, when Colorado was included in the Louisiana Purchase, and continued through 1950. There were relics and photos of the Mountain Men - the trappers, fur traders, the explorers, and it told of their coexistence with the Indians. The Gold Rush of Colorado was in l858-9, years after the California gold rush of l849. Many fortunes were made in the Gold Rush, but many more people drifted from claim to claim, never making much money, and leaving ghost towns in their wake. The Black American West Museum had a wonderful interpreter who told stories of Jessie James and the Thompson Brothers - who, it turns out, were black outlaws... a third of the cowboys of the West were black. There were artifacts from the days of the Wild West, the days of the settlers, life as an African American in Denver, and stories of retired black miners who tunnelled under the city from one hotel to another and then to the state house! The Tuskeegee Airmen - black pilots during the Second World War - were included in the exhibits. We tried to take a tour of the Denver Mint, but its guest list was full - you have to make reservations on Monday for the entire week! Check the web or call the Mint. Actually, the movie in the gift shop was excellent. It had close-up pictures of the process of making money and had a better explanation than was given on the tour, according to other people in the gift shop and according to the guard outside. It was quite interesting.
Written by Bev'sTravels on 08 Jun, 2005
After leaving the wonderful Denver museums, we drove up to Estes Park, and the Rocky Mountain National Park. WOW! It took almost 2 hours because we hit rush hour, and drove on Interstate 25, which was packed at 4pm on a holiday weekend, and…Read More
After leaving the wonderful Denver museums, we drove up to Estes Park, and the Rocky Mountain National Park. WOW! It took almost 2 hours because we hit rush hour, and drove on Interstate 25, which was packed at 4pm on a holiday weekend, and sometimes bumper to bumper. It should take about 1 1/2 hours from Denver. (Denver traffic is horrible, with only 2 major routes going through it.)
The road to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park was cut through a gorge created by the "Big Thompson River." Unbelieveable rough and rocky cliffs on either side of the twisty turny entrance to the park. Breathtaking! Even my teenage boys were amazed and delighted.
There is a daily entrance fee to the national parks of $20 per car. It is well worth the investment. Lots of white-capped mountains, aspen, and even ELK! There was a wolf who was wandering too close to the elk herd and was chased away by an elk. We also saw white tail deer (but a variety different than in the eastern U.S.) and various unidentified wildlife and birds.
We took a steep but gradual hike up to a wonderful waterfall, which had carved circles in the rock. It reminded me of how powerful water is. Our teenage boys, of course, went much faster than we did, so they went much higher.
There were many hikes, as outlined on the handouts at the ranger station where you paid your $20 fee.
Every time you turned a corner, there was another spectacular view, or different type of wild life.
We drove home via Boulder at 9pm, and it only took about 1 1/2 hours.
Written by Ashkitkat on 08 Sep, 2002
Mt. Evans is the only mountain, other than Pikes Peak, in Colorado that has a paved road up to the top of it. Because of its easy accessibility I am always taking out-of-town guests up to the top.
This Fourth of July started out innocently…Read More
Mt. Evans is the only mountain, other than Pikes Peak, in Colorado that has a paved road up to the top of it. Because of its easy accessibility I am always taking out-of-town guests up to the top.
This Fourth of July started out innocently enough -- two friends from the East Coast, and I (the native guide) decided to visit Mt. Evans. It was well over 90 degrees in Denver and we were ready to head for higher ground, and cooler temps. Dressed innocently enough in shorts, t-shirts and with a couple sweatshirts tucked in the back of the car, we started out.
As we got off the interstate at Idaho Springs we first took note of the storm clouds coming in from the west. It started to get sprinkly, but we were so busy checking out the fantastic scenery that what was happening really didn''''t register. Besides, the rain felt good to us three sun-baked city dwellers. Passing Echo Lake, halfway up, cars were pouring down the mountain and picnikers were making a hasty retreat.
"Oh well" my reasoning went, "we haven''''t reached the forest service station and surely they will tell us if there is any danger". So onward and upward we progressed to the station to pay our $10 toll.
To my surprise, we got to the station, and after taking our money, they told us not to worry, "It''''s only lightening at the top, as long as you stay in the car, you''''ll be fine." Growing up in this state, I''''d always heard stories of hikers that got caught on top of Mt. Evans in storms and were hit by lightening as a result. My heart started to beat faster, but as long as we stayed in the car, I thought we''''d be okay. Besides, there was no talking my friend down now on her quest for great scenery and adventure.
My heart started to really skip beats when cars passing us on their way down were covered in a half an inch of hail (snow?!). The road to the top is not only very steep, but doesn''''t have guardrails. There''''s a good reason why it''''s shut during winter, and now I''''m envisioning us driving/sliding off the side of the mountain!
We made it to the top, amoungst a hailstorm, without incident. We were rewarded with an incredible view. Not only was it no longer raining, or hailing but the lightening had moved on as well. We sat and watched the storm move away from us an onto the next mountain. It was breathtaking.
On the way down I was looking for mountain goats, or other wildlife, when we stopped next to a few other cars parked and the occupants peering up the side of the mountain. Great, they must see some goats. Right? Nooo, once again the day was getting out of hand. It turned out that two hikers from Texas had gotten caught in the storm and called for help from a cell phone. They were dressed in t-shirts and shorts, and it was cold and would be getting dark in a few short hours. We stayed and watched as the emergency vehicles started to arrive.
No one seemed to know exactly where the hikers were. We, and a few other spectators, spent over an hour searching the mountainside with loaned binoculars. Meanwhile, a major rescue operation was being mounted, with multiple teams hiking up to different areas to search. It was amazing how quickly and efficiently they worked. They practically ran up the mountain! From where we were sitting we could hear all the up-to-date information over the CB radio.
Now, maybe we should have stayed to the bitter end, but after about two hours we got bored and left. We did hear that they knew where the hikers were -- and seeing that there were about 10 emergency vehicles with dozens of rescuers about -- we were hardly needed. (We were told, rather rudely, to move...but, saving lives does take precident over our parking space.)
All in all, it was the most exciting drive/tour of Mt. Evans I''''ve ever casually/innocently suggested!
Written by JANET S on 02 Aug, 2002
The baseball diamond that the Colorado Rockies call home is a treasure! This is a beautiful field with a view of the mountains that few ballparks could compete with. If the Rockies hit a home run (and the thin air lets them hit quite a…Read More
The baseball diamond that the Colorado Rockies call home is a treasure! This is a beautiful field with a view of the mountains that few ballparks could compete with. If the Rockies hit a home run (and the thin air lets them hit quite a few)the fountain next to the scoreboard comes alive and gives you a brief water show. The outside of the Blake Street bomber's home sports Columbines (something for the ladies?) the state flower, as well as the traditional brick and glass of the classic park. The field is always beautifully groomed: there are heating coils underground to melt spring snows--the game must go on! The seats are comfortable for a stadium--if you have visited Dodger Stadium you will feel like you have entered a luxury condo when comparing space. The purple row of seats mark the "mile high" zone. If you are on a budget these are perfectly good seats. In fact all of the seats in this park offer an excellent view. Another good budget seat are those located under the scoreboard. They are bleachers with backs, but they afford one of the most likely spots for catching a home run ball.
The ticket prices are reasonable for a professional sporting event. Best of all tickets for the "Rockpile"--in the outfield are always available on gameday--price $4! Tickets are available online, by phone, at the Rockies Dugout store and at King Sooper stores.
The stadium is very family friendly: you may bring a small soft-sided cooler into the park with sandwiches and soft drinks: no cans or glass bottles allowed. Get your peanuts at King Soopers when you pick up your tickets!
The park opens 2 hours before game time to allow fans to view hitting practice and try to snag a foul ball or an autograph.
A visit to Coors field and a Rockies game is a wonderful way to spend an evening or an afternoon.
Written by JodiJill on 12 Aug, 2000
Downtown Denver has a really neat mall set up for people to walk along and enjoy the moment. The 16th Street Mall is a place you can sit out on the patio and watch the sunset while sipping a brew or shop at Larimer Square…Read More
Downtown Denver has a really neat mall set up for people to walk along and enjoy the moment. The 16th Street Mall is a place you can sit out on the patio and watch the sunset while sipping a brew or shop at Larimer Square for exotic items.
There are no cars allowed on the mall, only a free shuttle that runs all day and into the night. In the evenings you can also find the horse carriages strolling along the street picking up romantic couples.
Some of the more upscale places to eat include Wolfgang Pucks and The Cheese Cake Factory. If you go over a block you can go to the oldest hotel in Colorado: The Brown Palace. The Brown Palace has an elegant dining room in which even presidents have dined!
In Larimer Square you will find the little specialty stores. I personally like the Market which is a deli/gift store. The best part is the food as it covers many cultures and there are plenty of the best desserts.
The end of the 16th Street Mall is Union Station - a still active rail station. I say this carefully as it is nothing like the east coast stations, and has trains leaving only twice daily. The high ceilings and the dim lighting is a scene out of a book.
If you love books, just before the train station is the Tattered Cover. This is their second store, but it is four floors full of written treasures. Tattered is the biggest independent bookstore in Colorado and they have some great deals in their bargain section (perfect for the ride home, right?)
Coming to Colorado is a great experience and I don't think one of us residents would discourage you, but you need to know a little bit about the airport. I travel in and out of it every other week, and, at times, it can be…Read More
Coming to Colorado is a great experience and I don't think one of us residents would discourage you, but you need to know a little bit about the airport. I travel in and out of it every other week, and, at times, it can be a real pain. If you plan to use the bus system, do remember it is in the third lane and runs every half an hour. Don't expect the bus to stop unless you are almost in front of it. Several times I have run after it since it wouldn't stop for me. The buses don't run at night so don't come in too late. Buses also run to downtown Boulder, Broomfield, Littleton and suburbs to get you where you need to go. The taxi ride to downtown is expensive, around $40. The airport is quite a ways from the downtown area; however, it doesn't look like that from the sky. Try, if possible, to split the fare. If you must take a rental car, see if you can do it from downtown. I know it sounds like a pain, but you may save yourself $10-15 a day in taxes and such. The airport needs to be funded, and this is one area heavily taxed. There are three concourses at the airport and a train to connect them to the main area. As I said before, I travel plenty through the airport and have been repeatedly stuck on the train. Watch your time at this airport - give yourself at least two hours extra. Hopefully, soon they will work out the bugs on the train problem :) The food and concessions are just like any place else - expensive. Do consider the chain places for the run of the mill food but regular prices. The absolute best part about DIA is the view. You can see the Rocky Mountains by looking to the west. They are big, beautiful, and, if you look hard enough, waving to you as you come for a visit. Close