LOVE TO WANDER
We have a long drive ahead of us today...
I would have liked to spend another day in Denver. There is a lot to see here. the Money Museum would have been interesting, but it was shut on a Sunday. There is a big Arts Museum and lots of History Museums too.
I would also liked to get a photo of the city - but it didn't seem that easy to do. We drove all around it yesterday and through its suburbs, but only once was there a good view of it and that was from the freeway - not a great place for a photo!
The centre of the city is actually very small and the land around it quite flat, so it is hard to get up high enough for a good photo . You are supposed to be able to get a panorama from City Park. we drove up there at sunset (8.05), but didn't fancy parking up and walking around it in the dark. So - there would be good reason to maybe come back to Denver one day ...
I always play with thinking whether I could live in a place I visit or not. Well, I could live quite happily in Denver I think. There were a lot of nice houses close to the City, with lovely porches. There are lots of restaurants and open air cafés. The weather is good (well - at least until Winter comes!). it is all designed around the car - the sidewalks are few and far between and even the pharmacies are drive thrus. The traffic is well ordered though and the roads big and wide. Best of all, the Rocky Mountains are just a short drive away ...
A reasonable place to stay in Rapid City - not far from Mount Rushmore.
We started by renting a car. This wasn't our original plan, but the heat was high as early as 7am this morning, so the amount of ground we wanted to cover would have been exhausting without some wheels. Taxis downtown are about $20 anyway, so the car hire covers its costs quite quickly. It was easy as there was an Avis desk in the hotel lobby.
We started by taking the interstate 70 to Red Rocks Amphitheatre - a stunning setting for a stage buried deep in the red sandstone rock. It was very hot there - there was a notice telling you that climbing the steps to the top burned 40 calories - it felt like 400. Bruce Springsteen has played here - among many others over the years - I would have loved to have heard that! I was amused by a sign on the highway - "Correctional Facility - Do not pick up Hitch-Hikers". ...?! We visited Denver Botanical Gardens next - a beautifully kept collection of over 33,000 plants in 23 acres of land. Stunning water lilies in particular - and every sun loving plant you can imagine
The travel arrangements all worked smoothly, despite some congestion on the M25. British Airways looked after us superbly well - the 9 hour flight sped by and I managed to actually sleep on a plane for probably the first time ever! Denver airport covers an area of 53 miles. It is the largest airport in the States apparently - massive! The free shuttle bus took us to the Hilton Double Tree in half an hour, driving through wide open prairie country - This was a surprise - I had expected it to be all built up? The hotel is 5 miles from Downtown Denver, so we haven't actually had a glimpse of the Mile High City yet. The signature warm choc chip cookie was all we needed for supper and we quickly fell into a deep and dreamless sleep on a bank of feather pillows. the time difference evaporated, largely thanks to a very comfortable flight. Customs was very slick - helped by a self serve check-in machines - a big contrast to the experience we had in Seattle last time. Within minutes, we were being warmly welcomed by the usual assortment of friendly Americans, all admiring our accents.
A very comfortable hotel. The location isn't great though - it is a distance from Denver centre, so we had to hire a car to get around easily, although there is a free shuttle to the airport.
I always think "What I'm Packing" lists are so useful - I love reading other people's. even better would be the "What I wished I had packed (but forgot to) ..." and "Things I packed, but never used or wore!" Let's hope my "What I'm Packing" list is so good that I have nothing to write on the other two! So - here goes: