Middle America in the middle of the mountains. Slightly left of center is where my thumb ended up on a US map as I was looking for a short getaway of quality time with GV, before heading back to Asia. The criteria was easy in/out with direct flights, somewhere I wouldn’t normally choose to go, and one that was fairly tranquil. Denver, Colorado, won the dart throw and I wasn’t disappointed — especially on the tranquil part.
After getting a half-day of work accomplished in NYC on Wednesday, we left on a mid-afternoon flight and arrived to our downtown hotel well before the sun went down, with plenty of time for an orientation walk around the “mall.” The mall, as they call it, is a half-mile street (16th Street) closed to auto traffic save for free shuttle busses continuously cruising up and down for those too lazy to walk. The mall also attracts a disproportionate amount of young, panhandling adults — freeloaders in search of a Rocky Mountain High handout.
On Thursday, we zigzagged on a 10-mile city hike, appreciating the clean western-esque architecture and wide, sparsely driven streets. It was odd that a mid-week workday felt more like an early Sunday morning. There were few other people walking the streets, even though it was a balmy 70 degree day. Where are all the people in the capital of Colorado? We didn’t know. Although there was quite a bit of construction going on throughout the city, the streets were deadsville.
Similar to the Northwest US, Denver has an abundance of cafes with strong coffee and plenty of bars with no shortage of hearty local micro-brewed beer. But after two days and as many bison burgers, we were ready for our mid-day Friday flight back to the noise of NYC, where we arrived 48 hours later, with a satisfying, savory aftertaste of the mile-high city two time zones away.
In summary; maybe two days is not enough to explore the cultural depth, because somehow I was expecting a touch more middle-america attitude and all I found was altitude. Nevertheless, on its elevated surface Denver serves up a bountiful dose of tranquility.