D is for Denver

Photo Credit
Welcome back, to the letter D of this year's A-Z challenge! 

From yesterday's trip to Cape Town we made it to Denver, CO, which has been our hub for a handful of connecting flights, and in fall 2016 we finally took the time to actually explore the city, and I was so glad we did!

Did you know Denver ranks 20th on America's friendliest cities' list? (Hint: Buffalo wins the title.)

What a fantastic old town with red brick houses, vehicle-free zones and charming street cafés! Of course it didn't hurt that the snowstorm that was in the forecast, never actually happened.

Instead it was a friendly, sunny, blue sky kind of day that started with the most delicious cinnamon apple pancakes!

As we were arriving at Denver International Airport, we didn't get to use the train station. It sure looks impressive, though.

I am always, always amazed by the blue sky. I feel we never get that back home?

The cables you can see here belong to the Millennium Bridge 

We didn't have a plan, other than walking around, enjoying whatever came our way!

Of course if you're traveling with our son Colin, you have to check out the Pepsi Center, home to the Colorado Avalanche! 

I thought those truss bridges over the Cherry Creek were cool. 

Not only does Denver rank among the friendliest cities, it's also one of the 20 fastest growing U.S. cities, which explains all the construction going on.

And they're doing a nice job!

Now I wasn't going to mention Dynasty (The German dubbed version was actually called the Denver Clan), but meeting this cow didn't leave me much choice!

Moving on. Did I mention how much I love the deep blue sky? I later googled and found out this is the Clock Tower, and part of the building is a convention center. 

Are those benches? Is it art? I wasn't sure. It did look pretty and colourful, though.

I could have seen myself sitting in one of those street cafés (they actually have wifi that covers the outdoor seating area) at 16th street mall, blogging, but we had to get going...

Have you been to Denver? If you have, it may be easy for you to score a perfect ten answering those fun trivia questions!

Here are some surprising (at least to me) companies that work out of Denver: Western Union, Boston Market (really?) Chipotle, Quiznos, Crocs. 

And here's the one we probably all know: (Molson) Coors! If you're into beer, you definitely ought to visit Denver because there are a couple of breweries to check out.

Colin, my 9.5 yo son (I refuse to refer to him as "almost 10") thought this Denver post was a bit short, so I'm including our next Colorado destination. 

Vail is mainly a ski resort, and we usually travel in fall, so except for the one time we got some surprise snow overnight, which happened in 2005...

When we picked up our car at our original destination, I believe it was in California, the rental guy asked about our drop-off airport and suggested we upgraded the vehicle category to a 4 wheel drive. I agreed just for the heck of it. Boy were we glad we did!!

We were going in the opposite direction back then, meaning, driving from Vail to Denver. It's a good 100 miles on the I-70, and usually it doesn't take more than 2 hours, bathroom break included. 

However, this interstate leads over Vail Pass at an elevation of 10,666 feet = 3,250 meters, and it was a mess that day!

This truck driver came prepared and installed his tire chains.

Others? Like those coming from California, Nevada and Arizona? Stopped along the shoulder, got out in their capri pants and flip flops, hesitantly stalked around their vehicle only to shrug, call roadside assistance and get back in.

I don't know how many tow trucks were requested that day!

This doggie didn't seem to mind the cold.

I was saying "Vail is mainly a ski resort, and we usually travel in fall, so except for the one time we got some surprise snow overnight", this is what it looks like:

It's not often that you get to encounter a fox in broad daylight, but we were lucky enough to do so:

While accommodation is very easy and more affordable in the off-season, many restaurants are closed, so we were lucky to find a breakfast place that served pancakes - one of my requirements. 

The West Side Café did even better! They offered the following:

Hubby ordered the Tourist Special cause he figured his accent would give him away if he asked to the Local Special just so save a few bucks. The waitress went easy on him and still only charged 8.99 ;-)

During our 2016 visit, it was only our second night in the U.S. when we arrived in Vail, so after dinner we were barely able to keep our eyes open. Just enough to appreciate the color changing light sculpture "the Water Tree" by designer artist Lawrence Argent.

I was looking for that video where Lindsey Vonn was an undercover ski resort employee in Vail (where she grew up), talking to tourists about skiing and their favorite slopes, and they didn't recognise her. Unfortunately I couldn't find it.

I hope you enjoyed exploring Colorado with me. Tomorrow we're crossing the border to Canada because E is for Edmonton! See you there! In the meantime why don't you find out what my fellow bloggers did for their letter D!