November 2017
  • Day3

    Day 3: Boulder, CO

    November 24, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Today’s main mission was climbing a mountain! The Flatiron Mountain to be exact.

    After about 45 minuets of driving from Denver, we arrived at Chautauqua Park, where the trail starts. Looking at the mountain from distance, its imposing formations didn’t seem very friendly. We eagerly started walking toward it, couldn’t wait to conquer it!

    The first part of the trail is paved, weaving through the meadows going upward. The dirt trail was followed by rocky road and lovely trees. As we climbed higher and higher, the trail became increasingly more difficult. Some parts required us to climb with our hands on the ground.

    We were surprised at how many people brought their dogs with them, and that those obedient animals were all really well behaved and had no problem climbing the large rocks.

    After more than one hour of climbing, we finally reached the top of one of the peaks. We were met by a very strong and cold wind. That didn’t deter Evan from climbing to a notch at the edge of the cliff, telling me to take a photo of him. My body was swaying in the wind, my hat was about to be blown off the mountain top, and I was having trouble holding my phone to take a photo. So Steve climbed to the edge of the cliff and took a photo of Evan. I told them to come back from the edge. I only dared a couple of peeks of the lovely valley 1,400 feet below us, trying not to imagine Evan slipping and falling. I couldn’t even look at him as he made his way back from the notch, climbing at the very edge of the cliff against the strong wind.

    We met a very nice lady from CA, about 60 years old. I was very impressed she made this far all by herself. She took some photos of us and I took some of her. Believe or not, she was brave enough to also climb to the notch so Steve could take photos of her sitting there, inches away from more than 1,000 feet drop. Good for her!

    We continued our climb towards the peak next to us but we had almost run out of water. Not knowing exactly how far away the next peak was, we turned back.

    Climbing down was a lot easier than going up! Although many times I had to use my hands to hold the rocks behind me, and place my feet at the tiny holes, so I didn’t slip too far down. Unfortunately, this was also the moment when I realized that my walking shoes have lost most of the traction, placing me in more danger of slipping. Fortunately, when I did slip, it happened at less dangerous places. Well, god reason from me to get new shoes! YAY!

    Once we got back down from the mountain, we drove to Downtown Boulder, took a well deserved break at a local coffee shop called Laughing Goat.

    Our next destination is Estes Park, which is located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountain National Park. We started our one hour drive in the lovely mountain roads. By the time we arrived at the Estes Park, we noticed a lot of police cars around and many families with kids walking on the road. We didn’t think much about it and went to a nice restaurant, and had a great dinner.

    However, after dinner, as we were trying to leave the town, we realized that the whole town was blocked off for their Thanksgiving parade! We drove around and around, couldn’t pass the police barricades. Finally we had to stop the car and asked a policeman for directions to our hotel. He was nice enough to point a way out of town for us.

    After much twists and turns, we finally arrived at our hotel called Della Terra Mountain Chateau, and checked into our mountain cabin. After we turned on the cozy fireplace, everything was all good!
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  • Day2

    Day 2: Nature Parks

    November 23, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Since it’s Thanksgiving Day today, most of museums, restaurants and shops are closed, thankfully, not the National Parks!

    Our breakfast was unusual: the restaurant we were trying to go was closed but failed to inform the Internet , so we arrived there facing the closed doors. Steve wanted to go to IHOP, I said absolutely not! I am not coming to a different city to eat at IHOP! After a quick search on Google map, I was was happy to discover a Mideastern restaurant called Jerusalem (voted as one of the best Mideastern restaurants in Denver, a business operated by the same family for the last 35 years!) was just down the block. Beef Shawarma and lamb Gyros were very tasty breakfast food! LOL!

    Red Rock Park is only about 30 minuets away from Denver, and the dramatic red rock formations were visible to us from miles away due to their sizes. The Red Rock Amphitheatre locates at the center of this park is actually a famous concert venue. We loved the fact that 2 huge rock formations are its backdrop! The 3 mile hiking in the park was very lovely too.

    After some quick snacks in the car, we headed to Colorado Springs, which is only 1 hour away.

    Once again, we were greeted by even more dramatic rock formations from far away as we entering The Garden of Gods National Park.

    The main difference between these 2 parks is that Garden of Gods allows you to climb the rocks. Check out the amazing pictures of a couple scaling a vertical rock called Cathedral Pillar. They climbed higher than the birds!

    Evan loved, loved doing some free climbing as well. Don’t worry, he was never in mortal danger... although I was a bit regretting not to bring any bandaids.

    Few restaurants opened today, fortunately I’ve done my research weeks ago and booked a wonderful restaurant called Till Kitchen (voted as one of the best restaurants in Colorado Springs 3 years in the row). The restaurant indeed delivered some wonderful dishes. Evan and Steve inhaled their steak and pork chop dishes, my smoke trout salad was just ok though.

    Spending a Thanksgiving Day in the National parks is a great idea!
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  • Day1

    Day 1 - Night time

    November 22, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Dinner tonight was at one of the best restaurants in Denver, called Acorn. Every dish was fantastic from beginning to finish! No wonder it was ranked as #1 in some best restaurants lists.

    The restaurant is located inside a very cool and hip small shopping center. The most unique store front has a flower shop and a butcher shop sharing the same space.

    Once we are back to our hotel, we had the chance to admire the art work displays. One noticeable piece is a Fish Lamp creates by Frank Gehry!
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  • Day1

    Day 1 - Denver

    November 22, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Our move to Kansas has made Colorado closer to us. Flying to Denver took less than 2 hours.

    We arrived late last night, staying at a very beautiful hotel called the Art hotel. The whole place is decorated with modern art pieces, even the TV screens in the elevators are showing modern art video exhibits instead of boring info like other hotels. The fact all the drinks and snacks in the room are free made us love this hotel even more!

    The downtown Denver is very walkable. Our hotel is right in the middle of the Denver Art Museum Complex. In fact, we can see the amazing intricate design of the roof of the Denver Art Museum (by the famous architect Daniel Libeskind) right from our hotel room window. Very cool!

    Starting from our hotel, we walked by the golden roof of Denver Capital Building, and then to the famous 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian outdoor space designed by another famous architect I.M. Pei. With so many interesting restaurants and street food stalls lining up the entire 1 mile of pedestrian street, we wished we hadn’t had so a big breakfast!

    We took a left turn to visit an awesome art work called “I see what you mean!”, it’s a huge bear statue peeking into a building windows. Super fun!

    We then walked all the way to Union Station before turning back. Had a very small lunch at a restaurant called Duck Soup. Delicious and healthy soups made from scratch every day. Yummy!

    We are starting to fall in love with this city!
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