Status: Gone to Denver, Colorado

When Roan asked me this million-dollar question, “Where do you want to go for your birthday this year?,” I got a little confused. Growing up, my brothers and I had become accustomed to not having elaborate birthday parties. Birthdays, in our family, meant going to mass first thing in the morning to honor and be grateful to the Lord for making it through another year, and celebrating by treating ourselves to a nice lunch or dinner (or both). I was twice as much homesick when my birthday came up on my first year here in the US because I was used to celebrating it with my family, so when Roan implied that we travel for my birthday last year, I took him up on his offer.

We must have been binge-watching on South Park episodes when the idea of traveling to Denver, Colorado came up. My brothers and I were banned from watching that show on cable TV when we were kids, and I only understood why, now that I’ve seen most of it. Anyway, I googled Colorado often during those days, and I read a lot of awesome things that sparked my interest (and curiosity) about the state. Since Roan and I have never been to Colorado before, we figured it’s the perfect travel destination for my birthday weekend!

Denver International Airport via
Denver International Airport

Arriving in Denver, CO

We arrived in Denver on Wednesday afternoon, a few hours after parting ways with my dad at LAX; he was on his way home back to Manila. A whiff of cool air blew into the baggage counter area every time the sliding doors opened, and Roan caught a glimpse of delight in my eyes. Our first order of business was to pick up our rental car, but we first had to figure out which side of the airport to exit from, so we’d hop onto the appropriate shuttle bus that will take us there.

The transaction at the rental car office didn’t last long, but the selection of the actual car did. We booked ours via Costco, and Roan wanted to upgrade to a bigger car, but we couldn’t justify the additional costs involved. In the end, we settled on a standard car that allowed both of our luggages to fit into the trunk.

Driving from the airport to the hotel via

I remember admiring the unique architectural design of the Denver International Airport as we drove away from it and towards our hotel in Downtown Denver. I looked up on every sign on the freeway and tried to take in as much as I can by simply observing my surroundings. I read ‘Boulder’ in one of the signs, and instantly thought of the murder of JonBenét Ramsey that took place in the city 20 years ago. I was amazed by the pack of ice on the side of the road. I can’t imagine what it’s like to drive into a snow-laden road, but I’m lucky that Roan—who lived in Spokane for most of his early adult years—knew how (if it ever came to that).

Downtown Denver Views via
Downtown Denver

I’ve seen a lot on our mere 30-minute drive from the airport. I knew we were getting closer when a cluster of tall city buildings emerged from the horizon. The view reminded me ever so slightly of Downtown Seattle sans the Great Wheel and Space Needle, yet still a pleasure to see. Roan and I finally made it to our home away from home for the next few days, but we exchanged uncertain glances upon getting there. Oh, boy. I think we’re in for a (mis)adventure was what we both thought.

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    • I can only imagine how terrible that is for someone who had to deal with negative temperature and snow on a daily basis, but I do love visiting cities/states during that time of the year because we don’t get that here in San Diego.

  • Have SOO much fun. My sister lives just outside of Denver, but lived in Denver proper for a while. I love going to visit her. The restaurant scene is so so good and there’s so much delicious beer. I bet you’re going to have a great time.

    • Hi, Lauren! This post is actually about our trip from last year, but thank you! Can’t wait to go back and explore more about Denver! I’m sure we missed out on a lot of other things while we’re there!

  • You sound like me…I would definitely pick a cold weather option as my top birthday destination! I’ve always been a fan of Denver — and really all of Colorado. It’s such a beautiful state.

    • Hi, Erin! Well, we live in San Diego, and my birthday falls in autumn, so I will definitely choose to go somewhere cold and crisp! Hahaha! Colorado is truly a beautiful state!

    • Isn’t it?? We’re definitely going back to see more of it (and other cities, too) soon! Hahaha you have to follow along to find out what happens next.

  • Denver is a super cool city! I’ve flown through Denver several times and driven through it a couple times, too. I don’t like the Denver Broncos, but I do love the view of the mountains!

  • South Park was my first introduction to Colorado too! I really want visit soon. One of my best friends is from there so I keep hearing all these amazing things about it. Enjoy!

  • Denver looks majestic! The architecture in their airport is kinda unique? Never really been to US but Ive heard Denvers quite popular for museums and their buildings.

    I`m excited to see what will happen on this trip.
    By the way, advance Happy Birthday!

    • Agreed! Their airport was what caught my attention upon landing there; I’ve never seen anything like it before! Oh, my birthday’s in November, but thank you!

  • Gorgeousss! That picture from the plane is incredible! It’s been years since I’ve been to Denver, and we drove in.
    I wish my hubby was more of a traveler! If he asked where I wanted to go for my birthday each year I’d be elated!

    • Thank you, Louise! Actually, I’m surprised that Roan’s into traveling, too! It might have been my influence since I grew going in several family trips in the Philippines. Traveling (even before Instagram happened) has always been good for the soul.

  • That’s so sweet of Roan to take you traveling as a birthday present/celebration. And I totally understand where you’re coming from – growing up, church was the most important thing to do for your birthday, then everything else came second. I feel terrible because I didn’t get to go to church this year for my birthday 🙁

    ATE JAE!!!! WHAT A CLIFFHANGER NAMAN. When is the next post coming?! Hopefully it doesn’t take a turn for the bad?

    • I think it’s a win-win situation kasi he gets to enjoy my birthday celebration, too! Hahaha! He claims that he’s not that into “grand gestures,” but he seems to be one if you ask me! It only makes sense to spend your special day being grateful for all the blessings, so we always see to it that we hear mass on our birthday (even when we’re traveling!). Sayang, sana you at least stopped by the church to pray (even if you missed hearing mass). 🙂

      HAHAHA! Basta, you have to follow along kasi… HAHAHA! 😉

  • Growing up, my family always through Filipino parties for my twin and I but that later stopped and now we just do our own thing. This year though, travel has definitely got to be the present I’d opt in for 😉 It’s so nice for Roan to suggest that!

    I’ve not actually heard of Colorado before (am I living under a rock? or just in England xD) Cool car rentals! I want to learn how to drive so I can do the same when I’m away, it just seems so much easier than public transport.

    Ooo you left us on a cliffhanger there! I can’t wait to read whats next 😉

    • Filipino traditions are extra! Hahaha! We only ever had birthday parties on our first, seventh, 13th, 18th (me), 21st (my brothers) because our parents believe that these are the “milestone” years worth having a big celebration. It’s only when we got married did we have a chance to travel together, so I guess he enjoys it as much as I do, hence the suggestion!

      Hahaha! You just haven’t been here in the US that much (it’s a sign!), perhaps! 😉 Knowing how to drive is an advantage you can use at any given situation, so I highly recommend that you learn how even if you still haven’t gotten a car of your own!

      Hahaha! You have to follow along to find out what I’m talking about… 😉

  • That’s such a fun birthday trip! My sister in law lives in Denver but we’ve only been there once. We really want to go again so we will have to take the trip there. I know what you mean about the airport there, it’s very neat! Are you into beers? I found that they had so many cool breweries and things. Also did your skin feel super dry there? My skin was SO dry, that high altitude was very noticeable for me lol.

    • Wait ’til you hear the rest of it! Ahh, so lucky that you have a reason to go back anytime you wish to! Yes! Their airport is a breath of fresh air; nothing like I’ve seen before!

      No, I’m not, but Roan is! Hahaha! There are plenty of breweries here in San Diego, too, so you might want to come down sometime! 😉 YES, I did! My skin always gets irritated whenever we travel, especially when humidity is very low!

    • You have to follow along this series because it only gets better (or worse)! Hahaha! 😉 Still missing home every time (it never gets old, you know), but yes, these trips make birthdays a little more bearable!