Almost two years ago, Roan asked me where I wanted to go for my 30th birthday celebration. The thought of traveling to Denver, Colorado had been looming over my head, so I knew I wanted to go there next. I’ve never celebrated my birthday elsewhere with just Roan and myself (other than when I first arrived in the US three years ago), and receiving the gift of experience that both of us could enjoy has got to be the best idea of all.
Before anything else, I apologize for leaving y’all hanging in my initial post on Denver many moons ago. I didn’t realize how much of a cliff-hanger that was until some of you pointed it out in the comments thread! I think some of you also found it a little misleading, thinking I actually left for Denver when the post went live. Sorry for the confusion, guys! Anyway, I’m splitting these stories into several posts like I always do, so here goes…
The Hotel That Wasn’t All That’s Cracked Up To Be
I mentioned before that, for the most part, Roan and I don’t put too much energy deciding on accommodation because we don’t hang out in the hotel during the day anyway. However, we do take location and its overall proximity to places in our itinerary into consideration when booking a place to stay at. I factored these things in when I planned our trip to Denver, hoping that we’d only deal with as little inconveniences as we can while we’re in town.
We booked our stay at the Magnolia Hotel Denver along 17th Street. I knew, based on the reviews I’ve read online, that they only offer valet service (which screams $$$), so we pulled up at the multilevel public parking garage next to the hotel. We didn’t realize how much of a trouble it was to park there until Roan had to wake up at 5 in the morning the entire duration of our stay to pay our ticket, drive around the block, and go back in to get a new ticket for the day. It’s ridiculous, but since we’re staying in Downtown Denver where public parking is a problem in itself, we really didn’t have much choice.
Moral of the story: (1) avoid booking a hotel in Downtown; or (2) if renting a car, book a hotel (or an AirBnB) where parking is convenient. Should be a no-brainer, yes?
The 16th Street Mall in the Nighttime
We arrived in Denver late afternoon on a weekday, so I didn’t plan anything elaborate except for getting well-rested for the weekend ahead. However, it would be such a waste if we had stayed in at the hotel all night, so Roan and I dropped our stuff, and got ready for what was left of our day.
It was dark by the time we stepped out of our hotel, but the city was very much alive. And if there’s a silver lining in the whole “hotel situation,” it would be the convenience of being right next to the 16th Street Mall. Without an ounce of idea where to go, our feet took us towards the northeast direction where we walked past this ramen house. We hadn’t had a proper meal since our brunch date with Dad at the airport, so a bowl of steaming goodness seemed inviting for the chilly Colorado weather that welcomed us there.
The Colorado State Capitol
We woke up a later than planned the following morning, and subsequently missed the complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We made a decision to grab breakfast across the street at Tuscany Coffee & Deli, and went about our day.
We left our rental car and took the MallRide, a free shuttle service that travels along Downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall, to see how far it goes. When we saw a building that resembled the United States Capitol from the distance, we got off at 16th Street and Cleveland Pl, and walked for about 10 minutes towards our destination.
We were greeted by an unassuming old folk, who asked us how our day was going. We told him we’re visiting from San Diego, and he beamed with delight. He told us that we just missed the public tour, which had already started. “Oh, that’s fine; we’ll just walk around and explore the building ourselves if that’s OK,” was what we said in reply.
Colorado State Capitol is home to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. The architect, Elijah E. Myers, purposely designed the building to closely resemble the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Its distinctive features include the Colorado white granite, topped with the gold dome. The dome is actually covered in copper panels that are gilded with gold from a Colorado mine, and it was first added in 1908 to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush.
OK, now let’s talk details. Did you know that ‘Colorado’ means ‘colored red,’ and is known as the Centennial State? Colorado became the 38th state of America in 1876 (100 years after the Declaration of Independence). Speaking of red, it makes perfect sense that the red marble called ‘Beulah Red’ or ‘Colorado Rose Onyx’ gives Colorado State Capitol its distinctive splendor. Cutting, polishing, and installing the marble in the Capitol took six years (1894–1900). All of the ‘Beulah Red Marble’ or ‘Colorady Rose Onyx’ in the world went into the Capitol, and cannot be replaced at any price. Throughout the building, ‘White Yule Marble’ from the quarries near Marble, Colorado covered the floorings. They were so much more beautiful in person, I tell you!
Discovering the “One Mile Above Sea Level” marker right on the steps outside the building has got to be the most interesting part of our mini self-guided tour of the Colorado State Capitol. For this reason, Denver is also known to many as the Mile-High City, and Colorado is considered the highest state in America in terms of its mean elevation.
Across the Colorado State Capitol are the Denver City Council and the Colorado Veterans Monument, an obelisk the Colorado people dedicated to the veterans of the past, present, and future. Doesn’t it resemble the Washington D.C. Monument, too?
Confession: this isn’t the entirety of what we did for the first 24 hours, but I didn’t want to dump everything on here all at once, so I’ll save the rest of our (mis)adventures for another post. After all, I have so many blog posts to catch up on, which may or may not take another six or so months to appear here.🙊