Friday, August 19, 2011
Get a little Boulder...
When I got to DIA, I immediately got my luggage and headed out to catch a bus to Boulder, CO. It was somewhere I hadn't been before, but my mom lived there and tons of people really recommended it highly. Since I couldn't check into the hotel in Denver til that afternoon, I figured I'd kill the time up in the mountains. That was the right decision. The bus ride took forever, because there was a lot of traffic, but Boulder was awesome.
Boulder is known for a lot of things, including Pearl Street mall. It's basically an outdoor mall area, all kinds of little shops. Penzey's, Lush, some local art galleries, Steve Madden..to name a few. Some touristy places where I didn't really find much I wanted save for a few postcards to send. But it was still nice, and the town is so active there. There was a really nice clown (I know I know, I didn't think I'd say that sentence in my entire life either) who got me acquainted with the town some, gave me a paper that listed local events and made me a balloon flower. :P I took some pictures along Pearl Street and generally milled about until it was time for lunch.
I'd been asking for recommendations but ended up going to a place whose menu was posted outdoors on the way out along Pearl Street that just sounded too good to pass up. And I say that not only because they had a bunch of dishes that had green chile in them. (What? It's an addiction!)
The place was called Centro Latin Kitchen and Refreshment Palace.
I am SO glad that's where I ended up. The restaurant was just opening as I got there, and I rehydrated while I perused the menu. It's a pricier place, but I still did really well and got a lot of food (I'd been starving because my stomach was bothering me too much for breakfast). I tried the shrimp taco and pork taco because when I asked which was better, they said they'd give me one of each for my platter instead of me having to decide. They were both SO delicious. It's making me hungry just thinking about it. The spices were just right, and the cilantro must have been picked right outside the building. The greens in the pork taco (which was carne adobada) were just as fresh. Everything tasted like it had to have been harvested that morning. And I ordered a side of pork green chile...which...omg. It was exactly the right consistency, the pork fell apart because it was so tender...and the chile was fantastic. Roasted perfectly, fresh, the right kind of heat (though not Burrito Lady hot or anything)...the flavor was just out of this world, and it had home-made tortillas rolled up and there for you to dip. Those were fantastic as well. Worth. every. penny. I enjoyed the chance to sit down with the backpack off, the food was fantastic, and the restaurant had a great atmosphere and sense of humor, as you can see from the drink menu. :D
After lunch I was winding down, so after a few more stops, I took the bus back to Denver, figuring I'd be able to check in by the time I got back. Here's some shots of the AMAZING Flatirons from Boulder.
Ugh. Too gorgeous. The bus ride went quickly, mostly because I slept through all of it post-Boulder, and I arrived back at DIA where it was HOT HOT HOT. Like 98, but in this altitude it feels like the sun is suspended five feet above your shoulder. Waiting for the shuttle at the ground transport place it was too hot to sit on the benches in the sun, so I opted for my shoulders hurting with the weight of the backpack I'd been wearing all day. I checked in to the hotel without a problem, laid down on the bed to relax....and woke up 5 hours later. Hehe, oh well. Vacation is about doing what you want to do, right?
I hit a hotel pub down the lot a ways for dinner, had a great local beer and an appetizer (because I was still full from lunch) and came back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the night. Amazingly, I was still tired enough to go to sleep around midnight. I only slept til 6:30, and I've spent this morning lazing around, getting breakfast, and then swimming laps in the pool and talking to a family from upstate New York.
I'm really glad I'm going to get to see Lewis and Shannon and Kija and everyone else today, but there's something so nice about travelling and exploring on your own sometimes. It helped clear any residual sad out of my head from the morning, let me go anywhere I wanted whenever I wanted without inconveniencing anyone else, meet people I might not have met if I was involved with friends and conversation, and was really, really relaxing.
It's getting close to checkout time, so I should probably get dressed and ready to head to Colorado Springs.
Colorado is still one of my favorite places on earth, and vacation has only gotten started and I'm having a great time. :)
I'm sure there'll be more photos and fun later.
Love to all. :)