More Than Meets the Eye
Having been in Denver for 4 days now, we decided to actually go into town and see the city. Being a Sunday and a home game day, the city was filled with the bright orange colours of the Denver Broncos. Short of dressing dogs and babies up as pumpkins, I am not sure I have seen so many people so proudly wearing such a loud shade of orange.
Once outside the three story open air mall, full of the typical mall type stores, we walked a bit of the main downtown street. Wide enough for foot traffic on either side, two public transport lanes, and a strip in between for whatever manages to take up residence there. Various food carts, simple tables and chairs, one block boasted a mini botanical garden. Along the way, restaurants and shops you’d expect to find on a downtown street. Busy enough to stay in business, but not eye catching enough to snare a tourist’s attention or money. At each cross street the waft of warm garbage and dirty socks. Here and there, tall important buildings covered in glass windows, blasting sunlight down to illuminate even the darkest corners.
We reached the end of the road and came to the fabled Millennium Bridge. It was wide and passed over the rail tracks, and mother stubbed her toe marveling the sights. And then we were across it. I turned back, not sure if I had missed something or not. No, a short 50 paces or so and one is across. But across is like a whole different place.
Descend the steps from the bridge and the surrounding buildings are close enough to provide enough shade to breathe. While reaching the cross street still provides the warm garbage and dirty sock stink, across that cross street is all green. A vast park of green grass. Not recently mowed, but lush despite the arid heat. Curving sidewalk embraces the soft domes and flats of grass, and eventually lead to another bridge. This one narrow and long, wooden slats that thump with each foot step, the whole structure seeming to bob and sway a little the further across you go. Below a river, rushing in some areas, gurgling in others, ducks paddling around among the algae.
Across that and you must walk left, or right. This street is quieter, but still full of life. Restaurants with outdoor seating spilling into the street, tent overhead and generous misting machines spraying customers like vegetables in a super market. We find a brewery and sit for a beer. And on the way back we get icecream.
30 mile drive to reach our dinner reservations. No longer in Denver, we found ourselves in Boulder. A smaller, cute, but clearly college town. The sprawling brick university buildings settled in the heart of the town. We went to the main street, an older part of the town. The street was not so much a street, as a walkway down along the shops. Giant fountain areas, sculptures, casual seating here and there, large areas for street performers. While all the signs stated no skateboards, no bikes, no smoking, no dogs, all the shops and seating areas had large bowls of water for dogs. Various random shops catering to, I’m not sure whom. And restaurants, all held up by the hustle and bustle of baby faced college kids. Never once was I carded.
We drove home in the dark. It wasn’t quiet, but seeing a city by its lights alone, is like tasting a soup without all the chunky bits in it. You simply get the deep flavor of what the soup actually is. The city at night, is vast and small all at once. It is large stadiums, and small apartment buildings. It is lights at the very top of a tower building, and lights along the rail of an apartment balcony. It is humble restaurants, and big chain stores. It is the familiar, and it is the unique. It was something a little bit different, but not to wild, and not to crazy.