Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Long Way From This Place to Denver

A week ago today, we were Leaving on a Jet Plane to enjoy a Rocky Mountain High in the Mile High City. Yes, that is an unashamed reference to John Denver. One of my favorites. I couldn't make a trip to Denver without humming along to the sounds of his songs in my head.
The interesting thing about this trip, is that something is missing in this picture of Jim. Can you guess what it is? That's right! His computer! He left it at home. And, surprisingly, after a few hours of detox, he seemed to get along just fine. He was actually reading a book.
We checked in to our room on the sixth floor of the lovely and historic Brown Palace Hotel, overlooking the beautiful atrium lobby. The hotel has been open for 120 years, and has never closed in all that time. It has hosted countless celebrities and prominent citizens during its long life.
Jim, relaxing in the lobby while we waited for the car to take us to dinner.
We went to dinner at Larimer Square, a historic neighborhood now home to shops and restaurants. We were fortunate to make contact with several friends and acquaintances who live in the Denver area, and were happy to have their suggestions for places to go and things to do. Larimer Square was one of them.
Taking one of the suggestions, we ate at Osteria Marco, "a humble restaurant where friends gather to casually enjoy their wine with food." Jim had the lamb meatballs, and I had the Colorado lamb panini. Very tasty.
For dessert, Jim tried the Lucid Absinthe Cocktail, or, in New Orleans, the Green Fairy. It involves a soaked sugar cube, fire, and dripping water to complete the concoction.
Some say it was a favorite of Van Gogh.
I stuck to one of my favorites, bread pudding.
On Friday, we met one of our Denver friends at the Cherry Cricket, another 'legendary' Denver eating establishment.
We ordered 'Chips & Both' salsa and guacamole. Mmmmm.
Diana and her two boys arrived, and it was so much fun to see them. Diana grew up here in the 'burg, and attended our church. Her oldest brother was in Jim's class, and her mom still goes to church with us. She and her husband live in Denver with their two little cuties. The boys were a little shy at first, since they don't know us, but before long, Gabe, the younger of the two, had found a spot on Jim's lap with my iPhone.
Kellen, the older, and more reserved, eventually made his way over for a turn as well.
Jim knows little boys. :)
We had a good lunch (I had a delicious burger topped with herbed cream cheese), and a fun visit, and the boys had fun in the puddles on the way to the car. Though there was some snow on the ground, the day was clear and mild. Perfect for puddle jumping.

We tried to get a picture of the three of them, but Kellen was playing a game of 'hide behind his mama.' So cute!

Our next stop was the Denver Botanic Gardens, where our friend Sue Ann works. She graciously welcomed us as her guests, and allowed us to spend a lovely afternoon in the beautiful Gardens.
I was surprised to learn that the Gardens are open year-round. In my mind, it seems like it would be too cold in Denver to tour a garden in the winter. Sue Ann assured me that they have many, many days of clear blue sky, just like we saw last week.
This large bamboo installation, is artwork designed by the Japanese artist Tetsunori Kawana. Sue Ann told us about being up on a ladder helping place the bamboo as the sculpture was completed. There are several of these bamboo structures throughout the Gardens.
The snow on the ground just added to the beauty of the Gardens.
Waterfall with barracuda.

Jim and I both thoroughly enjoyed touring the different sections of the Gardens.
I recognized these as ginkgo leaves. There are several of these trees around the Hanover College campus.
This photo shows that there really was quite a bit of snow.
Beautiful fall leaves.
A professional photographer shooting some of the bamboo sculptures.
I like to take opportunities like these to pretend I am a photographer.
So many colors, shapes, and textures to shoot.

Jim was taking advantage of the audio information he could access from his cell phone. Signs around the garden provided numbers to call to hear a short clip by one of the horticulturists or other expert about each area.

There were folks on the bridge in the Japanese Garden watching the Koi in the pond.

We saw this jet fly over, and I thought it might be my team coming in to town. Jim said the plane was too small, so it must have been Saints owner, Tom Benson, instead of the team. That's my story, anyway.
 There were a few roses still blooming in the rose garden.

Another section of the bamboo installation.

This area is an amphitheater, which hosts concerts and events during the summer. The large structure is the tropical conservatory. While we were there, they were in the process of installing lights in all of the trees for the holidays. I imagine it is breathtaking all lit up at night. Sue Ann was busy setting up for an event, and we didn't get to meet up with her after our tour, and I'm sorry to say I failed to get a photo of her in the Gardens. We had a great time, and so appreciate her kind hospitality. Stay tuned for Denver, continued!

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