I have another adventure to share with you!! It’s been quite a while, and I am excited to tell you about my trip to Denver to visit my longtime friend Andrea!
So a few months ago, I realized I had more vacation time to use than I originally thought. I wanted to put that time to good use, and I knew I wanted to go to Colorado at some point, so I made plans with Andrea and I ended up going for a long weekend in the middle of March. This was at the start of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US and I was cautious during my travel time. I had actually come down with the flu the week before so I was slightly paranoid anyway.
My flight was in the afternoon on the 13th and I landed in Denver around 4 pm. It was a slightly longer flight than I was used to, and I wish I had read but ended up watching a bunch of episodes of Parks and Rec that I had been binge-watching. When I ran out of episodes I discovered my flight had movies available, so I was able to watch “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers. It was an interesting story and I was surprised at how little it actually was about Mr. Rogers, but my respect and admiration for him was solidified by the end of it. I also watched more than half of Frozen 2 before we landed, which I had already seen in theaters after Christmas, and was thoroughly pleased it was part of the movie selection.
After I landed we headed to Andrea’s cute little apartment, I refreshed a little, had a snack and then we headed downtown. Since it was a Friday, meat wasn’t an option for dinner. We ended up at this little pizza place that was unoccupied besides the two of us. The pizza was satisfactory, but for the first time, I could tell the difference between eating New York pizza and pizza not from New York.
Afterward, we headed to Union Station. The aesthetically pleasing views of the inside by the bar and just below the hotel reminded me of Grand Central in New York. I tried a stem cider as Andrea and I caught up. Before this trip, the last time I saw her in person was New Year’s 2019. She’s a few years younger than I am, but she has such a great head on her shoulders I always forget the age difference. It was nice having the opportunity to spend time with her, just the two of us. Once we finished our drinks we decided to check out a wine tasting spot. Denver has this passport for discounts on drinks and Andrea had one for this particular place. We tried three different white wines and at that point, I was a little tipsy. I’m a lightweight so it doesn’t take much. We headed back to Andrea’s apartment and stopped at a liquor store and got some boxed red wine Andrea assured me was good. I’m more of a white wine gal myself, but I trusted her (good thing because she was not wrong).
Earlier in the night, Andrea mentioned what she was thinking we could do over the weekend and mentioned visiting Boulder. The name sounded so familiar and I remembered a show I used to love, Make It or Break It, was set in Boulder, Colorado. So, when we got back to her apartment we had some wine, got ready for bed and turned on Make It or Break It. It ended up being our go-to show for the weekend, besides the classic Gilmore Girls rewatch which is always a must with my friends and me.
Saturday, unfortunately, turned out to be incredibly overcast. After breakfast, we stopped at a local coffee shop and picked up coffee to go. One of my favorite things to do when I travel to a new city is to try the local coffee shops, they always have different and interesting aesthetics and the coffee rarely disappoints. We headed to Boulder and I made the mistake of not wearing the heavier jacket I brought with me and it was quite cold. As a result of previously having the flu I still had a residual cough, and being that it was cold my nose was very runny. I spent a lot of time sniffling and trying not to cough that day. By the end of it, Andrea and I were both exhausted. I did enjoy exploring Boulder though. We went into a cute artsy shop and aimlessly walked around a three-level local bookstore, which I loved. There’s something about a bookstore that brings me comfort, and this one did not disappoint. Before we left we had lunch at Illegal Pete’s, a Mexican place similar to Chipotle. That was around 2 pm, and then we headed back to Andrea’s apartment. A cousin of mine, Laura, lives in Denver and I had made plans to meet up for dinner with her and her husband Eddie that night. When Andrea and I got back, we relaxed while watching Make It or Break It and then headed out for dinner with Laura and Eddie. It was a little recharge that we both needed before a night out.
Sunday Andrea and I headed to the Red Rocks for a small hike. Thankfully, the sun made an appearance and it was a nice clear day. Not as cold as the day before, but of course as opposed to being underprepared as I had the day before, I was over prepared. Wearing a heavy coat and a beanie, I ended up discarding both in the car. Due to the elevation, and previously having been sick I struggled more than I realized I would. I had to take quick breaks and stop for a swig of water every so often. I was breathing heavily and had to figure out how to manage it for it to actually be helpful. We completed a path and I was proud of that accomplishment, we passed a lot of great views on the trail and it felt good to be outside in the fresh air. Then we walked up to the Amphitheater which was incredible. Again the journey was rather rough, but I made it through and boy was it worth it. We spent a good few hours there sitting, people watching and eventually meeting up with a friend of Andrea’s, Maggie, who happened to be coming to Red Rocks when we were there. We spent time with her and a friend of hers and then made plans to hang out that night to drink wine and play games. When we got back to Andrea’s apartment we decided on having an early dinner since we skipped lunch. We walked down the block to a little place called The Pioneer, a Mexican restaurant and bar. I got a salad with my margarita and Andrea got a sandwich. It felt good to eat after a long day out.
That night we went to Maggie’s apartment and had a blast playing games, having some drinks, and enjoying each other's company. We played a few different games, but by far the most fun and the most laughs came from the accent game and the 5-second rule game. Accents were super entertaining, and we all learned that I can achieve a southern accent to my even my own surprise. The 5-second rule game got more challenging as the game went on, but hilarious nonetheless.
On Monday, Andrea and I headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a bit of a drive from Andrea’s apartment but we enjoyed the ride listening to music and admiring the mountains in our view as we drove along. The park has different driving trails around the mountains and little spots where you can stop, take in the views and take pictures. It was another beautiful day for an outside adventure and it was pretty extraordinary to see nature’s beauty in person. After taking the captivating mountain views we went into the town of Estes Park to explore the tourist shops and buy some souvenirs for ourselves. We stopped at Trader Joes on the way home and saw just how much the pandemic was making people panic. Andrea wasn’t able to even purchase what she needed. That night we stayed in, watching Make It or Break It as we ate dinner.
All in all, it was a great trip and I’m glad I went. Spending time with a friend I only really see once a year and getting the time to talk and just be together is always soothing to my soul. I’m trying to teach myself that it’s okay to spend a little extra on yourself, especially if it’s to spend meaningful time with a dear friend. Money isn’t everything and if you can afford to treat yourself, do it. You deserve a break and trip every so often.