Denver once over very lightly

This is a city that I’ve never thought much about taking or not taking to.  I know that the many times I’ve travelled through it by train, I’ve felt slightly queasy, probably due to the altitude.  And there was that train trip about five years ago when the Zephyr had to bus us all from Grand Junction to Denver, due to another train’s derailment, and Fred and I got a vending machine-in-Union-Station eyeview of the place (Through train passengers were cautioned not to leave the station once we were delivered–eight hours by school bus, with only a bag a chips, the small snack size, proffered as food along the way–because the rest of the train trip would get underway “at any time”).

Denver, however, in the clear light of morning (okay, I started exploring last evening, while still punchy from travel and went out again today well before light) appears to be a little bit of okay.


First, there’s Peet’s coffee.  It tastes like Peet’s, smells like Peet’s, the shop looks like Peet’s (not the Vine at Walnut Street one, of course).  The help is a little sassier than Peet’s-in-my-experience, but they weren’t as glad handedly scary as the locals into whom I ran last evening.  So I am swigging way more caffeine than I should, content that my lunch with Linda will add the antidote of a glass of alcohol.

Second, the walking is terrific! There is a mile-long pedestrian mall (along which an electric/natural gas-powered shuttle bus runs, in a well-designated “ditch,” literally every 2 minutes, for you non-ped types) and there are heaps of people walking, even before dawn.

There are visually engaging alley views.  I cannot explain this aesthetic taste of mine.  Perhaps it has something to do with passing by the shadows and granite walls of alleys in Manhattan and Youngstown, at an age when I was more impressed by light and surface than by potential threat.  Anyway, Denver downtown alleys have that 19th century siding and it’s a beautifully sunny day (They boast of 300 days of sunshine a year here).

Fourth, the Tattered Cover, famous in library circles for the intellectual freedom stance they took a few years ago, is open at 6:30 am!  Now that’s a good bookstore!

Fifth, breakfast offerings here included pumpernickel and it was in the form of a bagel that actually had some chew to it.

Others may be thrilled by the weather, the cowboy culture, but hey, coffee, bread, books, walking and sights to see…what more could this visitor want?


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