Saturday, 4 February 2017

Colorado State Capitol


The State Capitol building in Denver is impressive from any angle with its golden dome - apparently covered in a thick layer of gold leaf!



Colorado became a state in 1878 and the seat of government settled in Denver towards the end of the century and so this building was only completed in 1901.


The inside of the building features ornate brass and paneling and flooring of a pink onyx only found in Colorado.  It is not surprising that the building took many years to complete.


Visitors are able to walk quite freely through the building even when the State Senate and House of Representatives are in session.  Each of their meeting rooms was impressive..



There were portraits on the walls throughout the building - former Governors of Colorado, former Presidents of the US. Dating from the 1920's and later there were also portraits in stained glass of important State figures.


The view up into the Rotunda was impressive and, had we been on an official guided tour, it would have been possible to climb a staircase into the gallery and walk around the inside of the dome.


It was an impressive building and much more ornate inside than the grey stone exterior might have suggested - well worth a quick look!


Friday, 3 February 2017

Blue Bear


On the side wall of the Colorado Convention Centre in Denver is a huge piece of modern art in the shape of a large blue bear.


Entitled 'I see what you mean' the bear seems to be peering into the window.  It was created and installed in 2005 by the artist Lawrence Argent and has become something of a local landmark.


It is equally impressive from inside the Centre.  (David kindly posing alongside to show scale!).  The bear stands 40 feet tall.


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Denver Botanic Gardens

With the temperature well below freezing and ice under foot we recognized that we probably weren't going to see these gardens at their best!  Most of the lakes and ponds were frozen, but the Japanese Garden was looking good..



There is a single, permanent, Chihuly installation which would normally be in water..



On a day like today, the Orangery and Hothouse were very attractive, not just because of the beautiful orchid exhibits..








In the Hothouse we saw this rather unusual plant..




We could not see a label and so are unable to identify it.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Denver Mountain Parks


This morning I joined a small bus tour to explore some of the mountain parks in the 'foothills' between Denver and the mountains.  These foothills are around 7,000 feet - whereas the highest of the Colorado Rockies reaches more than 14,000.  Our first stop was at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre - not hard to see how it gets its name!


The rocks alone were fascinating - layers of different colour a and types of rock, folded in all directions.  A sunny day would have given a little more colour to them - Denver has 300 sunny days a year, apparently, but sadly this wasn't one of them!


I bought a postcard to show what the Amphitheatre looks like in sunshine (although this sky seems a little improbable!).  The Amphitheatre seats 10,000 on wooden bench seats and in season has hosted many famous names, including the Beatles.  The natural acoustics of the surrounding rock as are apparently very impressive.


It was quite a workout walking down to the stage and back, especially at that altitude!


There are no concerts at this time of year of course but this second postcard shows what it must be like.


Leaving the Amphitheatre we moved on through a narrow canyon of very different rock, carved out by a river which was alongside the road and partially frozen.  


Unfortunately not very good photos as taken from the bus.  At this point we had climbed above the clouds and so it was sunny, at least for a while until we climbed into the next layer!


At the top of the canyon was a frozen lake - a reservoir - and although difficult to see, these people were fishing through the ice.  Presumably it is quite thick!


A little further on and we stopped on a bridge for what turned out to be our only sighting of the impressive snow covered mountains that Colorado is famous for.


By the time we arrived at Lookout Mountain, we were unfortunately back in the clouds, so no mountain views.


Instead we visited the grave of Buffalo Bill and a museum dedicated to his memory which told his life story, focusing on the years when he ran his Wild West show, which travelled the world, including two quite extensive tours of the UK in 1903 and 1904..



One can only speculate about what the British people of the time must have thought of such a show!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Mile High City


At dusk today we were back at Dulles airport waiting to catch a flight to Denver, Colorado.


This rather strange photo is of the wing of our aircraft as we came in to land.

I have not had a chance to take any photos as yet, the collage below is from the web.


Denver is known as the Mile High City because on the 13th step of the Capitol building (second from top on left), the elevation is 5,280 feet - or one mile.

It is close to the Colorado section of the Rocky Mountains and we expected it to be very cold - but the temperatures are forecast to be higher here this week than in Virginia.

Monday, 30 January 2017

In the snow


Just a light dusting of snow overnight which gave a chilly appearance to early morning views.


The first bird that I saw this morning was a Cardinal - he stood out against the monochrome background..



He was soon joined by other birds..