As we made the decent into Denver, I noticed how brown everything was. Everything was colorless. Not at all how I pictured “Colorful Colorado” to be from the sky. At first, I didn’t even notice the mountains in the distance. I thought that they were just clouds. Finally my eyes focused and I recognized the Rocky Mountains. The Denver International Airport was much larger than I anticipated. Before finding my friend, Veronica, who was picking me up from the airport, I stopped to get changed out of my warm plane clothes. I wouldn’t be needing jeans and a sweater on this hot 80 degree day. Once changed, I followed the signs to the baggage claim area. It took me on a shuttle bus and down 3 terminals. I couldn’t tell if I was going to the right spot until the escalator ride to the terminal. Getting off the elevator, I saw my friend ready to welcome me to her new home.
We headed into downtown Denver to grab dinner at her favorite pizza place,Marco’s Coal Fired Pizzeria, which has been recently renamed to Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana. The pizza was different than pizza I’m used to, but it was delicious. The pizza was light and not greasy at all. We ate the whole pie and some garlic parmesan wings. I didn’t regret one minute of it. The interior was relaxed, with comfortable plush booths yet had a warm Italian ambiance of a typical upscale pizza restaurant.
After finishing dinner, we walked around downtown Denver and saw everything from breweries, boutiques and even a dispensary, where they sell recreational marijuana. The state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. The windows of the dispensary were tinted and you couldn’t see inside. In order to enter past the lobby, you had to have your id checked to ensure you were over 21. It was all very official. If they are going to legalize this, it is good that Colorado is going to the means to ensure that it is regulated. Continuing our walk, we saw Coors Stadium along with people riding around on bike bars. An actually bar on a tandem bicycle. Denver seemed to be a fun and trendy city.
I wanted to see the State Capitol building while in Denver. We drove through the maze of mirrored buildings, their reflective surfaces bouncing rays of light from one building to another. Amid these modern high rises, I saw the gold foiled top of the State Capitol building. We were right in front of the building yet now we had to find a spot to park. Parking in the Capitol Hill district was impossible to find. We kept driving further away until we came across a spot. Yet, when we went to feed the meter, it ate our quarters. We circled around until we found another spot. Our quarters were accepted this time.
The walk wasn’t long but it was hot in the dry heat. There was a food festival going on right outside the capitol building, which would explain the parking situation. We got our bags checked, then walked in, simply passing through the festival. As we approached the Colorado State Capitol building, I realized how grand it was. It was impressive from every angle. I looked for the words on the 13th step. They were hard to see until you got closer to the stairs. But I found the marker for ‘one mile high’ on the 13th step. I stood a mile high in the mile high city amid the Rockies.