Saturday, May 29, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A couple of days ago, Nate and I visited Estes Park on an overnight trip. Nate had been there before, but it was my first time visiting the quaint town of Estes Park. A few times I felt like I was "home", because of the touristy nature of Estes Park. We passed multiple ice cream and candy shops. Not to mention, the town felt like an escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city (suburban) life. It was what I expected of a mountain town, and we would both love to return again soon.
Our time in Estes Park was a nice escape from our everyday lives. We spent some time walking the main street that runs through town, and we discovered an operating watermill in the river at the end of town. The running water masked what little bit of noise we heard, making the atmosphere rather peaceful. Beautiful! Multiple times on our walk through town we inhaled deep breathes of the freshest air we had breathed in a while. The town, all of the people walking the streets, the clean air, and the wildlife were all a breath of fresh air to us both.
While visiting Estes Park, we experienced some things we don't usually see back home. We spotted quite a few deer and elk while on a drive up to the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. The entrance fee was a little more than we wanted to spend this trip, so we're hoping to visit again some other time and drive into the park when we have more time to explore. Not to mention, the weather was a bit "crisp". And by crisp, I mean it snowed while we were there. I don't consider snow to be the best hiking weather, and we didn't bring our snow shoes (we actually don't own any, but I wouldn't mind having some). Since we weren't exactly prepared for snow, we decided to visit the Stanley Hotel and stay inside for the day. The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places, so we got our dose of history on our trip to Estes Park too.
Nate and I both loved our visit to the Stanley Hotel. On our drive into the parking lot at the hotel, we saw a group of people obviously on a tour of the property. We both decided, hands down, that we wanted to take the tour too. The earlier tours had filled by the time we got there, so we signed up for a tour about two hours later. We spent some time walking around on our own, and we also enjoyed a little time in the bar next to the lobby of the hotel. I obviously had to drink the "Redrum Punch" and Nate drank a "Shining-inspired" beer brewed by the Estes Park Brewery. The hotel, as we discovered during the tour, has a very rich and interesting history. Not only did the hotel inspire Stephen King to write his book, The Shining, but some scenes from the movie Dumb & Dumber were filmed there too. (If you're a D&D fan, you might recognize the staircase below as the one where Lloyd grabs Mary's ankle and trips her up while they raced up the stairs.) The tour of the Stanley Hotel proved very informative and exciting!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Over the years, I've been known to book a flight solely based off of whether or not it included a layover somewhere I hadn't been yet. Layovers mean you may get to see a new place, even if it is just a snippet. It depends on how much of a hurry you're in, but give it a shot if you're not in a rush.
Many people find my enjoyment of the airport a little odd, but everyone loves a place that others find a little strange. (If you say that you love funeral homes, I'll be a little worried... but to each his own).
Most people don't enjoy being at the airport. They find it stressful and hectic. My advice would be to arrive extra early for your flight, because that really seems to reduce the stress of travel. Not to mention, you may even have time to grab a little food if you get there early enough!
One of my favorite pass-times at the airport is people watching. I've seen some very interesting things at the airport. Wild outfits, celebrities, carry-on animals, and odd human behavior. Flying used to be something that only the rich and glamorous could afford, but today many walks of life travel via airplane. Sometimes you see passengers dressed to the nines, and you also see people looking like they just rolled out of bed (which they might have if it's an early flight). I've observed people walking their tiny "carry-on" dogs through the concourse, and I've watched people walk their children on leashes throughout the hallways. I never understood the child leash thing. Just know that if you love people watching, the airport is a great place to look!
I enjoy having conversations with people at the airport. I've had numerous conversations with people I've met at airports. Their destinations often intrigue me, their stories of travel interest me, and I almost always have to learn a little about them and their lives. The hustle and bustle of an airport is something that will never bore me! You never know who you might pass by while traveling through an airport.
The dynamics of the airport amaze me every time! It overwhelms me just thinking about everything that must happen in order to make the whole thing run smoothly. So many things happen simultaneously, and not always visibly, just for daily operation.
As an airline passenger you've probably experienced delays, and usually there is nothing you can do about it. Being at the mercy of the airlines and mother nature often makes travelers weary. All you can do is show up and go with the flow. If you're not a "go with the flow" kind of person, then flying can wear you out if you let it. Instead, I suggest taking a second to enjoy the little things that make the airport such a fascinating place. It doesn't have to be a stressful experience. I always recommend taking some time to take a look around you.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Something that really took me by surprise, while climbing, was the wind. No, not that there was wind, but the quiet that the gusting wind created. We could not hear any sounds other than each other and the wind. It blew me away (no pun intended) how powerful the wind was and to realize that the wind was shaping the dunes around us as we climbed. The next time we visit, the wind will have re-shaped the dunes into something new. Pretty amazing if you ask me.
I was determined, once laying eyes on the sand dunes from the parking lot, to reach the highest dune in sight. The achievement alone was a prize, and who knew what else we would find at the top. At this point, can I remind everyone how difficult it is to walk/run on sand? If you have ever run on a beach you know what I mean. Now imagine walking uphill in sand. Ah yes. It felt like maybe we were walking backwards on an upward moving escalator. I just told Nate we had to keep climbing if we ever wanted to reach the top. We could do it! All the while, the wind pelted our legs with what felt like tiny pieces of glass. Just when we thought we had the highest dune in sight, we would reach it to find a higher one. They surely didn't seem that far away from the parking lot. Oh well. We climbed and climbed... and climbed... and climbed... all the while emptying our shoes what seemed at least 100 times. It got to the point where it felt like the wind was pushing us downhill and it was working against our climbing, but let me tell you it made our downhill sprint that much faster! (so worth it if you ask me) Nate and I ended up holding hands and basically pushing/pulling each other up the highest dunes. At this point, Ben was just a speck in the distance. I knew we needed some motivation. So I reminded Nate that we were going to the San Luis Valley Brewing Co. afterwards, and that we would deserve the "ice cold beer" that much more after this. On our final ascent, we were chanting "Ice cold beer! Ice cold beer!" In no time, we finally realized we had reached the top of the highest dune, and boy was that amazing! The sand pelted us from the West, the wind noise was deafening, and we were shocked to see infinite sand dunes in the distance. Even though we found that we only "conquered" a small piece of the dunes, we were still pretty happy with reaching our goal. Not to mention, the view was incredible! I knew the climb would be worth it all along.
Don't get me wrong, the climb was... fun... and everything, but the descent was exhilarating! Like I mentioned previously, it took us about 1/4 of the time to reach the bottom than it did to climb to the top. An obvious reward of the tough climb, happened to be the run/dance down the dunes. I'll blame my awkwardness on tired legs. My upper body moved much faster than my legs, and I almost toppled over while attempting to run down the dunes. Nate's long legs carried him with ease. On numerous times I laughed so hard I almost wet myself. (And we were a long way from any restroom) I was actually laughing at Nate, who was laughing at me and my awkwardness. We have the pictures to prove it, but I'm not going to show any pictures of me running down the dunes. Nate told me I ran like a girl, and I retaliated by telling him I am a girl. Good one, Nate. After all of the fun and games, we were back where we started. But with a much greater appreciation and respect for the towering dunes behind us.
Nate, Ben, and I enjoyed our handsome reward at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company in Alamosa. The guys just had a pint or two, since they had to fly the next day. I, of course, had to try a little of everything and went with the sampler!
The peace and quiet, while climbing the dunes, was unbelievable. It was a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Denver. We accomplished our goal of reaching the highest dune to find that the dunes were much larger than we ever thought. When it comes to the creation of sand dunes, never underestimate the power of wind. On the flight out of Alamosa, we flew by the sand dunes. I laughed at how small they looked from the air.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The St. Gallen library may not be ideal for a personal library, but the reading nook shown below might be. I found the picture of this cute little reading nook while browsing google images, and I would love to have a spot like this in a future house! What a smart and multi functional space. It wouldn't take too much room in a house, and it has a spot for keeping books and reading... score!