Friday, August 19, 2011

Denver, CO - 8th August

Peter had left early for Atalanta for a one-day business trip (bringing his life-time air-miles with Frontier to just short of 1.5m) leaving me to fend for myself in Denver. Taking the liberty of another long lie-in I skipped breakfast and headed straight for lunch, with a japanese restaurant along the vibrant 16th St. Mall serving itself well. After lunch I took a leisurely walk up along 16th St., central Denver's main street, up towards the Capitol and City Hall. Artist-decorated pianos lie dotted along 16th St. - hoping to draw a crowd and find my fortune as a street entertainer, my rendition of Chopsticks unfortunately drew little more than shifty glances from passers-by.

16th St. Pianos, Denver, CO

Further up I passed a herd of buffalo.

Crouching tiger, Grazing buffalo

A tour of the Denver Capitol was sure to lighten my musical-failure-induced, downtrodden spirits - and indeed it did. The Capitol is quite a remarkably building, standing proudly on top of the East elevation of Civic Park. It's glamorous interior makes for an interesting wander

Main Atrium, Capitol

View through circular balcony

The Senate Chamber

Of particular interest is the circular hall of Presidents, and the 91-step climb up to the top of the dome with spectacular views all over downtown Denver.

With the afternoon wearing on I paid a quick visit to the Cathedral Basilica, just east of the Capitol, for a quick prayer and made my way to the Denver Art Museum. However, on the way there I paid a quick visit into the Denver Public Library, all the way up to the top floor to have a look at a famous table I'd been told about. I usually don't go out my way, especially up 7 floors, to see what I eat my breakfast on every day, but this table was different. It was the table the members of the G8 sat around when the 23rd G8 Summit was held in Denever in 1997 - I can now say I've sat in Bill Clinton's G8 chair: a paltry claim to fame; but a claim to fame nonetheless.

The Denver Art Museum is closed on Mondays, meaning I was restricted to admiring it from the outside.  For those who have visited this particular building, I'd draw your attention to what I saw as a striking similarity between the Libeskind-designed Frederic Hamilton building of the Denver Art Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum's Lee-Chin-designed Crystal.

With the afternoon drawing to a close I made my way back through the downtown district back to the loft, passing as I walked the Denver Convention Centre with its famous Blue Bear Sculpture.

Big Blue Bear

Having escaped, unscathed, near death by blue bear I stopped by the locally revered Tattered Cover Bookstore. This little gem, located just a few blocks away from Peter and Paula's loft acts as a coffee-shop-come-bookstore-come-library. Readers are invited to enter, grab a drink, relax in the comfortable chairs dotted throughout the store and grab a book of the shelves with no pressure to buy, and no social condemnation for spending an hour reading (even finishing) a book, replacing it on the shelf, and walking away. The Tattered Cover is also well known for another reason: namely that the owner, Joyce Meskis, who also lives in Peter & Paula's building, fought a legal case against the Government all the way to the Supreme Court when being forced to disclose customer records to the CIA (turns out the individual record they wanted proved only that the chap was a keen horticulturist and not the home-made drug-baron they had suspected).

I returned to the Wynkoop after an hour or so of Tattered Booking and met Paula for some supper. We took the easy (though nourishing) option of another buffalo burger at the Wynkoop Brewery three floors below. Some beer back in the loft completed my first day-proper in Denver.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Greig, here is more detail of the story of Joyce's court case ... the gist is right in your post but a few of the details are wrong (mainly my fault I think :) !!)