All work and no play makes me pretty much exactly what I am, so we're taking a much-needed long weekend trip to Denver. It's been ten years since I've been up here, and that trip was all business so I didn't get to see much of the city. A lot of highways, some of which were incredible (I had to drive to Grand Junction), but not much of Denver.
Ever since we watched Gary Huzwit's Urbanized, I've kept an eye out for how cities are put together and run, what works, what doesn't and things of that ilk. Denver, to a newly-arrived traveller, seems to have some good things going on in the downtown area. It's one of the most walkable downtowns I've visited. Based on what I've seen, there are enough support systems to support someone working and living downtown and not having to own a car. There's public transit, rental smart cars, plenty of bike infrastructure, and there's an unusual amount of useful shops. I've only seen a tiny sliver of the city and I'm sure there are plenty of problems, but they seem to be doing a lot of thing well.
Oh, and of course, it's insanely beautiful outside today. The temperatures are going to be in the 50-70 Fahrenheit degrees range, and the air is a crisp as advertised. We couldn't have lucked in to a nicer weekend. On the off chance that you're interested in such things, I won't be indulging in the recreation which was recently legalized here. It's interesting, though, to see shops advertising legal marijuana in the central business district. I can't see whatever disadvantages one might dream up outweighing the obvious benefits, so I imagine this sort of thing will spread wildfire.
This being a short trip, we decided to do it up a little* and we're staying at the Monaco. It's such a lovely, quirky place, typical of the Kimpton hotels. We have a fish bowl in our room now just because we commented on the one at the front desk. Apparently, this is just a thing they do. Silly, I know, but it's delightful and there's way too little delight in the world these days.
This being a "recharge the batteries" kind of trip, we have very few specific things planned. We're going to walk around and enjoy this lovely town, chill in this ridiculous hotel, and get out and about and see a few friends. The rest will be all improv. We're very fortunate in that we're both most comfortable handling vacations this way.
The real risk, for me, is this: Will I come back from this vacation full of vim** and ready to get back to work? Or will I instead come back thinking, "gee, I could really get used to that whole 'vacation' thing?" I think maybe Calvin's dad was on to something...
P.S The image if a stock photo of Idaho Springs, Colorado. We drove up that way to kill some time and determined that, while the mountains are really pretty and impressive, driving through them on the interstate isn't quite all that.
P.P.S. I just finished reading Hermann Hesse's Sidhartha. Funny book, in the sense that's it's very much a post-WW1 German thinker*** telling a very non-German story and it reminded me a lot of Nietzsche's Zarathustra. I like reading purely philosophical novels. Even if I don't agree with them, it's fun to work out precisely why you don't.
* "Do it up" did not include the flight. We took Frontier, the Ryan Air of the American West (tm). I'm all for bare bones budget flight, but charging upwards of $25 to check or carry any bag seems a little excessive.
** Not vigor. No one has ever described me as especially vigorous, and besides, isn't vigor just getting by on vim's coattails these days?
*** Oh so many mentions of "nausea."