view from the deck at Colorado State Capitol

Staycation: Colorado State Capitol

Outside the Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado State Capitol building was opened in 1894 in Denver, Colorado.  It is constructed of Colorado white granite and topped with a copper dome that is gilded in gold leaf from a Colorado mine.  The capitol sits on the eastern edge of Denver’s Civic Center and houses the Colorado General Assembly as well as the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer.

Outside, its western steps feature the official elevation of Denver.  The original marker on the fifteenth step is an engravement “One Mile High Above Sea Level”.  The elevation has been remeasured from time to time and as a result there is a marker on step 18 from 1969 and a marker on step 13 from 2003.

Denver Capitol

Inside the Colorado State Capitol

Inside the Colorado State Capitol, the building is comprised of the entire known supply Colorado Rose Onyx.  The rose marble which comes from Beulah, Colorado features patterns that look like people, animals, and objects.  White Yule Marble from Marble, Colorado is also used throughout the building. 

patterns of the rose marble at the Colorado State Capitol
Can you see the lady in the hat profile?

The dome includes an observation deck which opens to the outside.  After eight years of being closed for safety reasons, the deck is now open to visitors.  The level below the deck features stain glass windows that depict historical Colorado figures and events.  Its top floor includes Mr. Brown’s Attic Museum.

Tour of the Colorado State Capitol

While visitors may tour the Colorado State Capitol on their own, it is worth signing up for a free hour-long tour.  Tours are offered every hour from 10am to 3pm, Monday through Friday.  Reservations are not required, but tours do fill up, so be sure to arrive early.  In addition, reasonably priced parking downtown is difficult to find, so allow extra time.

My friend Ann and I joined a morning tour at the Colorado State Capitol and then went to lunch at nearby City O’ City.  We had a lovely tour guide who covered a significant amount of Colorado history, pointed out many of the wall hangings, the governor’s office, the House and Senate, and was frankly very enthusiastic about leading our group of mostly foreigners through the building.

Lunch at City O’ City

After our tour we walked to lunch at City O’ City. City O’ City is a popular vegetarian restaurant with a cute atmosphere located just one block south of the capitol.  It was packed when we arrived, but we were able to squeeze the last two seats out of the back bar.  Dishes served include salads, soups, sandwiches, and pizzas.  I had chorizo spice cauliflower tacos, and they were excellent. 

tacos

The short tour of the Colorado Capitol building plus lunch was a perfect staycation day in Denver! ETB

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frosty trees at NCAR

NCAR and Its Hiking Trails

After a very snowy weekend in Denver, I talked my friend Kat into doing approximately a 4-mile hike in Boulder on Tuesday.  The trails at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) seemed like a good option as NCAR doesn’t charge for parking like the smaller surrounding lots do.  In addition, the exhibits at NCAR are sort of interesting.  Too bad this national weather research center doesn’t help out weathermen get the forecast right!

Anyway, while Denver got at least twice as much snow as expected over the weekend, Boulder was spared.  Only three inches fell in the area.  Having four days to melt, we expected we’d see little snow and a lot of mud.

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shower room at Auschwitz

Offline GPS Guided Travel Articles Now Available on GPSMyCity

I’M PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE FOLLOWING TRAVEL ARTICLES ABOUT POLAND ARE NOW AVAILABLE WITH OFFLINE GPS GUIDED MAPS ON GPSMYCITY!

GPSMYCITY:

The GPSMyCity app is designed for people who enjoy exploring cities by foot.  The App offers countless travel articles and self-guided walking tours for over 1,000 cities world wide, including offline gps guided travel maps.

You may wonder, “What’s the big deal? I can read the travel post on your blog.”

Well, yes, assuming you have access to the internet, you can read my article on my blog.

But what if you don’t have access to the internet? Or you don’t have a good data plan in country you are visiting?  How do you find those famous sites or the corner pub?  With GPSMyCity, look no further.  You will have access to all kinds of walks around thousands of cities with offline GPS Guided travel maps.

Want to try different restaurants in Malaga, Spain?  There’s an app for that.  Just follow the GPS Guided Travel Map.

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Hiking in Centennial Cone Park

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Centennial Cone Park

Centennial Cone Park is part of Jeffco Open Space and is located just west of Golden, Colorado.  The park includes over 16 miles of trails, though Jeffco closes a large section of the park as well as Elk Ridge Trail seasonally for elk calving season. 

This did not stop Diana, Jim and me from checking out the southwest corner of Centennial Cone Park beginning at Mayhem Gulch Trailhead.  We decided on this hike Thursday night, but after 7 inches of snow in Denver (forecast called for 1-3), we expected we’d be snowshoeing.

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North Ten Mile Creek Trail

Roadtrip to the Rockies: North Ten Mile Creek Trail

North Ten Mile Creek Trail is located off the I-70 service road in Frisco.  As such the trail is easily accessible and no 4-wheel drive is needed.  The entire trail is a 6.5 mile out and back.  It begins at 9,164 feet and gains a little over 800 feet in elevation.

I joined a meetup group called “Baby Boomers” who scheduled a snowshoe last week.  While I’m not a Baby Boomer, the group is extremely active, offers a variety of events, and includes very welcoming members. As such, it is a fun group to join.

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coffee beans drying in Boquete

Top Things to Do in Boquete

Upon booking my impromptu trip to Panama, I hadn’t even heard of Boquete.  After sifting through a Panama travel guide, I ended up in this small mountain town for three days! Boquete is located in Panama’s western-most Province of Chiriquí about 40 miles from the Costa Rica border.  At 3,900 feet above sea level, its climate as well as its natural environment attracts locals, tourists and a large ex-pat community.

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along the creek on Three Waterfalls Trail

Hiking Three Waterfalls Trail in Boquete, Panama

The top two things to do in Boquete on Trip Advisor are to hike Sendero Los Quetzales and Tres Casacadas (Three Waterfalls) Trails.  The Three Waterfalls Trail is also called the Lost Waterfalls Trail.

It is highly recommended to take a guide for Sendero Los Quetzales which also requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle and there is a two-person minimum.  As such, just to take a hike was going to cost $190.  As an experienced hiker with an all-wheel drive car, that seemed a little ridiculous to me.

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fishing harbor with panama city skyline

Two and a Half Days in Panama City

I found a cheap flight to Panama, so I picked up a Lonely Plant guide and figured out a week’s itinerary…three days in Panama City and three days in Boquete.  Aside from the Panama Canal, I hadn’t heard much about the country, so I went with guarded expectations.  I was pleasantly surprised.

I found the wonderful Latin America culture coupled with some American conveniences such as safe drinking water, easy and cheap Uber rides, excellent food, and US currency.  To me, this was perfect!

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small boats entering miraflores locks in the Panama Canal

Visiting the Panama Canal

Ways to Visit the Panama Canal

When in Panama City, visiting the Panama Canal is a must.  There are many ways to see it including taking a boat passage through the whole thing, taking a day trip on a boat, taking a tour on the manmade Gatun Lake, going to one of the locks, or walking along the causeway.

Walking along the Cinta Costera on the causeway which connects three islands simply provides an opportunity to see the boats heading toward the canal. I probably wouldn’t call it a canal visit, but the walk is nice enough for views of the boats and water.

Taking a boat tour of Gatun Lake is a good way to see the vessels transitting the canal while also seeing wildlife, monkey island, a native Indian village, Fort San Lorenzo and other places depending on the chosen tour.

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