You know you're in a big city when you pay an exorbitant amount to park downtown. Our motel out by the airport wasn't ready for us, so we decided to park the fully loaded van in a big parking garage across the street from where our walk started. We paid $20 for the privilege and spent about four hours in downtown Denver.
Our walk started at the Courtyard by Marriott. As we came out of the parking garage side door, we had to cross what we thought was a "pedestrian" mall lined with restaurants and shops. I was ahead of Darren and Susan by a few minutes and I easily walked across the "mall" to the hotel and signed in for the walk.
When Susan and Darren came in a few minutes later, they were a bit flustered. They came out of the same parking garage side door and were about to cross the mall when a bus almost hit them. It seems their "pedestrian mall" allows buses to traverse the length of it. It's a good thing we learned that quickly. Our walk started out with us going along that very mall.
All of us were hungry, so we had lunch at Chili's before we started walking. The food and service were very good. Fueled up, we started our 11k (6.8 mile) Capitol Volksmarch.
|Artsy blue trees|
We also noticed some trees were painted blue--electric blue to be precise. There is also a massive blue bear continually peeking into the front window of the Colorado Convention Center. (We'll see the bear later in this blog.)
I checked the internet for "blue trees in Denver" and found an article on 9News titled, "Here's why there are blue trees in Denver," by Mike Grady, KUSA, dated April 23, 2017. Here are some excerpts:
That begged the question,"Why are the trees blue?"
"You're almost coming into a three-dimensional, Dr. Seuss, surreal environment," said New Zealand artist Konstantin Dimopoulos.
The Blue Trees is a project Konstantin came up with to draw attention to deforestation. "How do you make that visible in an urban environment? My way was to acctually bring some color into it," says Konstatin. He applies a biologically safe, water-based colorant to the trees...
The idea is to attract people's attention, "then we start discussing the importance of trees," explains Konstantin. "Not only the importance of trees in a city, but the importance of trees for us phyically around the world, and how important they are for us breathing..."
Since the colorant is water based, a good dousing of rain will wash it away...We were lucky to find the trees still blue in mid-June!
|The art of reflected buildings|
|Capitol under construction (but still open)|
Unlike Cheyenne, Wyoming, which was built because of the railroad and Cattle Barons, Denver sprang up because of the discovery of gold in the Rocky Mountains in 1858. When the first Territorial Legislative Assembly met in Denver in 1861 to debate the location of the capital city, they decided on Colorado City, now a part of Colorado Springs. One year later, the capital was moved to Golden. In 1867, the seat of government was moved back to Denver, where it has remained ever since.
Excavation for the capital building did not begin until the summer of 1886, ten years after Colorado's statehood was granted. The construction lasted nearly 15 years until 1901, although many offices were in use in 1894.
|Inside Denver's Capitol|
|Our tour guide and interior of Capitol|
I would be remiss if I did not tell you more about the rose onyx used for the wainscoting. The pink coloration of this onyx has not been found anywhere else in the world. It took seven years to complete the installation of the rose onyx. More than a thousand likenesses have been found in the stone that resemble famous people, animals, and objects. Among the most famous are the faces of George Washington (west wing rotunda wall) and Molly Brown (west wing archway).
|Rose onyx wainscoting|
Our tour guide directed our attention to "Women's Gold," a hand-stitched embroidery and appliqué tapestry that is 9' x 12' and took 4,500 hours and two years of intensive work to complete. More than 3,500 people put at least one stitch in the tapestry. It pays homage to the courage, perseverance, and sacrifices women made to help settle and civilize the state.
The title, "Women's Gold," comes from the practice of many pioneer women carrying the roots of flowers and herbs from their former eastern homes to their new homes in the West. The Yellow Harrison Rose, in particular, flourished along the mining town mountain slopes, and the miners dubbed them "women's gold."
|"Women's Gold" tapestry|
Next, we moved into the rotunda. Eight huge murals grace the walls. Every panel stresses the importance of water throughout Colorado's history. The pictures were painted on canvas in 1940 and then attached to the rotunda walls.
|Three rotunda murals|
|Grand staircase in the rotunda|
|Grand staircase has 176 brass balusters|
|Capitol dome with Colorado Hall of Fame|
The stained glass below shows the Chinese laborers and Chin Lin Sou (upper panel) and the Japanese laborers and Naoichi Hokazono (lower panel).
|Chief Jack House (upper panel) and|
Buckskin Charlie (lower panel)
|House of Representatives|
|Beautiful columns and arches|
|House of Representatives from upper gallery|
|The dome, our next stop|
|They love Pres. Barrack Obama|
|I'm a fan of Pres. Abraham Lincoln|
|In Mr. Brown's Attic|
|Large windows slide up and down|
and a spiral staircase we could not climb
|Susan M. on the observation deck|
|City and County Building|
|Close-up of City and County Building dome|
with the Rockies in the distance
|Me on the observation deck|
|Returning down the 61 steps|
|We say good-bye to the state capital|
|Unsinkable Molly Brown House and Museum|
|Unsinkable Molly Brown House and Museum|
|Denver's Art Musem|
|Fanciful art on the museum roof|
In the mall between the Capitol and the City and County Building is a Greek-amphitheater-like structure. This venue is used for many events.
|"On the War Trail," by|
Alexander Phimister Proctor, Sculptor
|The City and County Building|
|Colorado Convention Center|
|Blue bear peeking in the window|
of the Convention Center
|Denver Performing Arts Center|
|We drove past this huge sculpture|
on the way out of downtown.
Tomorrow we'll be out in nature again. Woo hoo! Come back and see us in action.