Sunday, December 21, 2014

Downtown Delights

Today's post is mostly pictures taken over this weekend when Beloved and I boarded the light rail train to visit downtown Denver. My husband has taken the days between our wedding anniversary and New Year's Day as vacation for the last nearly 40 years. We seldom go out of town, preferring to spend Christmas at home, and to avoid the hassles uncertainties of winter travel. 

This is something we happily anticipate and by the time these special couple of weeks arrive, we have a list of movies we want to see, local sightseeing destinations, people to visit, and usually a home improvement project or two. Oh, and restaurants.  We do what we can to keep them in business.

The train approaches

Secrets to an enjoyable trip downtown: 
(1) wear comfortable walking shoes
(2) follow directions

We rode all the way to the end, which took us to the remodeled Union Station in the heart of downtown Denver

We had to take a modern underground tunnel underneath these tracks to get from the light rail to the Amtrak train station

It has been several years since we last were inside Union Station. Although not as large as some of the big-city train stations on the East Coast, this one is impressive. The two polished rectangles in the center of this photo are shuffle board games to entertain passengers as they wait.

I lost count how many restaurants are in Union Station. We could walk in a straight line from one end of the building to the other, passing through the different eateries. In one of them we could stand and watch the many chefs busily preparing brunch food.

Interesting 'eye candy' could be found high and low

Speaking as one who has hung a lot of pictures in my lifetime, this arrangement in a stairwell interested me.

A bookstore, gift shops, and photos with Santa

The huge Christmas tree was beautiful and 
a good place for staging pictures

The day was young for us, so we didn't stop to eat while in the train station. We had entered on the west side of the building, 
so we exited on the east side, which opened up 
to the heart of downtown Denver.

We had to make some decisions about which way we would go.

Larimer Square is not a square at all, but rather 
a street block or two with shops and restaurants. 

Years ago when our children were small, the draw at Christmastime was a Dickens theme but that is not emphasized so much nowdays.

Back a hundred years ago, Larimer Street 
was a place of ill repute, but that's all been cleaned up and redeemed for more honorable purposes.

I was especially interested in how the different shopkeepers had decorated their sidewalk planter boxes at a time of year when the temperature is too cold to grow anything.

Seasonal decor was everywhere.

The outdoor temperature that morning was in the mid-forties, which on a sunny day in Colorado, 
is sweater or light-jacket weather. However, 
when walking in the shadows of skyscrapers, it feels cold.  

We ducked into this deli that's stood the test of time on Larimer Street while other businesses have come and gone. It felt good to warm up for just a few minutes before going back outside.

But clearly, there was an expectation by other cafe owners  that by lunchtime, people would be willing to dine outside.

Some shopkeepers gave a warm welcome...

... and good advice.

We successfully navigated ourselves past this place of strong temptation, not wanting to end up looking like their mascot!

We left Larimer Square by walking over to the 16th Street Mall, a major street in downtown that is closed to all car traffic. Mall shuttle buses  and the occasional horse-drawn carriage make walking safe for all pedestrians.

This is the historic D and F Tower, which although tall, has long since its construction been dwarfed by Denver's skyscrapers.

The Kris Kringle Market was set up in temporary shelters for Christmas shopping. We saw woolens, tree ornaments, smoked salmon and beer, among other things. However, we were there just for the sights, sounds, and scents.  The scene was eye candy for my camera and we didn't spend any money.

It's not Rockefeller Center, but Denver does provide 
outdoor ice skating along the 16th Street Mall.

These are just some random pictures that have varying degrees of significance to Beloved and me.

As you could tell from my earlier comments, we had no intention of trying to enjoy lunch outside. We went inside the Paramount Cafe where we ordered salads with chicken and salmon. We sat next to a large window where we could see the people coming and going. One particularly interesting character man was wearing an orange and blue (Denver Bronco colors) robot-type costume, pestering people as they came and went. No, I did not take his picture. I just wasn't real sure as to what that was all about.

We also could see this carousel from our restaurant vantage point.

After lunch, we climbed the steps at the Pavillions 
and got another view of that same carousel.

We came across a bookstore and spent no small amount of time browsing in there. While we both like to read books on our electronic devices, it is still very enjoyable to be in a bookstore. I took snapshots of books I might like to read sometime.

Back out on the mall, we continued to make note 
of the Christmas decorations and take snapshots.

At the end of the 16th Street Mall is the capitol building for Colorado. In the last year the gold dome has been 
cleaned and restored to its original beauty.  
At this point we turned around to retrace 
our steps so we could find 
a light rail stop and head back home. 

I hope you've enjoyed my picture-story 
and our trip to downtown Denver. 

My blogging this week may be more photos than 
verbiage, if there's even time for that.

But I know you understand.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed seeing your day in Denver through your camera lens, Barbara. I was very impressed with Union Station's renovations --it is a nice place to visit. We have not taken light rail as yet. Someday we hope to go to a Rockies' baseball game by rail.