September 10, 2014. I do not like to end road trips by a big city - but that's where the airports are . Big city = return to reality, far from nature and wide open spaces. In addition, when it's the first time I land in a place, well I'm lost - what do we do, where do we go, do we go to a museum? do we sit in a cafe all day, but if we do that, we do not see the city, maybe we'll never come back, have to enjoy! In short, after 15 days of road trip, doing city tricks seemed weird. But finally, I enjoyed this last day of vacation in Denver , it was nice as a beautiful late summer day .

The Denver Botanical Garden

As we took it as sleeves, we do not have a single guide on Denver available - he's kindly stayed at home, on a shelf. We search in the big mess of the Internet what we could see in Denver. The activity number 1 which stands out is none other than the botanical garden. 5 stars. We like flowers and colors, we go there. The weather is nice outside, big blue sky, sun. At the entrance, it's the crowd! And the lady of the checkout even tells us it's a calm day.

The gardens are huge, divided by themes , there is an exhibition of glass sculptures by Chihuly , an American artist who integrates his sculptures into landscapes - there is also one of his sculptures at the MFA in Boston and near Seattle. from the Space Needle. In my subjective classification of botanical gardens seen in the United States, it comes in the lead: it is beautiful ! NB: The Florida Botanical Gardens are defending themselves well in this ranking, with a big up to that of Naples.

Five Points, the Denver Historic District

Denver was founded in 1858 : gold was discovered here, the pioneers of the mad western rush stop there: Denver is well located, between the Great Plains, and before the Rocky Mountains, one is almost dead in the middle of the country. The city is growing. It is called Denver, not in honor of the dinosaur, but the governor of neighboring Kansas, James Denver. It is nicknamed "Mile High City" because its elevation - 1,600 meters above sea level, is 1 mile. This district of Five Points was the first to emerge. It is now changing: there was work when we were there. The avenues are wide, there are everywhere bars and restaurants at the foot of the big buildings in brick.

Highland, north of Denver

We ended up in this neighborhood north of the city because the waitress at a tacos restaurant told us that there was a great ice cream shop there: "You're gonna love it". Taken by the force of the ice in summer, we found this ice cream shop installed in a huge pot of milk, then we walked in this residential area to a large park, Confluence Park, at the edge of a river. Super quiet atmosphere.

Hipster alert: Kombucha in sight! And on the right a sculpture called "Big pile of red beans"

The Civic Center and Denver Capitol

In the late afternoon, we go through the Civic Center where the city's capitol is located - since it's the capital of Colorado, there is a capitol. Around the green grass square are other institutions, such as the town hall and the art museum . The streets are deserted, or almost.

Left: Bronco Buster or the broncho tamer, on the right: an Indian.

Good addresses

Marg's Taco Bistro, 200 Fillmore Street . The best tacos I've eaten here are not in California, not in New Mexico, but during the happy hour of Marg's Taco Bistro. The tortillas were fresh, the original side dishes, and the margarita … exquisite. We stopped in this taqueria by chance or rather because it was in front of a nice bookstore, Tattered Cover Bookstore.

Little Man Ice Cream, 2620 16th St. An ice cream vendor in a giant milk jug? Ok, here we go.

The Art Hotel , close to the art museum. A sublime hotel, with a superb terrace bar

Practical information on Denver, Colorado:

Flight / Airport: Denver was the starting and ending point of our Colorado / Utah road trip. By domestic flight in the United States, it is a great destination, not very expensive and right in the middle of the country, so not too many flying hours from where you come from. Denver is the perfect point to then explore the Rocky Mountains , stopping at Boulder , which is an hour's drive north of Denver.

Most of the time, when possible, we travel with JetBlue because (1) we have their American Express credit card so we accumulate points for free flights (about 1 to 2 per year) - (2) it's one of the only companies I know of not charging for checked baggage ($ 50 return for other companies). But it seems that it will soon change … (3) the American Express includes a damage insurance when renting a car - and this year, having had an accident just before returning the car, we benefited from it. All information on road trips, flights, insurance, are on the recap page of road trips in the United States.

Car Rental: We rented the car for our Denver road trip, and we drove it back to Denver - it helps avoid car abandonment charges. The rental was much more expensive if we took it at the airport itself, Manu found a business rental center in a resort not far from the airport, with a free hotel shuttle, at the Holiday Inn Tower , 6900 Tower Road. We recommend it because it divides the price of many.

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I still have some stages of this road trip to tell you, and then we move on to something else.