If you didn't like the food in the US...
October 6th, 2005

…perhaps you are having the wrong friends? I don’t remember who -jokingly- said it first, but it was the resume of our vacation abroad. The trip was phenomenal, firstly because of all the wonderful people we met throughout our stay and secondly because of the perfect preplanning that our dear friends Stephanie & David had done in advance. Oliver had both lived on the east coast for a few years and has seen quite a bit of the west coast but Colorado was new to us both. What a beautiful state!

Ouray Livery Barn>>more pictures (pop-up)

We left Germany in pouring rain (including flight delays, which temporarily gave us the horror of missing our connection to CO) and in the end returned back to Munich being welcomed by the exact same -bad- weather (even more delays). But, much more important, in-between we’ve been blessed with picturesque blue skies and temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (~27 degrees Celsius). Just perfect conditions for exploring this nice patch of earth and besides, how is that for a great start: on the first night S&D spoiled us with a superb home cooked Donna Hay dish.

..to Ouray

Thirst and dryness. Leaving the airport, the first thing that struck us, was the warm/hot-dry climate combined with Colorado’s elevation. The lowest point we got to was somewhere around 6000 feet (~1800 meter) above sea level, the highest close to around 12000 feet (~3700 meter), which we “lowland-Germans” aren’t used to. Our chapstick-supply could have lasted for a full year in Germany. Secondly, how friendly everyone treats you. Reminiscing about past visits to the States, I keep wondering whether or not in hindsight everything looks 20/20, skewing my perception of the kindness and courtesy of the people. But every new visit proved my memories right. Same thing with hospitality. Friends and family of S&D, lovely people we haven’t met once in person before, invited us over to various private occasions and dinners – each and every time producing a sincere and simply unforgettable experience. It was such a joy!

Red Mountain Pass

Our trip lead us from Colorado Springs, where we stayed at S&D’s adorable place, through the Rocky Mountains down to Ouray, Silverton and Durango back to CS, then up to Boulder and finally Denver. Our route took us along one of the most beautiful passes we’ve traveled on, the Red Mountain Pass. With the turning leaves it was picture perfect. Wildlife, which we as city kids don’t necessarily get to see on a daily basis, kept us fascinated: Deer in driveways, racoons on a pedestrian walk, foxes on the college campus, plenty of fun squirrels and chipmunks everywhere you go, coyotes (at least their ululations) at a BBQ, even a black bear next to the road and uncountable horses.

During our side trip, per our friends’ recommendation we’ve been staying at St. Elmo Hotel in Ouray, the beautiful The Gable House in Durango (see image below) and the charming Alps Boulder Canyon Inn in Boulder (all highly recommendable, their individual websites unfortunately don’t do them justice though!)

The Gable House, Durango

What kept us busy the rest of the time? Delicious food, more food and even more food (a food special is in the making). OK there was shopping involved, too. Fine, major shopping and for Oliver a good deal of golf. Isn’t this what vacation is about, having a wonderful time? In that regard Oliver and I are a perfect match, while I don’t get bored watching him pursue his favorite sport, he doesn’t have to endure my shopping sprees…

Schwans Ice Cream

And damage was done. I really do love Munich and its various kitchen stores, but shopping for kitchen utensils in the US is 10 times the fun – much broader variety of everything for less money. Among my favourite stores I always fall for Crate&Barrel, Sur la Table, Le Gourmet Chef, CHEF’S Catalog and – of course – Williams-Sonoma …The only concern I had was, that I may have had to explain to German customs how I was able to fit a ton of kitchen utensils in our suitcases… True happiness I found, however, by discovering and exploring various antique shops along our route. Most prominently the one in Durango (Durango Antique Market, 600 East 2nd Street), who’s owner coincidentally also goes by Nikki (ok, different spelling but still a sign, right?). Needless to say I was SUCCESSFUL.

The only downer was that the horse trail ride I was so looking forward to got cancelled last minute due to weather concerns. While the sky over Durango was blue with a few clouds here and there, 15 miles north in the mountains the ranch was under water… Oh well, on the other hand another good reason to come back :)

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2005

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