New Years day is generally not the most fun of the year but surprisingly I awoke sleepy but feeling ok. It’s always nice to be hangover free. We hung around for a while at Brooks’ place before hunger got the better of us and we headed out for brunch. We decided to head to Sams No.3 Diner – pretty much your quintessential American diner for some greasy proper American breakfasts to welcome the New Year. We arrived to a massive queue so left our names and headed off to explore the nearby Asian supermarket, where I was surprised to see shark on sale. Come on America, we expect better! After a whistlestop tour it was back to the diner for our breakfasts. Of course we started with a some boozy cocktails – I opted for the new year special of a cranberry mimosa which was absolutely delicious. Given our wait we had had time to scour the menu and I decided to try out a skillet – basically a plate with potatoes covered with cheese, eggs, chilli pork and a whole host of other ingredients. It was definitely the least breakfast like thing but utterly delicious and it came with a side of Texas toast which has to be the most unhealthy yet delicious way to eat toast ever!
After our big breakfast we had a bit of a work out today and so headed to Boulder, around 40 minutes from Denver for a late morning hike. Boulder is potentially a more popular destination than Denver for visitors to Colorado given its close proximity to the mountains. Thanks to Brooks’ excellent recommendation we chose Chautauqua Park for a beautiful hike in the sun through the forest. It was quite a steep uphill start but after getting their it was a gorgeous trail through forests with beams of sunlight shining in with lots of lookout points up to the Flatirons, some pretty beautiful mountains. There were also some pretty fantastic views down over the city of Boulder. We had a great time and even did a little rendition of Auld Lang Syne in the middle of the trail – I am sure much to the amusement of other hikers.
After our exercise for the day, we headed to wholefoods, for some snacks. I got some fab mixed herb olives and then some dark chocolate coated dried mango with a side of pumpkin pie and an enormous can of mango ice tea. This might be one of the most expensive food shops in the states but it only cost me $6!! What a bargain. We headed into Boulder to explore and did some window shopping around Pearl St, taking in the really cool court house (such a law geek) and some of the statues. We also popped into The Yellow Deli where they gave us a free sample of some of their excellent potato soup (with cheese of course) since I was from Scotland. Us British really should be more hospitable, free samples for American’s would just never happen. We headed back to the car and made our way back to Denver after a pretty excellent day, a nice start to the year.
We got back to Brooks’ place and finished packing up our stuff. It was my final day in Colorado and so my final day with Brooks and Carolyn. What an awesome trip the three of us had had exploring this gorgeous state. Will definitely be missing them both loads. We said a sad farewell to Brooks and headed for dinner in Aurora. This is the area in Denver which Brooks stays and has a huge variety of nationalities and so a huge variety of particularly good Asian restaurants. We had planned to check out China Jade but hadn’t thought about the fact it was new years and so it had closed early however, luckily there was an Indian place right next to it that we decided to check out instead. We were the only people there and the waiter soon cleared up the mystery – apparently the restaurant was about to close and the owner had just fired all of the staff, so he was standing in as a waiter since he was the owners mate. They did still have a chef and so we ordered and were soon treated to some very ‘homemade’ poppadoms with some really fantastic chutneys. Even Carolyn who declared she didn’t want any became hooked. When we had ordered we had specified I had spent a lot of time in India and so liked spicy food and the chef did not disappoint. My Madras was suitably spicy with a great flavour and loads of tender meat – curry perfection. It is a real shame this place is closing, but is just a reminder that sometimes when you take a chance on somewhere you get a great meal.
The same could not be said for our hotel. We had booked a cheap motel option next to the airport to be close for my standard early flight the next day and Best Western had been offering the best deal at the time. It was kind of hidden behind a Days Inn but we found it eventually and checked-in after a really long wait which mainly consisted of everyone in front of us complaining. The room was certainly nothing close to the worse I have stayed in but for $60 it wasn’t great. There was an ominous swimming pool and hot tub facility on the main floor that was a suspicious shade of brown and the carpets had all seen better days. It was a bed though, so we sorted all our luggage out and enjoyed our last night until June watching the final Harry Potter film – legendary.