A Drive Through the Rocky Mountains: Breckenridge & Aspen05 October 2013
This past weekend I was able to host not one but two couch surfers! As I mentioned in Walking in Denver, I spent last Saturday showing Alma around the city and then in the evening Romain from Bordeaux, France joined us. In the morning, Alma had to part to continue her journey to Portland which was too bad because she missed out on our mini Colorado road trip.
We set out early Sunday morning for Breckenridge. If you recognize this city, you probably know it for one of two reasons: snow sports and beer. As it isn't the appropriate season yet, we couldn't do any skiing or snowboarding (though I'm sure Romain was ok with that). Also Romain is only 19 years old and those pesky American laws say that he cannot drink. So here we were in the city of Breckenridge and we couldn't even do either of the things that it is most famous for!
After we ambled up and down the main street, we grabbed the cooler I had packed and relaxed by the river. There we had lunch and enjoyed the alpine charm of the town. I think that's got to be one of my favorite things about Colorado- the boundless natural beauty. The skies are almost blue and there's usually a white mountain in the distance. A complete 180 from Ohio!
Also, we couldn't have timed this trip any better. I was worried that we wouldn't see any of the fall colors as the leaves had just barely started to change in Denver but it turns out things are a bit different in the mountains. Nearly all the trees had donned their autumn hues which made for a spectacular drive up (we were stopping every few minutes to take pictures!). Luckily I didn't wait a few more days or I would have been greeted by snow instead!
Upon finishing our packed lunch, Romain treated me to some pastries in town. It was kind of funny going to an "authentic French bakery" with an authentic French person. He looked around the shop, "Wow, it all looks very good."
And then he saw the prices, "Are you serious? Almost 4 dollars for a croissant? This is snack food in France! Who would pay 4 dollars for a croissant? And the chocolate eclairs! Just as outrageously expensive!"
Luckily this conversation was in French so no one at the authentic French bakery could understand us complaining about the prices. We eventually settled on a large brioche to split and then set off.
Up here there were no more fall colors. We had now entered a tundra. At a certain point there were no more trees, only grasses and, at this time of year, snow!
One thing I learned about being in the mountains is how deceptive the sun can be. Driving in the car up the mountains we were actually hot but the second we stepped out the car we were whipped in the faces by blustery, cold winds. I snapped my pictures then quickly ran back to the car for shelter.
We wandered around the town for a bit and I have to admit, I was surprised. Maybe I'm mistaken, but ever since I was little I had been led to believe that Aspen was a super hoity-toity ski town, made to cater to the rich. I really didn't get that vibe, though. It seemed a lot like Breckenridge; small, charming, and unpretentious.
We passed our evening at Belly Up to see and amazing band, The Apache Relay. Seriously, if you like folksy rock music, you will love these guys. They always put on a great show full of energy and they're just generally awesome guys!
After the show we were exhausted so went straight to sleep. The next day had a lot more driving ahead of us!