Well, Hisa and I made it back from our vacation to Colorado and Utah Monday night!
I know what you’re probably thinking.
Wait, you went on vacation?
Yeah…sorry about that. It was sort kind of a spur of the moment thing.
And by spur of the moment, I mean the idea was only even came up about a week before we left.
The thing is, in August, my whole family is planning on visiting my grandparents in Utah. They did it last year, but of course Hisa and I couldn’t go because we were in Japan. I haven’t seen my grandparents in several years, and Hisa has only ever met them briefly once, so we really wanted to go see them.
The problem is, Hisa will probably (hopefully!) start work within the next couple of months, and he probably won’t be able to take a week’s vacation right after he starts working to go see my grandparents. So we may not be able to go with everyone in August. We’re not sure at this point.
Hisa had the idea that he and I just take a road trip up there and see them now, stopping along some fun sightseeing places along the way.
I love it when he has these kinds of ideas.
So, after some planning and discussing, we decided to go for it, and take a week long trip.
We spent the first day driving to Colorado Springs.
If you’ve ever driven through Northeastern Oklahoma, Kansas, and/or Eastern Colorado, you’ll know that this is an incredibly boring drive. Nothing to see.
The second day, we went to the top of Pikes Peak via the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway in the morning; and visited the Miramont Castle Museum, toured the Historic Manitou Springs, and checked out the Broadmoor hotel in the afternoon.
Here’s the station where we boarded the cog railway to take us to the top of Pikes Peak. It was already a little chilly at this point!
Heading to the top of Pikes Peak…
I think the conductor said we passed through three different climate zones as we climbed. By this point we were above the tree line as you can tell. The whole area was so beautiful.
I took this right before we got off the train. It was cold! Beautiful, but cold!
A nice man offered to take our picture for us. That’s his finger in the corner. A lasting momento so we won’t forget him.
Notice all the ice.
They make these special high elevation donuts at the store/restaurant at the peak. They can only be made above 13,000 feet, so we got one to try out. It was yummy. It was also nice to sit down, because after walking around for a few minutes, I was so light-headed from the high altitude.
The temperature at the peak while we were there was 22 degrees F with a wind chill of 12 degrees F. That wind was bitter man. It hurt my teeth to smile!
See that lake in the distance? It’s frozen. :)
After getting back from Pikes Peak, we found a Polish restaurant at the nearby Historic Manitou Springs. I had the cabbage rolls which came with potato dumplings and a cucumber salad. So. Good. Seriously, I think these were the best cabbage rolls I’ve ever had.
Hisa had the pierogi (a kind of stuffed dumpling) with various fillings. These were also really really good!
“Are you done taking pictures so I can eat now?”
The Miramont Castle Museum. A huge Victorian mansion built by a French Catholic priest. Very cool.
The dining room. Everything was antique and accurate to the period. Even the wall paper.
My favorite room in the house. The kitchen! This was the coal burning stove. It has a kettle, fry pan, iron, waffle iron, pan for baking potatoes, and a large granite stone for placing in one’s bed to make it warm.
Everyone needs a suit of armor and a smoking jacket in their library/study.
Here I am in front of the grand staircase. It was amazing how huge this house was. It had four floors, and I don’t know how many rooms. This staircase was of course only for the priest, his mother, and their guests. There was a separate (tiny and narrow) staircase for the servants, who lived in tiny rooms on the fourth floor.
The priest’s mother’s room. Very big. There was actually a separate room room that was originally supposed to be her room, but her 13-foot four poster bed wouldn’t fit in it, so they had to build a bigger bedroom, and made the smaller room her designated dressing room.
After leaving the Miramont Castle, we headed back to the Historic Manitou Springs, pictured here. We looked around at all the shops, which was fun.
Afterwards we went to see the Broadmoor Hotel. We didn’t stay here, because it’s pretty expensive, but we’d heard a lot about it, so we wanted to go check it out. Rather than just a hotel, it’s more like a miniature city. They have a large number of buildings, they’re own little lake (which you can see in this pic), a few gold courses, shops, etc. It was a really pretty place, and fun just walking around, even though we didn’t stay there.
After leaving, we went back to our hotel for a little bit, then headed out to have dinner.
Tomorrow, I’ll post part II of our trip. :)