Our Colorado Springs hotel, the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, is a plush, immaculate resort with eight lodges housing 316 rooms and suites all with mountain or lake views, dominated by a lakeside 18-hole championship course. We checked in as the sun was setting and families were already gathering on the restaurant/bar terrace, some sitting on rocking chairs around a huge log fire (it was gas but looked just like the real thing). In the morning, I went for a jog and discovered the rest of the resort"s facilities - pools of all shapes and sizes, a lakeside beach, children"s play area, tennis courts, volleyball courts, spa, boating - you name it, this country club resort had it.
Once we had made full use of all the facilities, it was nearly brunchtime, so we headed to Western Omelette for an authentic American diner experience. It had been recommended by Zac, the hotel concierge, and he suggested I tried its special chilly sauce. It comes three ways - mild, medium and hot - and when I opted for the medium the waitress gave a knowing smile and advised me to try the mild first. When they say hot, they mean hot.
Coming from England, we were somewhat of a novelty to the waitresses here. America is the only place I know where they love an English accent and with such an adoring audience we found ourselves speaking like Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. They loved it.
Our final Colorado Springs attraction was the spectacular Garden of the Gods, a series of strange and awe-inspiring rock formations of red, blue, purple and white sandstones and limestone that rise majestically out of the ground due to the various uplifts of the Pikes Peak massif. We learnt all this and more in a 14-minute video called "How did those red rocks get there", shown in the visitors centre, also home to a mini-exhibit and a gift shop. It"s definitely worth a stop-off so you know what you"re admiring. You also get some great views of the rocks from a viewing deck.
The Garden of the Gods are free to the people of Colorado Springs and anyone can drive in and get up close. Maps tell you the names of them all - Kissing Camels, Balanced Rock, Siamese Twins. As if the rocks weren"t magnificent enough, a brave (or stupid) climber had somehow made his way to the top of one of the most death-defying steep ones, known as the Cathedral Spire. Perched on the thin summit, he was attracting attention from the other visitors who were all discussing how he got there and, more importantly, how the hell he was going to get down again. We stuck around as long as we could in the heat to await his descent, but when we left he was still sitting up there. I hope he made it down ok.
Thursday, September 29, 2011