I’ve visited Alqueva right after it was finished, because my dad wanted to see it. Like you said, the views are incredibly stunning! I’m glad you’re enjoying your time in Portugal : )
So going back to my weekend in Colorado, it’s time to tell you about Nederland! Most people don’t know about this place, but I can tell you in just one word: P-A-R-A-D-I-S-E! I completely fell in love with this town located in the Rocky Mountains. On my way there I was already impressed by the scenic views. Also, all the green was covered in white, which made it even more beautiful.
When I got to Nederland, my Airbnb host, Lester, picked me up downtown and took me on a quick tour around the area. Everything is within walking distance, but there’s a lot of stuff I could do. Nederland has pretty much everything, just on a smaller scale. After the quick tour, I went to drop my bag in the cabin and I was delighted. Gorgeous place, located less than 10 minutes from downtown, with all the amenities. Golden for a retreat! And the kitchen, OMG!!! I was told the previous owner was a chef, so they redid the whole thing. Seriously, I could cook all day in there and never get bored! The food probably even tastes better ahahaha.
I went back to downtown and started exploring. My first stop was the New Moon Bakery. Everyone in Denver and Boulder told me about it when I asked where to go, so I had to give it a try. In fact, everything looked so delicious, that it was super hard to make a choice!
After the delicious treat, I walked to the Blue Owl, which is a coffee and also book store. The smell coming from the endless book collection was a dream come true. It’s like I was sucked into all the stories that are told in those thousands of pages. Just magical.
There was also a book that caught my attention due to its authenticity. Clearly wrote by a local, super funny. I hate carrying stuff with me, so I just took a picture of it to come back later and get it. (You’ll understand why this is relevant later!)
Shortly after, I went to the Carousel of Happiness, which took over 20 years to be finished, as all the animals were hand-carved. Impressive and it really feels like the happiest place in the world!
Nederland is so awesome that even souvenir stores are better. You know how you go everywhere and you always have the same lame stuff (shirts, magnets, etc) and they just change the name of the place? Well, these stores go way beyond that and have all these handmade local options. I wanted to buy the entire store, but I also pack very light, so I could not fit most of the things in my small bag. Probably for the best!
I walked for nearly another hour around downtown, passing by the library, city hall and some other local landmarks and businesses.
Around 4pm it was getting colder and I was getting tired, so I decided to start my happy hour where everyone goes: the Pioneer Inn or just the PI as locals say. I order my first Colorado beer and this old man approached me with a smile that only locals have. At some point we started talking about the life in the mountains and he mentioned he had written a book about it. Remember the book I told you about earlier? It’s his book!!! It has a sketch of his face in the cover, reason why he looked so oddly familiar. Obviously I became the proud owner of a signed copy of Geno’s book for about 6 hours! (You’ll understand later.)
Meanwhile, I met so many locals and I listened to all their stories for hours, that I completely lost track of time. It’s really interesting how almost no one is actually from there. Every single one of the people I met went there for work, leisure, and other reasons, and enjoyed it so much that they ended up staying. So you can imagine how beautiful and nice life is in this place!
Around dinner time, I was in doubt between the Nepalese restaurant Kathmandu and the Crosscut Pizzeria & Taphouse. Everyone kept saying they’re both amazing, but that Crosscut had the best pizza in the world. I mean, I’ve been to Italy, so I really had to accept this challenge. I invited some locals to join me, as I was eager to try different menu items and also to have some awesome company. Let me tell you: Hands down to the best pizza I’ve probably ever had! I tried three different ones and they were absolutely mouthwatering!!! The craft beers pair up perfectly, so this was the best choice I could have made!
Later on, it was time for some music. Nederland is well known for its music scene, as big names like Elton John, Michael Jackson, Chicago and many others have recorded there. Blue grass is quite popular in this region, so I went to the recently opened Rocky Mountain Oyster Bar, where Caribou Mountain Collective were playing that night. I had a blast and discovered some new sounds I was not aware of.
It was a long and eventful day for me, so it was time to rest before my Sunday adventures. I woke up in the middle of the night though, and realized I had left the book at the last bar. This is why I don’t carry stuff with me. I lose everything! I was so sad. It really was the best souvenir ever! Oh well, the sadness almost vanished when I woke up on Sunday with the most gorgeous view.
To complement the view, I had a delicious vegan breakfast waiting for me in the living room. Can’t tell you how happy I am that I’ve met Lester and Karna. They are really the most lovely couple ever!
Unfortunately, it was time to leave town, so I headed back downtown for my last sightseeing walk.
And right before I had to catch the bus back to Boulder I went to the PI to say goodbye to everybody and also get a hot chocolate (as it was freezing!!!).
Already in the bus, some guy approached me to tell me he had made some drawing of me earlier. I thought he was trying to say something else and that I misunderstood him, but no. He really made some sketches of my face during the 5 minutes I was at the PI that morning. Kind of creepy, but he’s actually quite talented. He showed me some of his work and it’s amazing! I’d tell you his name, but I’m awful with names. Hopefully he’ll become famous and I can see his work again! So yeah, great ending for my time in Nederland.
But because I never stop, I still have some more stories to tell you, this time back in Boulder and Denver.