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Day 3 - Spending the day in Denver

After a good and long night sleep (almost 10 hours altogether) I left the AAE 11th Street hostel and made my way towards the Civic Center of Denver, CO. Only a couple of blocks from the hostel is the cultural center of Denver which is directly connected to the Civic Center. I had a look at the Denver Art Museum and the Central Library and some of the art works around. I really liked the design of those buildings and how well they fit together. Only a few steps further and I arrived at the Civic Center with the town hall, different federal buildings and of course the Colorado State Capitol. I entered the State Capitol and was lucky as a guided tour started just a few minutes after my arrival. It was interesting to learn more about this historic building which was build 10 years after the State of Colorado was founded in 1886. Special to mention here is that most of the building material used in the building comes from Colorado. The one hour tour ended with a visit of the roof top which provided a nice overview of the Civic Center, the city center and its surroundings. Unfortunately the nearby mountains were not visible because it was a very over casted day. I briefly visited the mile high point located on the stairs of the State Capitol. I continued towards the 16th Street Mall taking the free shuttle bus for a couple of blocks. After I had lunch I headed down towards Union Station in order to catch bus 48. As I couldn’t find the right bus stop I went and ask just to find out that the line had been moved and the bus was now picking up passenger from the city center. So I took the free mall shuttle back to 16th and Curtis from where I could catch bus 48. After about a 15 minutes ride I arrived at my destination the Forney Transportation Museum. Conveniently there was a bus stop right in front of the museum. The main reason to visit this museum was to see one of the largest steam engines ever build the Union Pacific Class 4000 also known as ‘Big Boy’ a 4-8-8-4 engine. Only 25 of these super engines were built in the 1940s of which only 8 have endured. The locomotive on display was number 4005. Finally having a chance to see this engine was a dream come true for me. The remaining exhibition in the museum was nice, too. Especially worth mentioning is a fine collection of well preserved Cadillac cars. I took bus 48 back to the 16th Street Mall and briefly visited the Money Museum at the Federal Bank right on 16th Street which offered free admission. I saw original 1,000 and 10,000 dollar notes and some of the oldest dollar notes ever printed. Also I took a picture of 30,000,000 dollar on display and received a small bag full of shredded dollar notes once worth thousands of dollar. After my visit to the Federal Bank I went back to the Union Station in order to find out how much today’s California Zephyr was delayed, there was no doubt that the train would not be on time. I was surprised to learn that the train was expected by 11 pm and bound to leave at 11.20 pm. The scheduled arrival time would have been 6.38 pm and departure at 7.10 pm. This gave me time to return to the center. I visited first a book store a friend had recommended me. I found some great train books and a book on the United States one of the last large ocean liners that was still built in the 1950 and is now rusting away in the harbor of Philadelphia, one of the many places on my long list of things I wanted to see during this trip. I headed then up 16th Street in order to get some dinner and to buy some snacks as well as a cheap blanket for the upcoming nights on the train as I had a quite unpleasant experience on the first night while traveling on the California Zephyr feeling very cold during the night. Finally I returned to Union Station just in time to escape the rain that started. Still I had to endure another 4 hours in the station before finally the heavily delayed California Zephyr arrived from Emeryville. In the end another 1.5 hours came on top of that delay due to a medical emergency on the train and the California Zephyr pulled into Denver Union Station no later than 12.25 am. We left Denver with about five and a half hours delay. At least the new blanket let me find sleep easier this time. Unfortunately this time I was assigned a window seat which really didn’t make me too happy.

Colorado State Capitol

Denver seen from the State Capitol

Big Boy 4005

A fine collection of Cadillacs

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