Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The holidays are known for being the time to spend with loved ones and those you hold dearest, but it’s also prime travel time, so I took advantage of just that. In early August 2016, I decided to give myself an early Christmas present of round-trip airline tickets to visit friends in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My first ever holiday trip, my first ever escapade completely by myself and my first time ever to Colorado – in fact, before this trip, I had never been anywhere in America besides the East Coast. It was an experience I will remember for a long time to a place I encourage others to visit as soon as possible.

Touching down at Denver International Airport at 10:19 a.m., I was running on three hours of sleep on the first day of the new year. Denver’s airport apparently has some bad juju surrounding it with creepy murals that plaster the walls and a steel horse statue out front whose eyes gleam red, so I was more than ready to evacuate the premises and get to Colorado Springs. The hour and a half car ride there was filled with good friends, good music and an even better view. Both Denver and Colorado Springs sit just before the mountains, so as you drive the highways you are presented with one of the most spectacular views I have ever witnessed. It’s beautiful enough to make you sit back and genuinely feel grateful for the life you live.

My vacation in Colorado Springs was packed with hikes, park visits and a lot of Starbucks. The first place I visited was Garden of the Gods where I successfully hiked in heels. It’s one of Colorado Springs’ wonders and I could see why: the dark red rocks that protruded from the ground were a place to hike, climb , and take in the view of the beautiful city. The name of the park came from a dispute between two European surveyors in which one wanted to build a beer garden and the other, awed by the beauty, claimed it was a better fit for gods to assemble. No, there aren’t actually gods there and there isn’t a beer garden either. It’s just really pretty.

Another memorable experience I had was my drive to the top of Pikes Peak. The infamous coffee mountain had an elevation of 14,114 feet and was 3 degrees Fahrenheit. It was almost too cold to even enjoy the view, but I definitely enjoyed the spectacular doughnuts the small shop offered. I also learned Pikes Peak was the inspiration for the song “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates. After visiting the top of the mountain, we spent the afternoon in the eccentric small town of Manitou and played at the arcades that made up the town center. For the next couple of days, we just hung-out and did miscellaneous activities around the Springs area until Thursday when we traveled through the Rockies to the ski village of Breckenridge. This by far was my favorite thing we did due to how spectacular the views were. The whole day it snowed and driving through the winding, snowy mountains as gray clouds rolled over above them was a sight like no other. Breckenridge itself was a beautiful town that was packed under feet of snow that only kept falling.

If you find yourself in Colorado, definitely visit Breckenridge. I promise you’ll thank me. My trip to Colorado was filled with memorable experiences and a lot of culture  since I stayed with a German family. Not only would I go back to the places I visited, but I want to explore more of the Rockies and of Colorado. I am a big encourager of travel and I strongly encourage everyone to visit Colorado at least once in their lives – just remember to bring a heavy winter coat if you visit in the cold months because trust me, it’s freezing.