What's good about living in Colorado
At the foot of the rocking mountains
Text and photos: Winfried Dulisch
San Jose, the think tank in California's Silicon Valley, only came seventh in the 2010 vote for the USA's “brainiest city”. The global political control center Washington D.C. just made it to third place. Winfried Dulisch presents the winner of this intelligence test: Boulder in the US state of Colorado.
Hotel Boulderado, President Suite
Literature fans have their own idea of Boulder. The horror writer Stephen King chose the Hotel Boulderado as the setting for his novel "Misery" (German title: "Sie"). This plush charm Victorian house opened in 1909. The hotel management wanted to prevent their then relatively unknown location from being confused with other US cities called "Boulder". So they chose a name that no hotel guest would forget: I was in Boulder, Colorado.
In 2010 Colorado was listed with three other representatives in the hit parade of the smartest US cities. Fort Collins came in fifth, Colorado Springs in 15th. Denver, the capital of this state in the American Midwest, came in 21st place. But not in the skyscrapers of Denver, but in the cozy - almost dreamy - town of Boulder smoke the brightest minds in the United States of America.
One of those bright minds is Clela Rorex, a secretary at the registry office. In 1975 she replaced the words "woman" and "man" with "person" in the forms with which future married couples order their line-up. Same-sex couples got this signal right and tied the knot in Boulder. New York or San Francisco would be happy if they were allowed to adorn themselves with these laurels today.
In addition, the numerous bicycle dealers and rental companies in the Pearl Street shopping mile and its side streets prove that Boulder is a good address for sensible people. While many Americans still start their gas guzzlers when they want to do a small errand, the university town - just under an hour's drive northwest of Denver - prefers to show off with facts and figures.
The yearbook of a school in Boulder proudly states that three-quarters of its students come to class on foot or by bike. More than 4,000 adults cycle here to their workplace every day. And 95 percent of all major arteries in Boulder have a cyclist lane.
This cycle path network had already earned the city the honorary title of "cycling capital of the US". Nevertheless, traffic signs everywhere remind in a friendly manner: The road is there for everyone - not just for drivers.
The “cyclist capital” Boulder is Amsterdam or Copenhagen - but at least the Minster or Bremen - of the USA. A third of the almost 100,000 inhabitants are students. This makes the city at the foot of the Rocky Mountains ideal for experiments in transport policy.
The former major automobile workshop in Detroit in the north-west of the USA still enjoys at best the reputation of a “working museum”. In Boulder, the tourism industry and the rest of the trade and change are relying on the means of transport of the future: the bicycle.
But of all people, the company whose entrance door is where the bikes are lined up most accurately, neither wants to lend nor sell these bicycles. The bike above the front door doesn't advertise a repair shop either. “Pedal to Properties” could be freely translated as: Pedaling to real estate.
Houses with pedal
Matt Kolb, company founder and head of Pedal to Properties, brokered houses and properties. This real estate agent's business idea was very simple and typical of Boulder. While his competitors drove their prospective buyers or renters to the viewing appointment in a chic limousine, Matt Kolb put his customers on bicycles.
A family man had suggested the real estate agent to found Pedal to Properties. “The day after our viewing appointment, the man rode his children once more to the house I had offered him. He wanted to know how easily the school, children's playgrounds and other public facilities are accessible from his new home. "
The Persian tea house is also a popular destination for cyclists. The twin city of Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, donated this building in 1998 "to the citizens of Boulder to make their souls happy". This tea house is the largest and only such example of Central Asian art that can be admired in the Western Hemisphere. More than 40 artists and craftsmen from Tajikistan designed the interior and exterior of this attraction.
Teahouse in Boulder, Colorado
The gift from Dushanbe delights the taste buds with a selection of more than 100 types of tea. And if you meet up for a chat in Boulder, all you have to do is agree on the exact time. The place of the meeting is of course already fixed in advance: the tea house.
The Persian Tea House is also an ideal base for cycling tours in the Boulder area. To the east, the bike paths are flat and designed for high speeds. The route along the Boulder Creek, whose wonderfully clear water comes from the Arapahoe Glacier, is particularly scenic.
The bike paths are the goal
To the west it goes up into the Rocky Mountains. Cyclists and other endurance athletes from all over the world prepare for championships and Olympics in this varied environment.
But the bike paths are not the only attractive destinations here. One of the most beautiful cycling routes leads out of town to the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder - in short: CU Boulder. The university's own museum honors important graduates of this educational institution with appropriate exhibits - from baseball outfits to astronaut protective suits.
The most photographed exhibit in these sacred halls is a dented trumpet. The sheet metal already played a dramaturgically significant supporting role in the Hollywood movie "Glenn Miller Story". As the performer of the legendary big band leader, James Stewart had to bring this instrument to the pawnshop from time to time before he achieved world fame as a composer, arranger and jazz trombonist.
On the campus of the University of Boulder - architecturally influenced by the taste of the Victorian era - Glenn Miller had proposed marriage to his childhood sweetheart. In a romantically homely place like this, she just couldn't say "no". Gold records and other trophies of the subsequent world musician career can be admired live in the museum wing of the CU Boulder today.
The red rock shows the way to the legendary open-air stage
Another cult site of popular music is half an hour's drive from Boulder. The open-air theater at Red Rock actually only marks an inglorious deficit in the Beatles' annual reports. Because it was here that John, Paul, George and Ringo played their only US concert that was not sold out.
But that was yesterday. Today four Beatles imitators rock and roll over and over again on this picturesque open-air stage. The rows of seats at the foot of the red rock are then filled to the last seat every time.
The Red Rock Theater's Hall of Fame commemorates great events
Outside of Red Rock, pop music fans will find another place of pilgrimage in Boulder County - the Caribou Ranch Nature Park. Here in the Rocky Mountains - far away from the music metropolises of San Francisco, Nashville and New York - the record producer James William Guercio set up his recording studio in an old shed in 1972.
The Beach Boys and Deep Purple, U2 and Frank Zappa, Phil Collins and Michael Jackson are on the list of artists who recorded several pop classics at the Caribou Ranch. Elton John recorded an album in this seclusion in 1974 and named it after the place of origin: “Caribou”.
In March 1985, the entire Caribou studio technology was on fire. The damage was three million dollars. In addition, there is this collateral damage: When a firefighter wanted to create a clear path for the fire water to fire with his chainsaw, he sawed a wooden wall and at the same time several gold records that were hanging on the opposite side of the wall.
Nature's comeback in the rock'n'roll sanctuary
Although encouraged by musicians, fans and record producers, James William Guercio did not rebuild his studio in the Rockies. Anyone who walks up to this historically significant site today will not find any remains of sex and drugs and rock'n'roll - just: silence.
The mountains once rocked here: On the way to the Caribou Ranch
The wilderness has been given back to the wilderness. And the same rules apply here that a tourist who is interested in sustainability also knows from other nature reserves: It is forbidden to bring bicycles and dogs. And from the beginning of April to the end of June, the Caribou Park is closed to visitors. Around this time the birds want to breed in peace and the moose want to give birth to their calves.
Travel information about Boulder, Colorado
Information about Boulder:http://www.bouldercoloradousa.com
German language information about Colorado: Colorado Tourism Office, Neumarkt 33. D - 50667 Cologne, Tel. 0221-476712-13, E-Mail: [email protected]
Hotel Boulderado: http://boulderado.com
Flight connections: Lufthansa flies directly to Denver / Colorado from Frankfurt.
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