After arriving in the US for the first time, I slept like a baby, I didn't wake up until mid-morning. I got dressed and went upstairs (I was in the basement guest room) to the kitchen. Being the only one up at this point, I went out onto the porch to take in the view.
I was stunned! And had a wave of emotional silence pass over me. In the distance, you could see the Rocky Mountains and the far-reaching views were just extraordinary! I sit here now remembering this moment, as I look out of my window to the houses across the street. There really are some incredible places out in this world. Once everyone was up, we decided to explore this little slice of mountain paradise and went for a walk. My senses went into full overload: the views, the wildlife, the flora, the sounds of cars (the American accent). I was in full hyper child mode.
As a side note: I began to give fire hydrants their own names, personality and language - I blame jet lag.
We only had a short couple of days to stay with our host due to a clash with other commitments. In this time, I felt welcomed, and the hospitality of the people in the US was genuinely warm and comforting. As I look back, I am amazed at how much we actually did in such a short time-frame.
Being with our host created a lot of firsts for me in the US:
We also went to what is essentially a city with small-town charm, Arvada, Co. I can only compare Arvada to a seaside town but located in the mountains. It had that lovely, relaxed and fresh feel with a café and live music culture! I particularly enjoyed the flights of craft beer at the micro-brewery that we patronised.
One of my most everlasting memories though would have to be the night we were taken to The Grizzly Rose, an actual American Country Bar! We drank beer, rode the mechanical bull, and line danced the night away! Cotton-Eyed Jo will never be the same for me again! It was, in a word: breath-taking!
Within a few short days, I truly felt at home and welcomed by everyone I came into contact with. There were more cultural differences than I realised. The biggest and most startlingly obvious was the pleasant and personable nature of Americans, compared with us Brits.
The Florida Keys hold many natural treasures with a day trip that will give you an introduction to the most fragile ecosystems in the world and many endangered species. This one focuses on the coral reef and mangrove island habitat, which are disappearing fast as development continues to put huge stresses on the limited natural and human resources