We were on our way from Taos in New Mexico to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, a one day drive. It was autumn and the landscape, in itself awe-inspiring, showed gorgeous, vivid colours.
By mid-afternoon it was, as it always is, time for a coffee. We were approaching Durango, Colorado, and decided to take a short break there. It’s funny how you almost immediately know whether you like a place or not: I liked Durango and I can’t tell you why.
So where could we find a nice place to have some coffee? We parked in the main street, with the innovative name Main Avenue, and I spotted a coffee bar across the street. But when I lifted my eyes I saw a traditional looking hotel just next to me.
We opened the door and found ourselves transported to the late 19th century mid-west.
The door had led us into the Diamond Belle saloon in the Strater Hotel, and the girl pictured above was our waitress. The whole setting gave the impression that you were taking part in a western movie. It felt as though nothing had changed for the past 120 years. I immediately regretted that Durango in general and the Strater Hotel in particular weren’t part of our travel plan.
We walked around this amazing hotel and learned that it is supposed to be haunted – there are many stories of people who have had strange experiences there. One more reason why I so wished we could have stayed overnight and not just stopped there by pure chance for a cup of coffee!
But we had a set itinerary and had to drive on, leaving Durango and its true Midwest feel behind. It felt like a missed opportunity – I will be back.