Friday, March 16, 2012


First,  welcome!  I want to draw your attention on the bar at the side of this page, I summarized a lot of my thoughts about Colorado Springs and its attractions in the articles that are linked there.

I am a transplant to Colorado Springs.  I came here in June 2002 from New York City, 5th Avenue and 15th Street to be exact, after having spent all of my then-40 years on the East Coast.  The transition was difficult, but I survived and prospered.  The advantage I offer is that I had to learn about Colorado Springs starting from scratch, and some of those lessons may be useful to you.

There are a couple of basic issues you will have to address very soon after you arrive here.  The first is that you will need to transition to the altitude, water and climate.  Colorado Springs is little over a mile above sea level, and the water here may well be slightly different than the water back home.  I mention the altitude and water together because it's unclear which affects you more, but you can't really escape either without going to heroic lengths, so it's just something you must accept.  Before I moved here, I visited several times for periods of a week or two.  My very first visit caused me the most problems.  I won't dwell on the symptoms, but let's just say I had a very upset stomach for a period of about a week.  Once it passed, though, I never got it again.  Once you get used to it, you will not even notice the thinner air, even when you go up in the mountains.  So, when you experience the symptoms, just bear with them with the realization that they will go away.

Colorado Springs is very sunny.  It gets something like 300 days of sunshine a year, a figure I question at times but which the powers that be here assure us is true.  You will probably be outside a lot while visiting, so I suggest not forgetting to bring sunglasses, a hat or cap, and some sunscreen.  This part of the world is arid, and you may get dehydrated easily, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids during your time here.

The second thing you will probably notice right away is that this is chain-store Heaven.  You quickly will come to the sad realization that dining out usually involves a choice between McDonald's, Applebee's, Chiles or something similar.  Shopping comes down to Walmart (there are five, yes, five within the city limits, and another half dozen or so close by, with plans to build even more), Target or Sears.  If you haven't heard of "King Soopers" yet, well, that's your other main choice for groceries.  Sure, there are other places like Safeway, Whole Foods and the like, but those places you tend to have to find in isolated strip malls off the main roads.  The Walmarts sit there by the highway like battleships and will lure you in.  Don't resist, just bear in mind that you eventually will find it easy to diversify away from the bland big box stores.

When wandering around in the mountains, it is best if you have a local to guide you around, because it is easy to get lost.  Failing that, invest in a good GPS device.  I have been here for over a decade, and mine comes in mighty handy.  It will save you endless frustration and even guide you to the nearest chain store to stock up with supplies.

I will delve more deeply into some of these issues in other posts.  Let me say, though, that the folks here can be very friendly and welcoming, so loosen up and chat with them a bit every chance you get, it will make your visit much more enjoyable!

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