In the past I didn’t have any desire to see Las Vegas…especially since I’m not a gambler nor a glitzy girl. Then when I started planning a special trip to celebrate my 50th birthday ( really in June but this is when we could travel), a sudden interest in exploring Las Vegas was born inside my inner core. I ambitiously browsed through Pinterest and saw all the enticing sights and activities in the city and then I was hooked. The pleasant weather appealed to me as well as the location in the west. Neither Tom nor I have ever been this west before. It would be a new and exciting adventure!
Two weeks ago Tom and I boarded a Southwest flight to Chicago in exciting anticipation of a new adventure! We connected to another flight in Las Vegas to arrive four hours later. We arrived in the “ City of lights” a few minutes of 9pm. Although we were tired and haggard from traveling from the East coast, we quickly checked in, stowed our luggage and explored where we stayed, Harrah’s on the strip. Every casino has a theme, Harrah’s being the carnival and Mardi Gras focus. That first night was perfect as we stumbled upon a little bar, Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill. With a festive atmosphere, country music and the appeal of a friendly crowd, Tom and I soaked it all in….we were actually in Las Vegas and over a thousand miles from home!
The first morning we took in a quiet delicious breakfast in the hotel. The food was outstanding as well as the service. It amazed me throughout the week how kind people were! We met so many nice people to chat with and that made me happy as I seem to thrive on connecting with others. I talked with a man from Ohio on his adventure and a woman named Alexis ( which is my daughter- in- law’s name so I liked her right away) from Chicago. These sweet people are a perfect example of how much good there is in this world!
The first day we explored nearby hotels and casinos like the fancy and dazzling Venetian. It was peaceful to gawk at the murals that sprawled in the grand entrance and throughout the hotel. Glitzy chandeliers hung with an elegance of Venice. A lovely fountain with statues greeted visitors, enticing perfect photo opportunities! I asked a lady and her daughter to snap a picture of us, as selfies aren’t our thing. They were willing to do this, bearing smiles and pleasantries.
After exploring the Grand Canal shops, this awe struck couple walked to the adjoining Palazzo. Again charming decor and sights were on the menu. From there we walked down the strip going South towards the Flamingo.
If you plan on visiting this area, be aware that you will be probably be walking a lot. In a few days time Tom and I probably walked a good 25 miles or so. I loved it and was energized and ready for it! I wore my walking sneakers and good socks. Tom usually loves walking but wore work sneakers so they started bothering him on the second day. My advice is wear comfortable walking sneakers and have bottled water at all times. Try to download a good Vegas walking map to reference as you stroll. It helped us and we gained our bearing two days in. Take sitting breaks if your feet are bothering you. Many casinos and hotels have sitting accommodations and welcome everyone inside. There are bathrooms everywhere in the hotels so that’s not an issue.
Besides walking, there is the Deuce bus system that you can buy a 24 hour pass for that has stops along the strip. We rode on it south to the Luxor for the Titanic Exhibit. It was convenient and a nice ride. We also took two taxi rides, one from the airport and one to. It was costly but we thought it would be the best option, not knowing much about Uber.
The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat was an area of waterfalls, stretching palm trees towering above, ducks swimming up the man made brooks, pelicans grouped together in the shade, and cawing tropical birds hiding in branches. Fountains bubbled on display as people walked, laughed and snapped selfies in the sun. Benches were here and there as well as a Buddha to rub his belly for good fortune. I did this…I could use good fortune and luck for my life, although my prayers to God satisfy me.
That afternoon was a perfect day ( 86 degrees F) to rest in the sun at the pool. It was difficult finding two beach chairs that we didn’t need to pay for it but we managed finally. After a long and frigid winter in New Hampshire, I was content to soak up the heat and close my eyes a bit. Tom sat too but doesn’t love the sun so went back to the room to rest for our night outing.
That first night I convinced Tom that we had to take in the infamous Bellagio buffet. What man can refuse a good buffet? Walking down the strip in the sun, I people watched…something a writer always does and has ample material in places like Vegas. We went early around 5:30 and got right in. The food stretched throughout the banquet room with delicious aromas floating everywhere. There was a fresh roast beef about two feet high and as thick around and we watched the woman carve it with unfaltering ease as our mouths watered. There was a roast turkey, prime rib, and ham station. Fresh salmon, shrimp, mussels and crab legs were ready for the hungry crowd. Pasta, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes steamed in the chafing dishes. There was all kinds of colorful salads, roasted vegetables such as asparagus, eggplant and summer squash, which got added to my plate. Rolls and breads were available as well as soups. A dessert station overwhelmed me, as I went to Vegas with a mission to treat myself but maintain my weight. Chocolate mousse cups, peach parfaits, little Canolis, chocolate fudge brownies, mini pecan pies and much more were on a delightful display. I chose a mini canoli and a fudge brownie and enjoyed every last bite! That’s what you do on vacation, am I right? Wow..you haven’t experienced Vegas until you visit a buffet! Some other good ones are Flavors at Harrah’s and the one at the Flamingo.
After filling our plates( I chose beef brisket, roasted vegetables and salad with blue cheese) and eating with content, but not being too full, Tom and I explored the Bellagio. More beauty, sights to see and these vibrant butterflies and umbrellas beckoned to have photos taken.
To close this long post ( I hope I didn’t bore you but possibly enlighten you) that evening we stayed to watch the Bellagio Fountains. There is a show every half hour during the day but every fifteen minutes at night. I can show you photos and describe it to you, but nothing will match being there live. The lit fountains swirl and dance with lovely music playing as the crowds watch. We were fortunate enough to hear Con te Patiro by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. Goosebumps went up and down my arms as I gazed and heard this magical show. It lasted a few amazing minutes and after, Tom and I looked at each other with love. Words couldn’t express how I felt…just that we had witnessed magic. The show is free as well but it’s best to get there early so you can see.
I hope you all have vacationed recently and enjoyed some time sightseeing. It filled my cup to the brim, to experience this lively city with my husband. My next post, part 2 will cover the Paris Casino and Eiffel Tower as well as Hoover Dam and the Nevada mountains.
All My Best,
Heart and Soul 💕🥰