California/Oregon Trail

Las Vegas

Day 26 (June 22): I’ve been in Las Vegas once before. On a campaign, in college. I would like to note that the experience is extremely different when you are corralling a bunch of high schoolers, directing campaign routes, and making cold calls about your candidate. While we were technically near the strip, my only experience was one evening, after the kids were safely deposited in their rooms, and a small group of us chaperones/leaders decided to see what the fuss was about. I remember precisely three things:

  1. Random guys on the street handed me inappropriate pictures advertising strip clubs and as a conservative, young Christian, I was completely horrified.
  2. The fountains at the Bellagio were incredible.
  3. Our first cab driver refused to bring us to wherever we had parked the car, and he was sent home by an angry. . . what are they called? Taxi Cab manager person? . . . and we had to get a different one.

Daniel has never been at all. And experiencing Vegas with my husband was far different, let me assure you. Despite having a few people tell us it wasn’t worth the stop when they heard about our itinerary (what is it with people telling us where we shouldn’t stop when they ask where we are going??), it was actually a fair amount of fun!

We actually kind of thought we would get bored since we don’t gamble (more than $20 anyway) and Vegas is all about gambling. But we barely even saw the Casino, and still had a very full day!

We “slept in” – apparently we are morning people in CA, or this trip has just had us up early a lot, because despite no alarm, we were both awake at 7:30 AM. We took our sweet time getting up, showered (oh delightful, clean showers!), and dressed and went in search of breakfast.

First, I was astounded at the hotel. We are at The Venetian, as mentioned yesterday, and oh my gosh, it is gorgeous. The architecture, the artwork… And then we came upon the Grand Canal. It looks just like an old Parisian piece of art, complete with a beautiful, fake blue sky. I took so many pictures and spent a good amount of time just admiring it. I still can’t believe what an amazing job they did.

When we finally did continue our search for breakfast, we began to have trouble. There apparently wasn’t much open at 9:00 am and anyplace that was had an insane line. We are talking like an average of twenty people in line. Even the food court/fast food places!! We finally just got in line at a restaurant, got on the waiting list (an hour!), spent like twenty minutes waiting in another line for coffee and a muffin to tide us over, and then went in search of gondola reservations. By the time we got through that line, it was about time for our table, so we meandered back, got seated, and were told we had two minutes to order breakfast before they switched to lunch. 🙄

Despite all that, the food truly was amazing and we were so full afterwards, we didn’t think we’d ever be hungry again. We did learn a lesson though, and made dinner reservations then and there.

We went back to the hotel room… And did I mention how incredible this room is? It’s really a suite, with a huge bathroom filled with mirrors, the bed area, and then a sitting room area with a couch, chairs, table, and desk! We sat on the couch and enjoyed pretending we were rich (Priceline made this room possible for us).

We then went and admired the pools – there were ten of them!! -which were overflowing. I’m sad I forgot to get pictures of them. But it was a gorgeous patio/outside area! Deciding to come back later to enjoy the pools, we left to walk the Strip.

There are two words I can think of to describe that walk. Hot. Long.

I mean, it was fun. And some of the buildings were just breathtaking! But, as seems typical for us, we pushed too far. We went one way until we reached a… Questionable area… And then went the opposite way to find the fake Eiffel tower and Bellagio. By the time we reached the Eiffel tower, I was so tired, I barely summoned the energy to take a picture. Here is my very fake smile as I did.

By the time we reached the Bellagio, I was ready to curse my feet and sandals and glower at the lack of benches. Despite that, however, we somehow miraculously ended up in front of the fountains one minute before they were scheduled to go off for the first time that day. And we hadn’t even known the schedule! It was just as amazing as I remembered, and despite being hot, sweaty, dehydrated, and exhausted, I loved it.

Daniel offered to get a taxi, but by that time I was too cranky to accept and told him I’d rather spend the money on other things, so we plodded back toward the hotel. Until we passed Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. We went inside, sat down, downed so much water, along with a couple drinks, and waited until we felt back to normal before we continued on, finally making it back to our room and collapsing.

Not for long though. We both wanted to try the pool and it was almost 5:00 and thanks to the communist-like control COVID has permitted authority to take, the pools were supposed to close at 6:00. So we changed into swimming suits, headed to the pool, and dived with relief into the cool water.

We only got 45 minutes since they actually meant 5:50 when they said 6:00, but at least we got some pool time in?

Anyway, at that point it was time to get ready for our Gondola ride, scheduled for 7:00! We were sharing the gondola with another couple, since a private ride was ridiculously expensive, but it really was nice. It was so surreal to float down an inside canal, decorated like it was outside, being sung to by the gondolier. We decided that today was an early celebration of our eighth anniversary, and it certainly felt like we were spoiling ourselves!

It wasn’t long enough, but apparently that wasn’t up to us, so we had to get out anyway. It was only 7:30, so after turning down the offer to purchase their photo of us for $32, we went to see if the restaurant could get us in early. We chose the restaurant next to the canal so we could bask in the Venice-like atmosphere while we ate, and it was perfect. We ordered a bottle of champagne, burrata for an appetizer, pasta and risotto for entrees, and for dessert, tiramisu. One of the best meals we have had in a very long time. And as we sat there, they even dimmed the lights and the “sky” to give the appearance of evening.

We were quite pleased with our “anniversary” dinner, despite being charged $9 for a bottle of water we hadn’t ordered in the first place (he brought it without asking! How were we to know he’d charge us for it?) and made it back to the room around 10:00 pm and I drew myself a bath, because I could. Now, seated on the sofa, we are enjoying a relaxing evening before one final camping night tomorrow at the Grand Canyon!

Oh, and we even randomly got to watch a fire/water show at the Mirage down the street, from our window! Here’s my attempt at a picture through the dark.

5 thoughts on “Las Vegas

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