After spending our days admiring America's natural beauty we then did the complete opposite by spending 3 days admiring the artificial lights of Sin City, aka Las Vegas.
We started our trip on the right foot by heading to the South Premium outlet mall. America is already cheap for shopping compared to London so you can only image how cheap an outlet is. $1 H&M jumper anyone?
Until you get to Vegas you don't actually realised how big the place is. The Strip is actually huge - 3 miles long. Times that by two to accomodate both sides of the road and you are looking at 6 miles of walking to see everything. Popping to the next casino actually means a 15 - 20 minute walk. We wisely split the Strip in half and tackled the South half first.
Starting at Caesars, we watched the Atlantis show (overrated), Tom played blackjack for around 5 mins during which he lost $20, checked out the flamingo's at the aptly named Flamingo casino, played on the pokies where we found $21 of credit left on a machine, watched gondola's float through the Venetian casino, visited the world's largest gift shop and ate at the no.1 thai restaurant in the USA where the food was great but the 1.5 mile hike to it was not. We finished the day on a high after watching the volcano eruption at the Mirage.
Our second day started a bit better by first starving ourselves in the morning and then heading to the buffet at Bellagio for lunch. I spend many hours scour the internet to try and find the best buffet. I ended up in a tangle and eventually we opted for what we originally planned to do - play it safe with the Bellagio. At $25 a pop, this buffet did not disappoint. Tender steak, saucy ribs, mini Ruben sandwiches and burgers, succulent turkey, garlicy mushrooms, pork buns, fresh ravioli and crunchy beans were just a few of the things we sampled in our 3 plates of "main course".
Dessert consisted of mini versions of carrot cake, sugar-free blueberry cheesecake, tiramisu, pumpkin cheesecake, fruit tarts, gluten free brownies and the obligatory ice-cream sundae to finish.. We also ate a piece of watermelon each just to make ourselves feel better.
Despite the horror stories of huge queues and lukewarm food, we found the Bellagio to be amazing. We got a seat straight away, the staff were helpful and the food was fantastic! Can't recommend it highly enough.
We attempted to walk off some of the food by commencing our North strip tour. We explored the Bellagio including the beautiful conservatory and elegant casino. New York, New York was a highlight with his amazing architecture depicting the city both inside and out. We played in the arcade of Excalibur where we won an appropriate but equally awesome ring in the shape of the dollar symbol, which I consequently lost the next day.
We visited Luxor (disappointing) and watched the thunderstorm at Planet Hollywood (also disappointing). We went to Bally's Paris which was completely french themed both inside and out, including having a replica Arc De Triumph and Eiffel Tower. This, along with New York, New York, was our favourite casino, especially since Tom managed to win $25 on black jack. We finished the day on another high by watching the beautiful water show at the Bellagio. Unlike Oceans Eleven, we were crammed in with 1000s of other tourist trying to watch it however it was still stunning.
As we wandered back to pick up our car from the Bellagio valet, we decided to break our note to get smaller change by playing $2 on a poker machine. On our last spin we managed to win $10, taking our grand total of winnings to $35. Us tight backpackers were pretty chuffed with that result!
Vegas is unlike any other place on earth and you literally feel like you are in a bit of a fairyland with all the bright lights. Two days was enough for us however we could both easily come back here for another weekend if we had some cash to splash. In fact Tom is discretely, or rather not so discretely, trying to convince me that he needs to come back here for a boys weekend. We will see...