las vegas, usa

Las Vegas – Bigger, Brighter, Bolder, Better!

“A little bit of this town goes a very long way.”

Hunter S. Thompson

 

It was my first visit to Las Vegas, and it was a whirlwind visit. The city of around 2 million people is implausibly plonked right in the middle of the desert. Surrounded by dry dusty mountains, everything is big, vying for your attention. The hotels and casinos are huge and over the top, many with thousands of rooms, dozens of restaurants and several theatre spaces, so you never need leave the casinos. They obviously do their job well, as last year there were 37 million visitors, and the revenue from gambling alone was a staggering $6 billion. If you do manage to leave the casinos though, you can travel the world in this one city, seeing the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, the Sphinx, Venice and the Statue of Liberty.

las vegas, usa las vegas, usa

There’s plenty to see beyond the famous Strip.  Not far away is the Hoover Dam, built in the early 1930s and a feat of modern engineering, which now generates hydro-electric power for use in California, Nevada and Arizona. I couldn’t believe that this monstrous celebration of concrete attracts around 7 million tourists a year. My brother visited nearly 20 years ago and the magnitude of the concrete obviously stayed with him, as he told me that there’s enough concrete to pave a road from Los Angeles to New York. I’ve got to say it was fascinating, however I’m not the target audience to visit an engineering marvel and a concrete explosion.

Another nearby tourist attraction was not wasted on me though. The Red Rock Canyon is only a few kilometres out of the city and it’s a protected conservation area. With stunning red cliffs, and gorgeous views, I could recommend it to anyone as a welcome diversion from the bright lights of Las Vegas.

las vegas, usa

las vegas, usa

las vegas, usa

las vegas, usa

 

I was lucky to enjoy the true Las Vegas experience on the Strip, staying in the famous Bellagio.  It’s a beautiful hotel right in the middle of the Strip, famous for the fountain shows each evening. While not the largest hotel compared to others up the street, there were still nearly 4,000 rooms. It’s quite mind-boggling!

las vegas, usa

las vegas, usa

We made the most of our prime location, and explored the famous main street. As we wandered up and down the Strip, my eyes were on stilts. Dinner was at one of the Bellagio’s restaurants (I think I counted 14 in total) before heading “next door” to Caesars Palace to enjoy the wickedly funny Absinthe, a kind of crude twist on Cirque du Soleil. I say “next door” because the walk from one to the other took nearly 10 minutes after traipsing through the slot machines and casino tables, passing restaurants, and shops of all imaginable luxury brands. Any newly won cash is easily spent again.

las vegas, usa

las vegas, usa

The show was great, very funny, but you definitely needed to come with an open mind and probably a drink in hand. I loved the spectacular acrobatic feats as well as the wildly politically incorrect, but outrageously funny humour.

It seems like nothing ever closes in Las Vegas, so after our show finished around midnight, we went on to listen to some live music at the BLVD Cocktail Company in the new-ish LINQ Promenade over yet more glasses of wine. Eventually in the early hours of the morning it really was time to find our beautiful hotel room……and it was a slow start the next day for sure!

las vegas, usa

las vegas, usa

las vegas, usa

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