3 Days in Vegas – Day 3: Around and About
This is the last post in the series about our 3-days excursion to Las Vegas, which took place last September. In case you missed posts about first two days, here are the links – Day 1 Part 1, Day 1 Part 2 and Day 2. Yes, you should expect more pictures too.
Just to recap, on the first day we were getting acclimated in Las Vegas and were running around to the point of total exhaustion. Our second day was all about amazing Grand Canyon experience, on which I reported with inclusion of lots of pictures. By the way, I don’t know if you noticed the “mini-quiz” question at the end of the second day post – I was asking you what I could’ve tried to take the picture of.
This was actually my attempt to take a picture of the Hoover Dam during the night from the window of the moving bus – talented, right?
Let’s proceed with our third day. This was our last full day in Las Vegas, as we were going back home the next day, thus our goal was to get as much of Vegas as possible within one day, but – at a reasonable pace. Besides, it was my wife’s actual birthday, so we had to do something about that as well.
I started my morning from the walk to the nearby convenience store and the liquor store. Wait, not true. I actually started my morning from taking of a few pictures through our room’s window. Just to show you that all those casinos are not called “resorts” for nothing, here is the proof:
And here is the view of the strip from our room:
Now, let’s talk about the morning. You see, I already mentioned before that I have a problem with paying $4 for the bottle of water. Moreover, we prefer sparkling water which is often not even available in little stores inside the casinos. The convenience store was located literally across the street from Tour and Travel lobby of Mandalay Bay which we used the day before, and the liquor store was in a close proximity as well. The reason to go to the liquor store? I’m a cheap bastard, add I also have an idea of general wine prices, which makes me cringe looking at quadruple retail prices in the restaurant wine lists – thus getting a bottle of wine to for us to drink later on sounded like a good thing to do. I got a few bottles of seltzer, a bottle of Cava and California red blend – tasting notes will follow later.
Done with that, back to the room at around 9 am – time for a breakfast. Instead of going again to the buffet, we decided to go to one of the sit down restaurants inside the casino, Raffles Cafe. We decided to get two different omelets and over-sized french toast – all the food was okay, but not great. Well, at least pictures look okay:
On the negative side, we had to wait a loooong time. And price wise, we paid for three dishes practically the same amount as in the buffet, so good buffet, such as the one at MGM Grand, definitely provides much better value. Please understand that I’m not taking about quantity of food – we ended up eating a lot more in the restaurant versus the buffet – I’m talking about quality and variety.
For the Day 3, our plan was simple – to enjoy ourselves. We already had two very intense days, we saw and experienced a lot, so no matter how little we would see on the day 3, our mission was already accomplished.
Let’s talk again about little planning. I like to know in advance what is happening in the place I’m going to (especially in the place like Las Vegas, where there are literally millions of things happening every given moment). Based on some prior reading and past experience, I had a few things in mind. “Bodies” exhibition, on its last few days, conveniently located at Luxor. Eiffel tower at Paris hotel. Dinner at buffet in Bellagio. Night time adults show, but not too late as we have to fly home the next day. More walking around without killing ourselves, as we did on the first day. Oh yeah, and we have to drink the wine at some point. Anyway, I think this was a pretty good plan, so we started from walking to Luxor and getting tickets for “Bodies” and the evening show called Fantasy.
“Bodies” had been going for a while already, exhibiting in different cities around the country. It actually presents lots of completely dissected human bodies and even individual organs, preserved with the special compounds and showing how our bodies operate. We were not allowed to take any pictures, but you can find some examples and more information about preservation process and other details at this link. We walked through the whole exhibition in about 40 minutes, and at times it was necessary to forcefully compose ourselves, as some visuals just got to you, so we both were very happy to finally walk through the exit door.
Our next stop was Paris (the casino, of course). Considering that this was Sunday in the middle of the day, we chose taxi as the mode of transportation and we got to Paris in about 5 minutes and under $10. Our goal was to visit at Eiffel tower, where you can get upstairs and enjoy 360° view of Las Vegas. This is the paid attraction, so we had to get tickets (there was no line). Quick elevator ride up, and here we are, looking at Bellagio fountains and all around from the top.
One interesting fact is that the Eiffel tower replica at Paris casino was originally designed to be an exact copy of the actual Eiffel tower, in exactly same size – but Las Vegas airport is too close, so the resulting tower was built at the half size of the original. Still, the views are beautiful and well worth your time.
As I mentioned, we didn’t want to squeeze too much into one day, so we decided to visit some of the casinos within walking distance of Paris, preferably with some additional attractions. First we went to Flamingo, which boasts Wildlife Habitat. That Wildlife Habitat was not difficult to find, but – I wouldn’t say this was exactly what we expected. There were a few flamingos, some other birds and a few fishes – pretty cool for Las Vegas, but hardly worth any special attention (unless you never saw a flamingo before, you are now in Vegas and seeing the pink bird was always your dream).
Next stop (short walking distance) was Caesars Palace.
From what we saw, this was probably the most lavishly appointed casino – beautifully designed in the classic Roman style.
We made an attempt to see a free show, called the Fall of Atlantis. Finding it required a pretty steep walk through a huge mall called Forum Shops. By the time we found the place, we had to watch the show somewhat from the distance, as there were lots of people there already.
After two minutes, we found the acoustics terrible and show boring, so we decided to walk back through this huge place will millions of stores and then we just spent some time sitting on the bench and admiring all the beautiful architecture around us.
Next we walked to the Bellagio – our early dinner was calling. First we went again to the conservatory, now to see it in the day light. I took a few pictures, similar to the ones on the first day, only with a different lighting.
And – we had a light music to add up to the experience.
Do you think I can leave you without pictures of the flowers? Not a chance…
We headed to the Bellagio buffet at around 4:45 in the afternoon, which was a good call – when we were leaving it at about an hour later, the waiting line was extending back into the casino. In general, I believe the buffet at Bellagio is considered to be the best in Vegas (and I remember being pretty excited after visiting it about 5 years ago). This time – it was good – good variety of food, sumptuous crab legs (probably the main attraction there), good desserts – but it was lacking the “umpf”. May be because it was Sunday, may be my taste changed – I’m not sure, but the excitement was not there.
In any case, it was a good dinner, and now it was the time to go back to our room, open the wines and relax.
Here are tasting notes for the wines.
Poema Cava Brut Penedes ($14, 11.5% ABV) – yeasty, with notes of toasted bread, good acidity, good balance – excellent QPR
The red wine was Bear Flag Smooth Red, California ($12, 12% ABV) – a blend of Tempranillo, Touriga, Zinfandel and Alicante Bouchet – very nice, with the hint of smoke and cinnamon on the nose, ripe cherries, coffee and dark chocolate notes on the palate, good acidity, with little sharpness on the palate and mouthfeel a touch lighter than you might want – but very drinkable. Great QPR. Also the label was very interesting, completely surrounding the bottle:
Believe it or not, but this is pretty much all I have to tell you about our 3 days in Vegas. Yes, we went to see the show, Fantasy, and I guess it was something we expected – but nothing more and nothing less.
The next day we were on our way back to New York, and we were very happy to get home and hug the kids.
All in all, it was a great experience, and we had a great time – and we will gladly come back to Vegas at some other time.
I don’t know if you found any of these posts useful or even remotely funny, but I hope that at least liked a picture or two. Until the next time – cheers!