Home > Life, Travel > 3 Days in Vegas – Day 1: Total Exhaustion, Part 2

3 Days in Vegas – Day 1: Total Exhaustion, Part 2

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

This is the continuation of the post about our 3-days Vegas  adventure. In case you missed the first post, below is the link for you:

Day 1, Part 1

Sure, some 25 minutes later and 2 or 3 stops to ask for directions, we managed to get to the train. Short ride, another walk, tram – and we finally arrived at Mandalay Bay.

Our “small meal” at MGM buffet (hope you sense the sarcasm) finally started to wear off, so we were ready to eat – which brings us to the subject of food, which in Las Vegas definitely deserves its own special coverage and attention.

I think that Las Vegas has highest in the world concentration of the high end restaurants per square foot. Can you think of a famous chef? Doesn’t matter who you came up with, I can practically guarantee that he or she will have their own restaurant in Las Vegas. What you should also expect is that those restaurants will be priced accordingly. I perfectly understand that visiting a great restaurant is an experience, and as such, it has its own price – but, in the end of the day, Las Vegas is a tourist, holiday town, and it is not for nothing all those casinos refer to themselves as resorts (by the way, they also charge resort fee, if you care to know). When you walk around the vacation town, what do you often see advertised on the doors of the restaurants? If you said “happy hour”, you are corrrrect! Considering the level of the restaurants, I think it is somewhat unusual that they offer happy hour specials, but hey, everything is possible in Vegas, right?

Taking advantage of my prior experience, I was determined to visit Stripsteak, one of Michael Mina’s restaurants (I ate there a few years back during the happy hour, and I had happy memories – oops, happy = happy, interesting). On the way to Stripsteak, we passed by Aureole, a Charlie Palmer’s restaurant, and stopped by to admire the wine tower:

Yeah, one day [may be, may be] I will order some wine there, but not now… Then we had to stop by the restaurant called Red Square and take look at the Lenin’s statue – very appropriate, right? Too bad we had no time to visit their Vodka cave – considering everything we didn’t do this time in Las Vegas, I think we already have full agenda lined up for the next visit.

At most of the happy hours, the restaurants are offering beer, wine and cocktails at some reasonable price ($6 wine and cocktail, $3 beers) – all with limitations, of course, plus some food items. At Stripsteak, I had a glass of Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon (very good!), and my wife enjoyed the cocktail. We also got a couple of small plates from the bar menu, and sliders were particularly good.

The break is over, and we need to get back to our program. Next on the list? Cirque de Soleil “O” show at Bellagio. First, of course, is getting there. This time we decided on the taxi. Excellent choice, took us only 25 minutes to drive about 2 miles. Note to self – “it is Friday night, stupid”. Once at Bellagio, you start getting acquainted with the place by admiring amazing glass chandelier which is literally the first thing you see after walking in. It is created by the world famous glass artist Dale Chihuli, and you can spend quite a bit of time adoring the magnificent exuberance. My pictures will not do justice to it, but remember, I told you before – I took pictures and I want to share them, so here you go:

and a little zoom:

Our next step was to pickup tickets for the performance – I ordered tickets in advance over the internet. Yes, you might be able to get the tickets when you are in Vegas (they also offer half price tickets, similar to New York’s Broadway tickets at TKTS) – depending on the show, you might or might not be successful getting the tickets exactly when you want them, so if you plan your trip in advance, I also recommend getting tickets as part of your trip planning. Yes, there were few empty seats at that “O” show we watched later on, but very few of them.

We had a little time left after we got the tickets, so we went to see the Conservatory – a free attraction at Bellagio which definitely should be on your “must see” list for Vegas. The Conservatory is changed a few times a year, depending on the season, and now theme was “harvest”, and it was absolutely magnificent, with talking tree, pumpkin swans, grape presses and many more elements pretty much forcing a “wow” or “just look at that” sensation out of you:

The Cirque de Soleil “O” was amazing, an incredible combination of water, acrobatics and breath-taking movements you can’t even believe a human can do – but you can find plenty of references and professional reviews for that without me, so let me get back to the description of our day (now evening, to be more precise).

As soon as we walked out, we saw the taxi line. Let me tell you – it was endless. We walked and walked and walked alongside of it, and we couldn’t understand where does it actually start. Okay – but we still had our monorail day passes, remember? So monorail it was.

And you know what? Whatever happens is for the better (at least I think that this is a very helpful attitude in life) – as we started making our way towards monorail entrance, first we could fully admire Las Vegas at night. Las Vegas is beautiful during the day, but it is simply stunning during the night, the way all the buildings are lit:

And then – music and the “wow” exhorted by many people at once – as Bellagio fountains came to life. These pictures will not do the justice to the art of water, light and music, but at least you will get an idea:

About 15 minutes later, monorail entrance was reached and (mini quiz – how long did it take us from the “monorail” sign until we got to  an actual train? If you said “about 25 minutes”, pat yourself on the back as you are correct!) we are finally on the train.

Another walk (much shorter) and we are at the tram entrance – before we get inside, I simply had to take one more picture – this is Excalibur, which looks simply like a giant toy, isn’t it?

We got on the last tram (yay! I’m not sure what we would do if we would have to walk to our hotel) – and then we were finally back in our room. We both felt like our legs simply don’t belong to us and are hurting just to remind us that they exist.

We had to have a very early start next day, as we were taking a tour to the Grand Canyon, and considering our level of exhaustion, using an alarm clock was in order. My wife refused help I offered with the alarm clock and set it up on her own (she actually set an alarm both in the bedside clock and her phone), for us to wake up at 5:30 AM (we had to be at the “Tour and Travel” lobby by 6:05 AM for our tour pick up. After that, our tired bodies accepted sleep as a long anticipated blessing, without even saying “thank you”…

When I opened my eyes in the morning, the first thing I did was to grab my phone.

To be continued…

  1. PSsquared
    October 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    You saw all of the best parts, in my opinion. This is a great travel guide for anyone planning their first trip to Vegas.

    • talkavino
      October 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      Thank you! I’m not done yet 🙂 Day 2 and Day 3 posts are brewing 🙂

      • PSsquared
        October 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm

        Of course! There’s always more in Vegas. : )

  2. October 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Very enticing photos–but I am a terrible gambler…

    • talkavino
      October 19, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Well, we probably spent about $20 total on all the gambling – we would sit down by the 1 cent machine for the quick rest, and push the button a few times – that is the extent of gambling that we did. Plus, when you sit by the machine, you can also get a free drink – no, I wouldn’t dare to ask for the glass fo wine there, but Corona was very refreshing : )

      For me Las Vegas represents good food and interesting entertainment – I understand that it exists only because people actually come there and leave thousands in the casinos – oh well, I guess I have to thank them for doing that : )

  1. November 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm
  2. January 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm

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