So, we’ve left our first day in LA and a casual 4 hour drive later, we enter Vegas. I put the emphasis on casual as I spend the whole trip comparing where ‘x’ amount of hours would get me up and down the UK. Typical.
(4 hours, I’d get from Manchester to London. Easy).
Not one to drift off-topic. Ahem. We get out onto Fremont Street, Vegas. Now – not being clued up on Vegas as much as some of the other trekkers, I get the low-down from Laura our awesome trek leader. Fremont Street is in downtown Vegas, which is now referred to as ‘Old Vegas’ being replaced with the more famous, and popular Las Vegas Strip. Checking into our home for the next two nights, Golden Nugget is a just a taster of what to expect. I’ve never been in a hotel so big boasting multiple casinos, restaurants, outdoor pool with a water slide and a shark tank. Yes. Sharks. Just swimming around. Fun to look at, from a distance. It’s actually insane. So so busy – people checking in and out 24 hours a day. It becomes apparent early on that this literally is a place where the people don’t sleep. The decor is somewhat to be questioned as you feel like you’re right back in the 70’s with it’s gold trim decor. Maybe, it’s fitting within the theme of Old Vegas, in which case we can let that slide. Oh so comfy beds, and huge rooms so with a month of camping to look forward to – I can’t really complain.
After a luxury pizza dinner, we head out onto Fremont to be en capsuled by the atmosphere. It’s like what you see on movies, but heightened by 100,000. Performers and entertainers, everywhere. Some very questionable entertainers. Live bands, over-crowded with snap-happy tourists all under a long stretch of a LED roof. Here to watch the light show, for what Fremont Street is known for. It’s pretty impressive. So we roll on down the main strip, in nothing less than a party bus of course!
Cue party bus and a genre of songs playing. Trekkers are all getting into it – even the more reserved ones. I mean, we’re only on day 2 so we can’t expect full-flowing drunk faces singing their hearts out badly to karaoke. We stop off at the all-famous Vegas sign and drive on down to Bellagio and watch of the most famous shows, ‘Fountains of Bellagio’. Another light show against the backdrop of the elaborate hotel, the fountains all light up seamlessly. The strip offers a very different vibe; new-age for one. It caters to the clubbing, and foremost gambling-visitors. It has it’s A-game on 24/7. As the hotels house everything, it’s easy to go from drinks, to a fancy dinner, to more drinks to a club then back for some twilight gambling. Pretty heavy-going if you ask me. It makes sense that some people leave this place broken. Props, some of our group did just that.
Next morning and we’ve got a free day to roam about. Paired with non-existing voice due to a three-day cold (great timing) a few of us head out to get some breakfast. Absolutely starving we head to Denny’s. One of my most American experiences to date, famous for their breakfast’s I’m excited to get stuck in. We all opt for the stack of pancakes with different sides to match our tastes. Free refills of coffee and a much needed smoothie. I’m loving it. I can see myself getting very piggy on this trip. The portion sizes are also not for the faint-hearted. We then hop on a bus just off Fremont Street which takes us right to the main strip approx $8 for a 24 hour ticket. We get off at Luxor which is right down the other end so we can use the time to walk up the strip and hop back on the bus from the Stratosphere. More laid-back in the day, which is what I hoped for. Popping our heads into each casino to see which one’s are more elaborate than the next. Venetian and Bellagio definitely top those for me. I mean with the Venetian you have the indoor Gondola experience – for those who don’t want to do things by halves. It’s so long it almost does feel like the real thing (I’d still prefer the real Venice). But hey, it’s Vegas. Again, for sheer scale – New York New York was is fairly impressive. Where else would you get a NY skyline shrunk to surround a casino experience. It gets me psyched for seeing my friend who lives there once this trip is over.
It’s is great fun but I definitely prefer the Fremont St vibe. Getting up and gambling with breakfast? Not really my cup of tea. The endless malls on the strip make it difficult not to part with my entire $$$ in one go. But I’m restrained, partly because I’ll have no money for the rest of the trip as we’re only 3 days in and the other – what if my precious material things don’t survive the camping experience? Feels.
After walking what feels like 50,000 steps (probably not far off). We head to Yama Sushi for dinner to fuel up. Completely loosing concept of time when out here – easy to see why when you walk inside a casino, genuinely don’t know if it’s 2pm or 2am. We head back to the hotel to freshen up. Half the group head out to the MGM for a club night, whilst I opt for an hour or so back in the Fremont casinos.
Tips for the budget-conscious.
- Free Shows – I mentioned just two but there’s so many more darted on the strip. They vary in entertainment, from light shows to circus performances.
- Drink at the Casino – For those drinkers, save yourself more $$ by playing slot machines and getting the waiters to bring you drinks for free!
- Downtown – Staying in Fremont Street, it’s much more affordable than the main strip plus you get a whole wave of entertainment on the streets.
- Be Arty – The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas boasts a free gallery where you get cultured.
Vegas. Definitely not for some, I mean it’s not called Sin City for no reason. All in all, it’s been a laugh and I’ve lost my voice (not down to any-hard partying, but the result of a three day man-flu). Time for some r&r, and the long drive out Zion National Park.