Vegas - trip of a lifetime

Last year I bought travel insurance that included the Americas.  As this was probably going to be the
last time I could afford to get cover for the United States, I wanted to do a trip of a lifetime to Vegas baby!  Who better to go with than my sister and her husband.  It was perfect, by meeting in Las Vegas, we'd both be travelling half way round the world - me from London and Rachel from Christchurch.

Now Vegas wouldn't usually be top of my list of places for the trip of a lifetime but it's up there as a place to visit before you die.  I wanted to experience its sheer man made madness, the indescribable scale and scope of everything on the Strip, live and breath the city that never sleeps.

It didn't disappoint.  On check in, I was surprised to see the gambling floor right next to the check in area.  For some reason, I was expecting the gambling areas to be set back, in a room or on another floor.  Then I remembered, I'm in Vegas baby!  I remember coming down to the lobby to get coffee in the morning and seeing people still dressed up, sat at the tables and slot machines, hoping that the next hand or coin might just be their lucky one.

We had a goal - play the tables or slots at every casino on the Strip.  We walked up and down the Strip, marvelling at each theme, from Italy (The Venetian), to Pirates (Treasure Island), from castles (Excalibur) to the circus (Circus Circus).  We walked for miles and that was just within each hotel.  We quickly learnt it would take us nearly half an hour just to get out of our hotel and onto the street.

Now for the decadence part.  We had managed to get tickets for the hottest show in town - Cirque du Soleil's "O" at the Bellagio.  (There's a reason the show hasn't toured, the stage set blows your mind.) It's a water based show that is absolutely, truly amazing.  And the best bit?  We came out the show just in time to see the Bellagio fountain display.

Wait, there's more.  We had to limit our gambling the following day as we had a sunset helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon booked.  We had glorious weather for our helicopter flight, they had cancelled flights the day before because of high wind.  We flew out over the desert, over the Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon where we landed.  We sipped champagne and took photos before flying back with the sun setting over the desert and ended with a fly over the Strip with all the neon signs lit up.  I was too busy taking in the view to get any photos of that part.

Our final bit of true decadence was, in true Vegas "style", a limo ride to the Little White Wedding Chapel where Britney Spears got married.  They even have a drive in chapel!  Then we cruised on to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign before heading back down the strip to our hotel.

It really was a trip of a lifetime.  Despite our best intentions, I don't think we quite made it to every casino on the Strip so there's reason to head back!

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