J and I hadn’t really taken a real vacation in quite some time when we decided to take a little trip for our anniversary (which was in May). I was more than thrilled. Originally I had been secretly hoping to plan a getaway to Hawaii (which is still on my list of places to go to for the belated honeymoon that we never had), but for various reasons that wasn’t in the cards this summer. Instead, we decided to go to Las Vegas for a little belated anniversary get-away at the beginning of July.
Now, you need to know that I am not the biggest fan of Las Vegas. It’s always crammed with people, loud and to some extent obnoxious, but I also have a bit of nostalgia for this place since we kinda eloped and got married in this crazy town. And, if you plan it right (long weekend stay max + tickets to some awesome shows + excellent restaurant choices + pool time), it can actually be quite fun!
And we, and when I say we I mean I, actually had good reason to go to Las Vegas and I hereby would like to publicly proclaim that I have the best husband ever for agreeing to this trip… because the reason I wanted to go: NKOTB were having their 30th anniversary celebration with 4 days of concerts and parties in Vegas! Woot!
I know, did I just say best husband ever? I sure did, because I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that your husband or significant other wouldn’t have readily agreed to go with you to Vegas to see NKOTB for your anniversary, am I right?
Yeah, I didn’t think so! But my love for NKOTB far exceeds the time I’ve been with J, so he really had no choice in the matter. In fact, he’s been to a couple of shows with me before and actually quite enjoyed the performances. So, there.
And also, I even got my dad, a nonbeliever ha!, to admit that after 26 years of fandom one fact is true: once a blockhead, always a blockhead. That’s just the way it is! :)
Anyway, our weekend in Vegas was, much more than just the concert (which, of course, was absolutely fabulous, by the way!).
We arrived Thursday evening and caught a ride with a supernice taxi driver who made a quick stop with us at a local supermarket to stock up on snacks and beverages (because everybody knows that prices on the Vegas strip are insane!) and then he dropped us off at our hotel. J had picked out the “Mandalay Bay” for our stay, partial strip view included.
I have to say, the hotel is really nice; the only downside is that it is at the very beginning of the strip and everything is super-far away. If you leave the hotel, you’d better take all your crap for the day with you, because you won’t be coming back until the night is over, that’s for sure.
We slept in Friday morning, then had brunch at the House of Blues and then got ready to explore the strip.
We ended up having drinks at the Cabo Wabo Cantina and just people-watched for a while. Isn’t that part of the whole fun of being in Vegas?
We then walked all the way back to the beginning of the Strip to take the obligatory picture at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign (a first for me!).
We had dinner at the Ri Ra Irish Pub back at our hotel that night and enjoyed a solid two-man band that was playing Irish music (and covers!) the whole night. Amazing!
Saturday, we spent some time just hanging out at the hotel and going to the pool :) I had read about the cool wave pool and lazy river at the Mandalay Bay pool area and was so excited to just relax for a bit. It was quite busy though (duh!) and I didn’t have a tube to float down the lazy river and ‘semi-swam-floated’ instead. (Note to self for our next visit: purchase your own inflatable tube in advance and bring it with you. They will charge you an arm and a leg if you want to buy (not borrow, buy!) one from the hotel, which I declined.)
Around 4 p.m. we got showered and ready and headed up the strip. First stop: Le Village Buffet at the Paris. I do love this buffet (crepes anyone?), but I always realize: I really can’t eat all the food that they offer. Part of me would rather order one good meal at a nice restaurant, than stuff my face at a buffet to get my money’s worth. Still, we had to eat at a buffet at least once . That’s part of what you do in Vegas.
Second stop: Planet Hollywood to get in line for the concert at the Axis. Wee. Excited was an understatement.
I could write a whole separate post about the concert, to be honest, but in case you’re not that much into boyband – or should I say manband now? – concert reviews (those people apparently exist. Who knew?), I’ll spare you the minutia and just tell you that it was amazing and fun and nostalgic and basically just pure blissful happiness (ast least for me, but I think J had a pretty decent time himself).
Sunday was another highlight of our trip: the FIFA World Cup Finale, which we had to watch because it was Germany vs. Argentina! I got up early enough to secure some caffeine and croissants and then we got comfortable on our king bed, crumbs and coffee spills and all, to witness Germany win the World Cup for the first time again in 24 years. Heck yes!
We had briefly contemplated to watch the game in one of the many bars (and there were quite a few showing it!), but then we didn’t want to be distracted by other people… we wanted to solely focus on the game! We celebrated the win by jumping on the bed and running around the room and screaming and laughing. You know, the usual.
We were basically tipsy drunk on excitement and happiness for the rest of the day (oh, what am I saying “for the rest of the month!), had drinks and Mexican food at Border Grill for an early dinner
before heading to Treasure Island where we had tickets to Circque du Soleil. J had never seen a CdS performance before, so I picked the oldest, most original one, Mystère (because Vegas has not only one, but eight ongoing shows).
The best part of Sunday night was: our weekend was not over. As a matter of prudence, I had booked our trip through Monday evening, so we had an extra full day ahead of us. Good thinking!
I got up early on Monday morning and spent a couple of hours in peace at the pool (with hardly anyone around).
After check out , we went to have brunch at the famous Hash House A Go Go.
The amount of food was insane (I couldn’t even finish half of it), but it tasted fresh and absolutely delicious! Definitely recommend this place for your next trip to Vegas! After coffee and food refueling, J and I felt brave enough to set out for a walk and explore the old part of the Vegas Strip…
… all the way to the Stratosphere tower.
In the scolding heat, mind you. We were sweaty, tired and very thirsty when we arrived and had a taxi take us back to the hotel and a little later to the airport.
96 hours seemed just about the right amount of time to be in you. We had lots of fun, great food and entertainment, but at the end of Monday, we were tired of the buzz and ready to go home.
Still, a trip I will likely not forget anytime soon!