After a quick drive from Cedar City though deep gorges and canyons, we touched on the edge of Arizona for about 15 miles as the road to Las Vegas passes through the tip of the state before entering Nevada itself. Tuesday and Wednesday were mainly spent looking around Las Vegas at the various hotels and attractions on offer. We decided to stay at a hotel to the south of the Strip, mainly as being in the center of Las Vegas is chaotic and expensive. The hotel had a shuttle bus which dropped you off at various locations so this made getting round easy.
First impressions of Las Vegas were mixed. It’s obvious a marvel given its location in the middle of the desert, but as it’s all about money, it attracts all types, and I mean all types. Most things are quite expensive, as obviously if you’re in Vegas you’ve got lots to burn. Not only on the poker machines but on everything else from food and drinks to souvenirs. Outside the city limits the landscape is quite dirty with rubbish everywhere, blown against the fences by the wind that can howl through the desert on occasions. It certainly is a strange place and another world.
We had lunch at the Mandalay Bay hotel on the Tuesday (the same hotel where the recent shooting occurred from), mainly to get our bearings so we knew where to go the following night for our dinner show. Many weeks ago we booked seats at the Tournament of Kings show at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino which we were all looking forward to as the highlight of the visit. Getting around Vegas is mainly all walking, though there are some monorails that help get you from one end to the other. We contemplated taking a helicopter ride over the Strip at night, but they wanted us there 90 minutes before the flight which only lasted 12 minutes. They keep the people flowing on and off the choppers so as not to have to shut them down. To do this they want you there early enough to make up for any no-shows.
Wednesday was our big day in Vegas as we’d spent the previous afternoon researching where to go and how to get there. Unless you want to walk miles along the Strip to find what you’re after, you’re better off choosing a central place to visit and starting from there. The main things we wanted to see were the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and The Venetian Hotel (where there’s a large canal and gondolas like in Venice). We decided to drive to Hurrah’s Casino and park there, then walk the short distance to both. We arrived at Madame Tussaud’s just after opening and had the whole place to ourselves. This made taking photos with most of the wax figures inside quite easy, and at the end there was a 4D movie experience of Marvel comics.
After this it was off to The Venetian for a walk around and find the canal. It was already starting to get busy so no gondola ride for us (the price wasn’t cheap either!). We walked around the hotel from the outside and finally picked a gourmet burger place for lunch just outside Hurrah’s. After that is was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for our dinner show. As it started at 6pm, we had to catch the 4pm bus from the hotel which didn’t leave much time to get ready. The show included a medieval dinner, to be eaten in medieval style i.e. with your hands, along with lots of slapping on the table and shouting “huzzah” when the knights on the horses did something exciting. Overall, it was quite a good show with a lot of effort put into it, especially given the number of horses used, all of which were dressed in medieval type armour and saddles.
Would I go back to Las Vegas? Probably not. They say you should do it once, and I think once is enough. Though it all depends on what you’re after in a holiday destination.