Sunday, May 20, 2007

Leaving Las Vegas. The Fourth and Final Day

Saturday, Day 4. We're going home today, but since our flight doesn't leave until late this evening, today will be spent trying to see as much as possible.

As we know it is very easy to get overwhelmed, we decide to narrow our choices down to only 2 or 3 of the casinos & hotels. That way too we can save our feet, and also not be so rushed.

Richard (David's dad), Kyra & I head out after breakfast, as Marie wants to pack & straighten up a little bit at the condo. I really want to see the New York, New York Hotel & Casino, as I've always wanted to go there, (the real New York City, that is) and reality is, this is probably the closest I'll ever get :-(

We drive into the parking garage, and they actually have a sign posted that says, "Be prepared to show Photo ID". Apparently, they're still worried about post 9/11, and are just being safe. Well, the guard just let us pass without any problems--Maybe it was the minivan?????

The whole "campus" is built to resemble downtown Manhattan, with the outside of the hotel looking like it's made up of skyscrapers, like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

By the way, the steel girders running parallel to the ground in the picture above belong to a screaming roller coaster that winds its way in and out of the buildings, kind of like a maniacal subway--actually it's supposed to be modeled after the Cyclone on Coney Island. Also along the outside sidewalk, they've fashioned a replica of the Harbor, complete with the Statue of Liberty and NYPD Fireboats, as well as many of the bridges that connect Manhattan to other parts of New York and New Jersey. Below are pictures of the Statue of Liberty, and Kyra & I in front of one of the fireboats.

Inside, they've continued the whole city theme, and parts of the floor are even cobble-stoned in places. Central Park, The Tavern on the Green restaurant, Times Square, Greenwich Village, the Soho District, and a dueling pianos bar. They all vie for your attention. Unfortunately, my little digital camera is no match for the large dark spaces, so the pictures I take do not come out well.

Our next stop is the
Excalibur, as it's just a hop, skip & a jump across the street. Because they're all about the Medieval & Middle Ages, the outside is complete with moat & flying buttresses.

I have to say, this is probably my least favorite hotel & casino so far. But then, look at the era they have to work with. You can only do so much with dragons & stone.

Then we're on to the
Luxor, the Egyptian experience, complete with large pyramid, and hieroglyphics galore. The unique thing about the Luxor is, because it's literally a pyramid, all the room floors honeycomb up the four sides, while overlooking the atrium which houses the casino, shops & the restaurants in the middle. In addition, to accommodate the sloped sides, the elevators to the floors actually travel sideways on a 39 degree angle. By accident, we found ourselves in one of these elevators, by misreading one of the signs, but it was totally worth it! The picture below is taken from one of these room floor hallways, overlooking the atrium.

By now, we find ourselves quite hungry, and remember a pizza place called Sirrico's, back at New York, New York that looked pretty good. We head back that way, and because we're bringing lunch for everyone, order a whole pie. I have to tell you, this ends up being right up there with the best pizza I've ever eaten. Besides being HUGE, it is piled high with toppings and the crust is to die for.

Pizza in hand, back we go to the condo for lunch. Then time for Kyra's nap, and now the girls head out for more sight-seeing.

This time we start at the
Paris, walking by the Arc de Triomphe and underneath the incredible Eiffel Tower, pictured below.

As Marie & Beth have never gone up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, we wait our turn, and soon enough we are making our way up to the top. Let me tell you, the view from the top is unbelievable, but is clearly 10 degrees cooler, with the wind blowing up a storm. If it gives you any idea of how cold it is, the operator at the top is dressed in a full parka--no joke!

The pictures below are taken from the observation deck at the top, looking across to the Bellagio, and down to the busy Strip to the west of us.

Now that we've seen the Bellagio from above, it's time to get up close and personal.

This is, by far, my favorite hotel/casino of all the ones we've visited! If I could live at the Bellagio, I would move in tomorrow. The lobby, with its amazing marble floors, dares you not to look up at its stunning ceiling, literally bursting with 2,ooo hand-blown glass flowers by the amazing artist,
Dale Chihuly.

And if that's not enough, the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens take your breath away. This time they are all decked out for spring, complete with life-sized watering cans & even a butterfly garden.

Like I said, this is heaven to my soul, after days of smoke & loud noises & crowds. As we bask in this nirvana, I think to myself, "The only thing that would make this better would be a MOCHA!" So we ask at one of the shops if there's a place to get coffee, and sure enough, just around the corner, the most amazing combination of pastries, coffee, crepes and sandwiches, all rolled into this wonderful place called Jean-Philippe Patisserie. They even have a 27-foot-tall liquid chocolate fountain behind glass that will have you drooling uncontrollably.

And finally, the famous Bellagio fountains. Although not as awe-inspiring in the daytime as at night, complete with lights, they still put on quite a show. Below, I've tried to capture it for you in a short 1min, 30 second clip. Just a warning, it is very windy, plus the people next to us are quite enthusiastic about the show--don't worry, it's clean. It's just they have little kids who keep up a running commentary throughout the whole thing. I've also included a snapshot if you don't want to watch the video.

And lastly, a very brief tour of the Bellagio's neighbor, Caesars Palace. Then back to the condo to load everything into the car, and on to the airport.

Due to the lateness of our flight, it was only half-full, so we didn't even have to arm-wrestle anyone for the bulkhead row :-) Kyra slept most of the way home, as it was now quickly approaching midnight. David was there to meet us, and not too long afterwards, we were headed for home, a shower to wash off "airplane", and a much-needed bed. The unpacking and laundry could wait until the next day.

And now, speaking of much-needed beds, I should be heading to mine.

Blessings, friends. K~


Jrupprecht said...

This time last year Bruce and I were in Las Vegas for one week while he was at a convention. We stayed in New York, New York. Didn't hear the roller coaster, but pool side you do. From NY NY I walked for hours going in and out of every casino and shop for a couple days in 94 degree heat. Bellagio and Mandelin Bay are the best pool areas and hotel, and hope to stay there another trip. We did everything you talked about and more. Bellagio buffet was excellent... we tried a different casino buffet every night. Nice place to visit ... wouldn't want to live there, though.