Tim and Cortney were getting married on 10/10/10 (October 10th, 2010) in Las Vegas, so we had to be there! Initially we didn’t like spending a lot of money on a city trip (after all, we prefer the outdoors), but after we booked, got a little travel guide and checked pics on google earth, we got more and more excited to see all the lights, hotels and entertainment for ourselves. We booked pretty late and although we wanted to go on Friday, it was cheaper to leave on Saturday so that’s what we did (and went home on Wednesday), even though it meant having to miss the stag and stagette parties. Most of the friends and family that came along stayed at the Flamingo, but when we tried to book it, the Saturday was full despite a group reservation. We chose to book the Super 8 around the corner (got a super cheap online deal too, less than US$170 for 4 nights!) which turned out to be a good choice. No crowds, long line ups, just a quiet, small hotel and a very clean room, and just one block from the strip!
Friday, October 9th
We had an early morning flight out of Regina (6.46am), stopover in Denver (taking fingerprints and pics at customs was hardly any extra work) and after the second flight (both less than 2 hrs) we arrived in Las Vegas at 12.20pm local time. The flights were smooth, we loved the fast metro trains on both American airports and the US customs officer was the best (he even said bye in Dutch when we were done :)). What also stood out were the slots at the Vegas airport… you could start your gambling trip right there! 😮
We went to the Super 8 with their airport shuttle and got a nice, clean and cool room on the 2nd floor (2105). We chilled for a few hours and around 4 we decided to go have a look on the strip and see if we could find the Roths at their pool cabana. In the 7-eleven 2 doors down we grabbed a sandwich and saw our first Elvis! For a few bucks we could take some pics and as he had me kiss his cheek he turned his head and kissed me full on the lips, yikes!!!! Oh well… guess I was in Vegas!!! 🙂
At the Flamingo we found the friends leaving the pool and after some time in their rooms, we left for some first impressions on the strip and a buffet at Harrah’s, yum! We wanted to walk back to the hotel after that, but we walked an extra block past Paris and Planet Hollywood…. WOW! So cool to see all the lights, the people, the palm trees and all of that in about 22°C at night, heavenly!
Saturday, October 10th
Tim and Cortney’s wedding day!!! Like many others (I heard around 1500 couples, but can’t find it online) they decided to get married in Vegas on 10-10-10. Quite a few people tagged along (around 35) and they had bridesmaids, groomsmen, the whole shebang (even Lucca was wearing a little tux LOL)! After a quick breakfast at the hotel with 7-eleven sandwiches while getting ready, we went to the Viva Las Vegas wedding chapel (the same one where Elvis married his Priscilla) with Cortney, the bridesmaids and some more guests in the party-bus. Cortney looked so beautiful that I cried!! I had bought a dress for the occasion and got a lot of compliments too 🙂 The ceremony in the Garden chapel was short but sweet, everybody looked gorgeous and I will never forget how they looked at each other! Yes… I cried again, ok? 🙂
As the wedding party went elsewhere for a photo shoot, the rest of us took a cab back to the Flamingo and then we gladly joined Grant who had to drive to the Luxor (the Egyptian themed hotel in the big pyramid). While he took care of his reservation, we walked around and had an ice cream. Around 5.30 we got to Smith & Wollensky (near the Hard Rock cafe) for the wedding dinner. Classy food, great time, great (touching) speeches. Afterwards we hung out with part of the group at the Flamingo. What a beautiful wedding day that was! I wish Tim and Cort many happy and healthy years together with Geneva and Luke!
Monday, October 11th
We didn’t want to join the Roths to Circus Circus on the north strip today, as we had tickets to the Lion King on the very south end of the strip that night. So for us it was time to explore the south strip that day, mind you we didn’t have a rental car, so we did it all on foot (and a few parts by monorail) that day.
We bought some Hard Rock cafe shirts and in MGM we first went to the lunch buffet as we hadn’t eaten yet. You may pay around 25 bucks for these good buffets, but there is so much gooooood stuff there! Highlight on this one was the smoked salmon for me. Since we had salmon and cream cheese sandwiches at Sophia and Murray’s house on our recent BC trip, I’ve had cravings for it! 😉 Also in the MGM was one of the highlights of the trip… the Lion Habitat. Every day they bring in 2 lions from a ranch out of town with trained lions (so they don’t live there) and there’s only a glass wall seperating you from the animals and their trainers in the habitat. It was amazing to see them like a foot away from you!!
We continued our trip over one of the many pedestrian bridges to the other side of the Boulevard, through New York New York and Excalibur. There we hopped on the free monorail to Mandalay Bay. We first picked up our Lion King tickets and got some merchandise, then walked about 20 mins (in the same hotel…) to the Shark Reef. We enjoyed the beautiful aquarium with sharks, rays, sawfish and much more. After we walked all the way back to the main lobby, we had a beer in a lounge where we could put our feet up for a bit (man, all the walking you do on the strip!). We were still full from the buffet, so we didn’t care for food yet! At 6.30 we went to the theatre for the Lion King show. Unfortunately photo’s weren’t allowed, but the show was great! We had the cheapest seats all the way in the back ($71) but the venue isn’t so big, so we could see it all very well (and we also brought binoculars). The show was very colourful, the sound was great as well as the performance of the cast. Loved it! After the show we took the monorail back to Excalibur, got a burger in a food court and stumbled back to our hotel.
Tuesday, October 12th
The last full day, so we wanted to check out the Premium Outlet Mall and later on part of the central strip like the Mirage, Treasure Island and the Venetian. We asked the hotel for a cab and they phoned this driver, Starr. What a wonderful woman! This was not a cab ride, this was the Starr Experience 🙂 This lively and entertaining woman told us lots about Vegas on the way to the mall, she also does mini tours and such. In the mall we bought shoes (a.o. my boots in black at the Ecco store!!) and a watch for Nico and new bands for mine at the Fossil store, but didn’t have enough time to look for clothes much (it was already 4.30pm). Starr picked us up again and for Nico’s oncoming birthday she showed us around in the downtown part with the Golden Nugget, drive through wedding chapels and the famous Fremont Street 🙂
We chilled in the hotel for a bit, tried to get in touch with the Roths (we heard later on that Tim’s phone had been swimming ;)), then hunger drove us back to the strip again. We started at the Bellagio to watch the fountain show, then through the gardens of Caesars Palace to end up at the buffet in the Mirage (unfortunately we were too late for the Secret Garden with Roy and Siegfried’s tigers and Dolphin Habitat in the Mirage :() The buffet was terrific though! We got out just in time to see the hourly ‘eruption’ of the volcano in front of the hotel. After that we tried to catch a glimpse of the Sirens of TI show at Treasure Island. It was so busy we hardly saw a thing and what I did see (pretty women in lingerie dancing on a ship) was pretty retarded as it didn’t have a thing to do with pirates or sirens… but oh well that’s Vegas. After 10 minutes we crossed the street to get to the Venetian. I was very curious to see the Grand Canal with the blue skies and (fake) daylight! That did look great, although after a while I couldn’t wait to get outside again – too fake after all? Or maybe we were just getting tired. Our feet were hurting and we stumbled back to the Flamingo. We didn’t have the energy anymore to try and catch a ride up in the Eiffel tower at the Paris hotel, so we decided to sit at the $2 draft bar outside the Flamingo to watch people and take in the atmosphere of the strip for the last time!
Wednesday, October 13th
After sleeping in and packing, we took the 11.30am shuttle back to the airport, so we’d have plenty of time to get something to eat. After checking in (which was chaotic as we apparently still had to check in on kiosks in the airport despite online check in) we sat down in a food court for a while. Our flights back were again smooth and in Denver we didn’t even have to leave the pier we were on. We arrived in Regina around 9.30 where our neighbour Alison picked us up. Time to sober up from good times, warm vacation weather (around 30°C during the day) and palm trees! 4 days were too short of course… hopefully we manage to go back one day!