Monthly Archives: June 2010

Why I Love Vegas–Part II

4. Half price ticket booths.
5. Awesome restaurants, many of which you can get discounts for by making reservations through adore mentioned half priced ticket booths (and all you have to do is call–no standing in line required!)
6. The daily schedule–eat, pool, drink, eat, nap, drink, show, eat, drink.
7. The fact that all shows involve people hanging from ropes and/or tasteful partial nudity (well, the shows we go to have tasteful, partial nudity. There are, of course, other less tasteful, less partial options.)
8. How everything is connected by pedestrian walkways, bridges, trams, and people movers.
9. Mist-ers everywhere, and air conditioned casinos with the doors wide open. Wasteful–yes. Necessary given the weather–yes.
10. The great people watching. Example–homeless man with sign ‘I’m not gonna lie, I want to drink’. I very nearly doubled back to give him five bucks (but I was on an afore mentioned people mover.)

Why I Love Vegas–Part I

Many people wonder why I like Las Vegas so much. Hell–even I wonder sometimes–but never when I’m actually here. Now that I’m here again, I remember all if the old reasons, and come up with new ones daily (or hourly). Because I don’t have a lot of time to spend blogging whilst on this vacation (and because I’m writing this on my phone) I will have to write this in short segments. Today I give you reasons three…

1. Having a card you can use to charge things to your room–that works in half of the hotels on the Strip.

2. Being able to stop for a margarita in between happy hour and dinner. Or in between happy hour and a nap, and then again between the nap and dinner!

3. The restrooms everywhere. Correction–the really nice, well cleaned, marble tiled restrooms everywhere. Which come quite in handy after all of those Margaritas.

Viva Las List!

I’m kind of sad that our Vegas trip is almost upon us, because that means I can’t look forward to it anymore.  Though, to be fair, Vegas was more than eclipsed by the Europe planning, and the extent of my ‘looking forward’ was an occasional flip through my last year’s Vegas photo album on Facebook.  But today I bought Time Out Las Vegas, packed my bag, and now I’m just sitting around waiting for it to be Sunday.

While I sit around waiting, I thought it would be fun–and encourage forward-looking–to come up with a list.  Because I love lists.  So, without further ado, here’s the ‘Things I Didn’t Get To Do Last Year in Vegas That I Want To Do This Year’ list…

1.  Get off of the strip more, particularly for meals.

2.  Go inside the Bellagio and check out the botanical gardens.

3.  Visit the far south part of the strip.

4.  Whilst doing #3, visit the shark reef at Mandalay Bay.

5.  See LOVE–which should be easy, as we already have tickets.

6.  See a real comedian.  Bill Cosby is going to be there our last night–I’m contemplating buying tickets now.

7.  Go to ‘old Vegas’–downtown.  See the awful light show on Freemont street, and eat a 99 cent shrimp cocktail.

8.  Take better pictures, including a slew of photos that will convince a friend of mine that Vegas is beautiful (and much cooler than Disney World).

9.  This one probably isn’t going to happen still but…take a day trip to the Grand Canyon.

10.  Win money.  (Though I guess then ‘gamble’ would have to be on the list!)

Itinerary

So today I was asked for my trip itinerary, and I referenced this blog as a place to find it…and then realized that the full itinerary does not exist on here–at least not in full.  So here’s The Itinerary for those of you interested…

Leave for Vegas on a Sunday.

Be in Vegas until the following Saturday.  Be generally lazy the entire time.  This includes sitting by the pool, going out for dinner, and seeing random shows that are on sale at the half priced ticket booth.

Be home for a week.

Leave for New York City on a Monday morning.

Go to the Met and/or do other random NYC things on Monday.

Have dinner with the husband’s friends on Monday night.

Sleep in NYC.

Spend Tuesday in NYC some more.  Contemplate Empire State Building.  Take cab to JFK before 3pm.

Fly out of JFK around 6-ish on Tuesday.

Arrive London by 8am London Time on Wednesday.

Spend one very jet-lagged day in London on Wednesday.

London Thursday.

Day trip to Bath and Stonehenge on Friday.

London Saturday and Sunday.

Monday morning–Eurostar to Paris.

Paris for a week.

Monday to Tuesday overnight trip to Amsterdam from Paris apartment.

Tuesday night–return to Paris apartment, one more week in Paris.

One week later–husband takes train back to London to fly home, wife takes plane to Barcelona for a week.

Barcelona for a week.

Fly back to London.

London for two more days.

Fly home.

Whew.  That’s one hell of an itinerary.  Glad I have all of the days leading up to this trip to relax.  Well…sort of.  If you consider getting ready for a trip of this magnitude–and an auxiliary trip to boot–‘relaxing’, then call me relaxed.  Because really, I am.  Quite relaxed, that is.  Though ask me how I feel when we return, and I’ll likely give you a different answer.

Back in Time

We’re leaving for Vegas on Sunday, and tonight I purchased tickets to the only show my husband wants to see (and he REALLY wants to see it–it was the entire impetus for our return to Vegas)–Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE.  I guess I’m excited about it.  But not really.

The first issue is that I’ve already been there–exactly one year ago, in fact.  And I hate hate hate people who go back to the same place year after year.  Yet that’s exactly what I’m doing.  Nevermind the fact that as I sat on the plane waiting to return home, I actually pressed my hand up against the glass and said a sad goodbye to the most fun city ever.  It is not the most cultural, not the most beautiful, but Vegas is definitely the most fun city I’ve ever visited.

Issue number two–since I’ve been crazy trip planning, I look at purchases in new ways.  For example, I am acutely aware that I just spent the equivalent of three nights in Spain on a two hour show in Vegas–and that was with a 25% off discount I found online (after a LOT of searching).  How oh how are we going to enjoy $90 per person tasting menus–like we did last summer–knowing that same amount of money would buy us a ticket from London to Edinburgh?

Actually, the question really is ‘how am I going to do that?’  Because the husband really could care less.

Which brings me to my final point–the effects of Vacation Brain.  But I think Vacation Brain deserves its own post, so I’ll leave that for next time.  Right now I must go to sleep, and dream of tuna poke in a delicate soy-sesame vinaigrette…that will cost as much as admission to the Louvre.

Embracing my OCD

But then again, trip planning can be fun, too.  Here’s a look at the insanity I’ve created in order to make sure that we ‘make the most’ out of our time in Paris.  This is five days worth of planning.  We’re spending two days in Amsterdam, and one day at Versailles, which leaves the husband with five and a half days to sit in a park and eat cheese.  I think that’s more than fair–and more than enough cheese.

My insane plan, organized by area, created by cross referenced self-created table.  My only regret is that I cannot copy/paste said table into a blog.  Ah well…

Left Bank and Notre Dame

Ideal Day To Go:  Wednesday or Thursday by 2:00pm

Metro:  Two stops to Chatelet
RS Left Bank Walk OR Thursday 10:30am St. Germain Paris Walk
Picnic walk in Luxembourg Gardens
Pantheon
Metro:  Odeon two stops to Cite
Notre Dame–by 2pm for English Tour
Sainte Chapelle
Metro:  Cite to Les Halles
Gather dinner at Les Halles
Go home and eat dinner
Walk around and hold hands

Champs Elysees and the Louvre

Ideal Day To Go:  Thursday or Friday

Metro:  walk to Les Halles station; three stops to CDG Etoile
Arc de Triomphe
Walk down Champs Elysees to Metro FDR
Three stops to Tuileries Metro
Find food–picnic in Tuleries Garden
Rest of Day–the Louvre.  Open until 9:30 on Fridays.

Montmartre and Sacre Coeur

Ideal Day To Go:  Wednesday (if going on tour)

Metro:  Anvers, funicular to the top.
Arrive early to avoid crowds.
Check out Sacre Coeur
Paris Walks Montmartre Tour 10:30am at Abbesses Metro
Dali Museum
Pigalle area–check out the Red Light District and look for windmills
Have dinner somewhere cute in Montmartre

Musee Jacquemart Andre and Opera Garnier

Ideal Day To Go:  Wednesday or Sunday

Metro:  Opera
Visit Galleries Lafayette Department store–go to top for view
Arrive Opera Garnier by 11:00
Guided tour of Opera
Walk to Musee Jacquemart Andre
Have tea in tea room
Tour Museum
Walk to Parc Monceau
Dinner at Cafe de La Paix

Paris History, Pretty Plazas, and Dead People

Ideal Day To Go: Saturday–for tour at Pere Lachaise

Metro:  Walk
Check out Pompidou Center
Carnavelt Museum–walks south one block to PDV
Picnic in Place Des Vosges
Walk past Bastille and Opera House
Bastille Metro–four stops to Republique–transfer to line 3–three stops to Gambetta
Pere Lachaise Cemetery–by 3pm for English Tour
Metro back home–Gambetta or Pere Lachaise, Transfer at Republique to line 11, home to Rambuteau

Trip Planning Can Be Boring

Most of these posts have been of the ‘oh boy I’m so excited I just planned/researched/booked x, y, or z!’ sort.  But there’s a boring side to trip planning.  Take, for example, what I just spent the last hour or so doing–comparison shopping for money belts and looking for travel sized laundry soap.  Can you say ‘Zzzzzzzzz’?  And the worst part was that I actually had to spend money on said items.  That was the least fun research and purchase so far.  But in seven to ten business days, I will be the proud owner of a neck wallet, a money belt, a travel laundry kit with suction-cup-y clothesline, and two sets of different electrical adapters.  Oh boy oh boy!