Venice in Vegas

Trip Start Nov 29, 2011
Trip End Mar 01, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Sunday, February 5, 2012


We checked out of the Carlton Hotel in San Francisco and boarded the shuttle bus taking us to the airport early this morning. We were in for an unforgettable ride before we got to Vegas. Good job there wasn't too much traffic around, the driver wasn’t sure exactly where the next pick up was as he fumbled with his sat nav and his laptop-like control screen for his pick up details both at the same time. He was all over the road and accelerating like we only had 5 minutes before the plane left. And this is not Claire writing either! You can image the expression on her face.

We did survive the trip; one of the other passengers even gave him a tip. He looked a bit hopeful at me, it’s a good job that’s all he did as the only tip I would have given him would be to watch the road when driving and expect a letter from Claire! Well it was early and we were both tired.

Once inside the terminal we had quite a trek to check in, then all the check in desks were automated but our passports didn’t work and the screen just said seek assistance. Not impressed, especially as there was no one to ask. The guy behind the counter just said "I don’t work for the airline" the next woman told us to see someone further along, she told us to ask the second woman we had spoke to. Finally we got to the right person and I put the cases on the scales. I was a bit confused when they weighed in at over 40. Of course they weigh in pounds over here not kilograms. After that shock she hit us with baggage charges that we were not expecting. Things could only get better...

It was a short flight, just over an hour across some snow covered mountains and on into the desert. So baron, just brown, completely brown until a large city sprang out of nowhere followed by Vegas itself. It was easy to spot our hotel from the window; the Vegas strip itself stands out with our hotel “The Stratosphere” standing tall at the end of the strip. The flight itself was good; in fact I had a lot more leg room than on any of our long haul flights.

You just knew you were somewhere different when we landed. The airport is full of slot machines and people were playing them too. To claim our baggage we had to get on a tram which took us to another terminal, which was another first.

On arriving at our hotel we entered the main doors to be greeted with hundreds of slot machines and gaming tables, the reception was tucked away in a far corner, we even had a job finding it. Most of the hotels we have stopped in have been so helpful explaining where to go, what to see etc. But not here, it was very basic just there’s your key and here’s a map of how to get to the elevators. It felt very strange to see people smoking indoors again, they allow smoking at the machines. We went over to one of the greeters to ask where we could go up the tower and was almost sold time share units, guess we’ll have to work it out ourselves.

We caught the lift up the tower straight to floor 108. Not only was it very high but the windows were floor to ceiling and leaning out! It took a deep breath to go to the edge, I must admit it did give you a funny feeling. Claire couldn’t do it, she clung to the interior wall and had to sit down while I looked around.

There were some absolutely insane people there who were prepared to jump from the top of the building on a wire. MAD. I felt slightly sick just filming them. It wasn’t quite the top, there was one more floor above which is in the open air. This actually felt safer with the railings rather than the glass. There are a couple of rides up there too. One is a short rollercoaster type ride that juts out over the edge, the other dangles you over the edge, there is just no way.

Everywhere we went today there were TV screen with the Superbowl on, I think it must have been an important match because I had no chance of watching Wales beat Ireland in the Six Nations Rugby. Everyone was dressed in sports shirts so I didn’t like to ask if I could change the channel, apparently I missed a great match.

After a bite to eat we walked down the strip, still not very impressed with the place at this stage, it feels very tacky. Why any one would want to get married at the chapels here is a mystery. Maybe for the hen or stag night but not the wedding.

We checked out Treasure Island hotel but again just row upon row of slot machines and gaming tables. We had walked so far that Claire needed new shoes so we had a quick shopping experience. We then went into the Venetian hotel and everything changed. Inside here is a magical transformation, the whole lobby is like Venice complete with its own canal with gondolas being punted along by singing drivers (i don’t know what they are called) We even had a trip on the canal – see I can be romantic! (Ah yes he was lovely!)

The ceilings are all painted sky blue with clouds and illuminated, it really looks like you are outside and it feels like day light. The place is huge, so much so that we got lost trying to get out, we were going round in circles and had to ask for help. We had spent a good couple of hours in this hotel so by now it was time to make our way back to settle down for the night.
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Guy & Kath on

The city looks just as mad as it does on the TV - I always assumed they jazzed it up for effect. That fairground on the top of the tower looks fantastic ... just how much tranquiliser will we need to get Claire on it ?

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