I spammed my Instagram stories with my Las Vegas and New York trip photos while I was out there. Then, I shared a few (just a few) pictures on my feed, too. But I’ve struggled to find the time to really sit down and TALK about the trip. Or even decide how I’m going to talk about it (I don’t like writing ‘city guides’ for somewhere I’ve only visited once).
So I thought a chatty blog post might be the best way… So at the end of January, David and I jetted off to the city of sin, a la Las Vegas! We stayed here for 4 nights before hopping back on ourselves to New York for 3 nights.
I’d only visited the US for the first time last year (when we went to Orlando!) and just thought America was so cool. Naturally I wanted to see more of it, so after booking this trip I was super excited.
We had no plan whatsoever to go back to America again so soon. That was until we saw a crazy good Las Vegas and New York twin centre holiday deal with Hays Travel. We actually decided against going at first to hold back on spending (we had a bathroom renovation to pay for!). But we both couldn’t stop thinking about it and so in the end the offer was too hard to resist…
All flights and hotels were included in the offer and I was expecting both hotels to be pretty standard. But then I discovered that we’d be staying in the Excalibur Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas strip – one of the themed hotels which has a giant medieval castle outside it! I think this was the start of me discovering the weird, wacky and wonderful place of Las Vegas.
Trying to plan our trip brought more surprises; like finding out about the biggest pyramid in the world is not in Egypt, but in Las Vegas (the Luxor hotel & casino). As well as there being a half-scale Eiffel Tower (Paris Las Vegas). I’d also read Mandalay Bay Beach in the Mandalay hotel has a 1.6 million-gallon wave pool, which occupies 11 acres and 2,700 tons of Californian sand. I mean this place is insane.
Unlike other city trips/holidays I’d been on, it takes no time at all to get from the airport to the Las Vegas strip. A taxi took us approximately 20 mins max and boom, we were in the centre of it all.
Not knowing much about Las Vegas beforehand, I was definitely mesmerised. Highlights were watching the Bellagio fountains, flying down Freemont Street on the zip line Slotzilla and winning just over $100 on a slot machine! I was surprised to discover that Las Vegas wasn’t all about gambling, and is in fact in a great position to visit the Hoover Dam (another highlight, possibly THE highlight) and the Grand Canyon (although sadly we didn’t make it there because of the expense). And oh I haven’t even mentioned that we saw Lady GaGa in concert!
Anyway, it was never on my travel bucket list, but I’m so glad I’ve been and experienced Las Vegas.
Moving onto the east coast, New York was a city I’d always wanted to visit. We landed in the evening to a completely different temperature and environment. It was minus 8 degrees outside and the airport was bustling. When collecting our luggage I heard an announcement over the PA system; “this is New York City and it’s coooold outside baby!”.
Arriving in New York at night was a bit disorientating. After catching the train from the airport, checking into our hotel and dropping off our luggage, we only had time to grab something to eat. The first thing I noticed was that people were everywhere.
I didn’t get to see the real New York until the next morning, when we’d grabbed a bagel and caught the subway to the 9/11 memorial museum. Although this was quite a sombre start to the day, it was also humbling to hear the experiences of residents and emergency services who save lives of so many people in this amazing city.
The rest of the day seemed to whizz past; we walked across Brooklyn bridge, ate at Katz’ deli, strolled across the High Line, before going to Times Square and ending the evening on top of the Empire State.
We squeezed in a lot for the remainder of our time. Like catching a New York Knicks game, going to top of the rock at the Rockefeller, seeing central station and getting drunk in a bar and watching the superbowl. We spent the last day by catching the Staten Island ferry (to see the Statue of Liberty) and ambling around Central Park before heading to the airport.
New York is really as magical as everyone says and I’m sure I won’t do it justice here. (Although I will try to in any subsequent blog posts that’ll follow.) I knew it would happen, but I left the US loving it more than I already did and thinking of a ‘next time’ we can go back.