Ready for Part II of my Las Vegas recap? In case you missed it, you can read Part I here.
I was pretty excited for this vacation, for which we departed on the day after Christmas and returned the day before New Year’s Eve, because I’ve never vacationed during Christmas break before – ever. Every year I think I am going to love laying around doing very little. And for the most part, I do love it! Relaxing is very rejuvenating, obviously. However, I’m the kind of person who needs stimulation and gets bored easily – I need to be doing something! So the holiday season seemed like a great week for vacationing this year; plus, I didn’t need to use any vacation days for work.
On our second full day, we hit up the buffet right in our hotel, Flamingo, for a quick but hearty brunch before being picked up at 9:25 AM for our activity of the day. The Flamingo buffet didn’t have a ton of variety, but they did have ample, well-stocked quantities of the basic breakfast foods – and an omelet bar. Veggie omelet for me – score!
Our activity of the day was a Hoover Dam tour – another half-off deal I scored on Groupon!
We were picked up at our hotel lobby, taken to the tour company office, checked in, and then departed for Boulder City, Nevada. The trip took about an hour or so, with the heavy traffic. Mountainous scenery made the journey a bit more interesting. Our tour guide was a bit too chatty for my taste. He wasn’t necessarily giving out very valuable information, but it seemed he was just babbling for the sake of it. Please just pipe down for a bit, buddy!
Our first peek of Lake Mead, as we approached the Dam.
This bridge over the Colorado River amazed me. We did drive over it, and I was horrified, I must admit. According to this site, this bypass has only been in use since late 2010!
Riding around the Hoover Dam site:
Once we waited in the LONG tour line, the dam staff took us on a tour in the guts of the dam and also into the power plant. We learned a lot of interesting things during the tour.
After the tour was complete, we were left at the observation deck for these incredible views!
Looking down at the power plant and river.
How do you even photograph something as spectacularly epic as the Hoover Dam? Impossible.
Lake Mead. The rock discoloration indicates the former water level and demonstrates the large quantity of water that has been lost in the past couple decades.
Once last view of Lake Mead before we left. I may or may not have purchased a shot glass that reads “This Is My Dam Shot Glass” at the gift shop. Oh DAM puns, I love it.
Once our tour was complete, we hopped out of the bus at MGM Grand, which was near our evening destination. I absolutely love this photo that I captured below – my favorite of the trip! The photos that can be captured once you take your camera out of Auto Mode and place it in Manual Mode can be pretty amazing.
Our evening destination: Excalibur.
At Excalibur, we had tickets for the Tournament of Kings show. There are about eight seating sections, each one representing a different nation. We were, funnily, in the Norway section. Funny to me, for some reason, since the huz is Norwegian. Yay. So anyways, the show is basically a staged tournament of kings competing in contests like jousting (literally, on real horses), or hand-on-hand sword combat.
Despite the declaration that photography was “forbidden,” I captured a couple quick shots prior to the show. During the tournament, we were served dinner, and taught how to toast and cheer for our king. Oh, and another catch: dinner is served utensil-free. Better bring your hand sanitizer, kiddies!
We were served Pepsi in our mugs, and we also paid a bit extra for wine. Our first course was a tasty tomato bisque – carefully sipped from the bowl.
Dinner was a bit bland, but pleased the masses. A whole (albeit, small) roasted chicken, potatoes, broccoli, and a biscuit. Pick up that chicken and gnaw on it.
On our walk back to Flamingo, we stopped to watch my favorite: the Bellagio fountains. I was having a ball playing with my camera while waiting for the next fountain show. I am in love with the way the lights reflected on the Bellagio pool.
This particular night, Billie Jean was the song that was played.
Next we hopped across the street (and by ‘hopped across the street,’ I mean took a series of four escalators and multiple pedestrian bridges over 10 lanes of traffic) and landed back at our hotel.
Once we were back at Flamingo, we spent quite a while playing the penny slots and enjoying a few dranks (strawb margs for me!) in the Margaritaville Casino, before ending the evening with a late-night Cheese Fries snack from Johnny Rockets. I did not order chili – just cheese! Gosh! I wasn’t about to go 28 stories down to complain about this, though. We still devoured ever last morsel.
Stay tuned for Part III!