Ahhh I’m finally getting round to writing my American holiday blog. Ok for those of you that don’t know I was away to the States visiting Las Vegas and New York. I have always been so obsessed with America, however I never had the opportunity to visit until now. My mummy would say my love of Disney Channel had a big part in this but to me it has always been the country where your dreams come true. I swear I had America in my blood. I always said I was going to be a foreign exchange student and go to high school in America, (hello no uniform) or that I would be like Lauren Conrad and attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in LA. Oh! And I swore that when I finished Uni, I would head to New York on a graduate visa and make it in the fashion capital of the world ( aww, the absolute dream). Ok the foreign exchange thing was never going to happen and unless I was made of money, either was LA, but the graduate visa could have happened. I just never had the courage to go for anything like that. It was a very scary thought and a mere dream for an 18 year old me. So you can imagine when we booked this trip I was so excited, I was finally getting to visit somewhere that had always been a dream for me. Funny enough, my sister kept saying throughout the whole holiday “Your an American trapped in an Irish girls body”. I just seemed to know how to navigate my way around both cities with ease. I just always loved the thought of coming to this county so you could say I had 23 years of preparation before this trip.
While I was away I kept a diary of everything we done, how each city made me feel and what I learnt while being in each city. So grab a cup of tea, relax and enjoy, it’s a long one but a good one.
Day one: Monday 13/11/17On the Sunday night we stayed over in the Carlton Hotel at Dublin airport as our flight was at 10.30am on Monday morning. When traveling to America, there was a few extra factors to consider when your at the airport such as clearing customs, so it was advised to us to be at the airport at least three hours earlier. Plus I am quite nervous in airports so I like to be there and get everything done before I can relax. In Dublin airport you go through customs there rather than when you get over to America, which in my opinion is so much easier. I remember feeling very nervous at customs because I had completed the Visas for us and all I could think off was “had I done them wrong” or “where they going to let us in?”. It didn’t help that the American Police officers were quite intimidating, walking around as if they had two stereos under their arms and eating a whole donut IN ONE GO!!! I thought he was going to eat me! But actually he was so nice and the process was easy peasy. They have it all on their system so there was no need to print out the authorisation (but if it makes you feel better then just print them to be sure). After a few finger prints and photos we were officially on American soil. Our first flight was to Philadelphia and lasted 8 hours. I wasn’t use to a flight that long as I had never been on one for that duration but it actually flew in (pardon the pun). They have little TVs allowing you to watch movies or shows. I’m sure the majority of you already know this, but I didn’t (amateur). I watched the new Baywatch film and thought they were going to throw me out mid flight because I couldn’t stop Laughing. Who knew Zac Efron and his 12 pack were so funny. Eventually we arrived in Philadelphia and there we had a three hour layover until our flight to Vegas. When I arrived in Philadelphia, I got so overwhelmed, (I’m not joking when I say going to America was a big deal for me) I think I just couldn’t believe I was there and I hadn’t even arrived in Vegas yet. I think I was just so grateful To be there. Our flight from Philadelphia was 5 hours and we thought again there will be some in flight entertainment, we were wrong! There was nothing, and we hadn’t brought any magazines or anything, it felt like the longest flight and we were all so so tired. So just a little note if you are doing an internal flight between states just bring something to help your time go in because there may not be any inflight entertainment. Anyway, despite this, 5 hours later, we were finally in Vegas and the Jet lag hit us like a bus. It was 6.30 in Vegas time but 2.30 our time, but we were determined to fight it so by the time we collected our bags, got to the hotel and had got some dinner it was about 8.30 and we decided to hit they hay! I know in Vegas and in bed by half 8, very rock and roll of us.
I was up early that morning, I really am not one for lying in bed when I’m on holidays, I love getting up and exploring the place. I went for a walk and my first realisation was the size of this place. I mean It. Is. massive! Every building and every hotel, like nothing is small in Vegas. I found it hard to find my bearings a little because it was just so big. It was very overwhelming but a good overwhelming. I just had to keep pinching myself I just couldn’t believe I was here (You sick of hearing that yet?) so it was just hard to take it all in. But the city is not hard to get around. It’s quite literally all on the one strip (One straight road). Every hotel is connected by either a bridge or a tram which adds to the experience of the city. From each bridge you can see right down the strip while your walking over the busy highways. I just couldn’t wait to get walking down the strip and see all the iconic hotels and attractions of the city. Is anyone else like that? You just want to see everything you ever imagined the city was? I am such a tourist.
We stayed in the Excalibur Hotel which was at the south end of the strip yet was still close to everything, that’s the great thing with Vegas it is very compact and you can walk anywhere if you wanted. There is a bus that can take you around, but we either walked or got a taxi. We dandered around a few of the hotels at the south of the strip such as, ‘New York, New York’, The MGM, The Aria and The Cosmopolitan, it gave us a little taster of what was to come over the next four days. We then took a trip to the suburbs of Vegas for lunch. In my head Vegas was just a strip, (silly now that I think about it) in fact it goes on for miles beyond the city. As much as I love the bright lights and tourist attractions, I love seeing the “normal” or “real” part of the city, where people live and work. We actually wanted to take a trip to the Grand Canyon but it would have taken a full day and we just didn’t have the time to do it. So instead we thought we would just get a cab out of the city and see what it was like. I remember driving down the highway outside the city and seeing the shopping malls and restaurants and thinking this is so like MTV. I really don’t get out of Ireland enough! We then came back into the city and that evening we wanted to try something different for dinner (For a change we wern’t gearing towards the nearest Irish Bar) and opted for ‘Javier’s’ a Mexican restaurant in the Aria resort and Casino. It was really nice rich Mexican food in a cool restaurant so I definitely reccomend it if you wanted to try something a little different. From there we headed uptown to Freemont Street also known as the Old Town. OMG! It was a hoot! It was a very lively street with music, outside bars and of course the famous Freemont Street Zipline. A far cry from the streets of Belfast. I loved it down there, it reminded me of the old movies that were set in Vegas, it had the Golden Nugget Casino and the Golden Gate Casino, (the oldest casino in Vegas btw!). While mummy and Aisling took on the zipline (I’m not great with heights) I stood at the bottom, trying to get my head round their measurements of vodka. I swear they just pour! No measurements just guessing. Safe to say by the time they came down on the Zipline I was a little bit tipsy and no richer (I don’t think them slot machines work). But the vibes down there are so good, definitely worth a trip to it some evening as there are plenty of bars and casinos if the Zipline isn’t your thing.
Day three: Wednesday 15/11/17
Waking up with a slightly heavy head, today was the day for shopping. In Vegas there are the north and south outlets. They have all the best shops such as Adidas, Nike, Converse, Levi’s, Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs…..basically there are a lot of shops. Definitely go to the outlets as there is so many shops that we don’t have over here. Also you can shop on the strip but at the outlets you get more for your money, and because we went close to Black Friday there was even more discount, so I was in heaven. We went to the North outlet simply because I think it was closer to the strip. We drove past the south outlet on the Tuesday while visiting the subarbs and it just seemed abit more out of the city but I’m sure it has all the same shops. I brought a few things but because we were heading to New York, I knew I would shop loads there and because our luggage allowance between Vegas and New York was 20kg I knew I had to limited (restrain) from buying loads.
On the way back we stopped at the famous Las Vegas sign. I was very excited! I mean how can you go to Vegas and not visit the Las Vegas sign? It’s on the south end of the strip and quite close to our hotel so we were able to walk back. On the way we visited the Mandalay Hotel. This is the Hotel that the horrendous shooting took place in, in October of this year. The Hotel was so beautiful and grand, it was awful to think that the month before the worst mass shooting in the USA took place here. You couldn’t help but feel a sense of unity across Vegas as every hotel and attraction had either the “Vegas Strong’ banner draped over the front of the hotel or a tribute of some sort. It was extraordinary.
That evening we went for dinner in the Beautiful Ballegio Hotel. Again it has many restaurants inside it and we opted for Olives, a beautiful Mediterranean Grill. It had such a beautiful atmosphere and looked out over the fabulous Ballegio fountain show. Which I’m sure you seen on my insta stories, it was breath taking. Whether you are having dinner or walking down the strip at night, you will see the fountains, they are amazing! After dinner, we headed to a show. This was another thing on our list. We watched the Cirque du Soleil show “O” which was also being shown in the Ballegio. OMG! I have never ever seen anything like this. It was incredible. The combination of acrobats, synchronized swimming and divers created a breath taking water performance. It was something totally different to what I have ever seen before and I would highly highly recommend going to one. It was amazing. And to top it off, after the show we were brought back stage to meet the cast. I know! I mean this trip was full of surprises. What happened was the day before we had got a taxi and our taxi driver was an acrobat in the show! What are the chances? It was amazing. When we met the cast I was mesmerised by their costumes and the detail in each one. There Wardrobe and make up teams are obviously incredibly talented. But to just go in and see the Ballegio it’s self is amazing, they have these beautiful indoor gardens that are changed every season. All the colours and all the flowers, it is so magical.
Day four: 16/11/17
Our last day! We were so sad to be leaving, it has been the most amazing few days but before we go, we wanted to see the rest of the hotels at the North of the strip. We visited Ceasers Palace (thee ceasers palace 👀) which was huge!!! And the interiors were incredible. I mean we got lost in there. There is a massive shopping mall inside which I was lead to believe was just designer shops but there are tons of highstreet stores in there too including H&M (which I am convinced is better over there than it is over here) and Sephora. Then we went to be The Venetian Hotel which has the canal running through it where you can ride the gondolas through the hotel. Unfortunately we didn’t have time but I just thought that was so magical. I know how many people had said to me about going to the hotels, but it is definitely worth seeing them. Every one of them is different. They are truely out of this world. Not only that, it’s the hotels that have all the best restaurants, entertainment and nightclubs, so by visiting each one you get to see what each has to offer and give you ideas on what to do. You can see why Las Vegas is used as the location for so many different events, it is a different world. That day we finished up with dinner in an Irish bar (it was inevitable) I was craving potatoes! You can’t take Ireland out of the girl. It was called Seven Fine Irish Men in the New York, New York Hotel and done proper pub grub….my fave! After that the only thing left to do was pack up and head to bed, ready to catch an early flight to NYC.
And that was that. Notice throughout this post I keep saying amazing, incredible, breath- taking, thats how I can only discribe this city!! It was unbelievable. Las Vegas is like Lego Land, I can’t describe it, it’s just another world. Every hotel is amazing, just everything is amazing! It’s not a holiday you really have to plan because everything is so compact. I actually prefared Vegas to New York and you will find out why when I write my NYC post. Not that I didn’t like it, because I loved it. It was just so different. Honestly if you are thinking of going to Vegas, DO IT! I’m saying all these good things and I didnt even really experience the night life, so I’m excited to get back and do it as a party holiday. Probably the only down fall and I actually found it in both cities is that the food isn’t great. I suppose when your use to good wholesome Irish food, then your going to struggle anywhere but one thing is for sure is that you won’t starve, there are eateries everywhere! But other than that is was amazing!!!
I hope you enjoyed my post as much as I enjoyed writing it and visiting this incredible city.