To my dearest friends, family and fellow culture cravers,
Our last week in America has been fan-bloomin-tastic.
After San Diego we jumped back on the Greyhound bus to VEGAS BABYYYY!!
Neither Lydia or myself were that fussed about what the City of Sin had to offer. Instead, we were visiting out of obligation (because, who goes to California and doesn’t make time for Vegas!?) and curiosity to see what the hype was all about.
Turns out, we were rather partial to the city that never sleeps.
Vegas is extravagant, in your face and out right bizarre. And we loved every minute of it. It’s like nowhere else on the planet and I now understand why it can’t be missed.
As you approach Vegas it looks like a pop up card. Everything is flat, dusty and barren until you see the over-the-top luxurious hotels and casinos sprouting out of the red, flat desert.
There is always something bright and exuberant to look at and you can be transported to any destination you desire – Venice, Paris, Rome, they have it – maybe that’s why so few Americans leave the country…
We stayed at an incredible Air BnB around a half an hour walk from the strip. It was located on the ninth floor of an amazing apartment building with a pool, jacuzzi and view like this…
On our first full day we braced our senses and hit up the strip. Within seconds of being on the Las Vegas boulevard, we knew we were going to like it.
Frank Sinatra blared out of god knows where as fountains danced to the music, immaculate shiny buildings towered over us as we stared up in awe of their grandeur, Spiderman, Darth Vader and Go Go Girls pranced around having their photos taken, tourists danced through the streets with frozen margaritas in hand and the ding of the thousands of slot machines could be heard from everywhereeee.
And that was before we’d even stepped inside one of the hotels.
We managed to cover around 200m in approx 5 hours as we were constantly being distracted.
We ventured into the Venetian and uncovered its weird and wonderful decor, which transported us to the streets of Venice.
We went for a truly American liquid lunch in Gilley’s.
Before attempting (and failing) gambling in Caesars Palace.
Yup that’s a Sex and the City machine…
Our first taste of Vegas ended at the Bellagio watching the hotel’s impressive and ever-changing fountain show.
We were told by our Air BnB hosts that like the fountain show, Vegas’ hotels, clubs and performances are forever changing. Meaning, living there can never get too ‘samey’ or boring!
That night we dolled ourselves up, finished watching the Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’, which we’d been binge watching for the past week (because we know how to party pre drink)… and then, after a couple of bottles of wine, headed to Omnia, the night club in Caesars Palace to see the DJ Martin Garrix perform.
It definitely lived up to Vegas’ extravagant nights out!
Our next adventure lead us to the iconic Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
As we’d decided that we couldn’t afford to rent a car, we took to the internet to try to find an alternative way to get to and from the Canyon. The bus cost $105 dollar EACH WAY and tours were just as much if not more – those options were out.
A light bulb idea sent us to Couchsurfing (we’d just had our first Couchsurfing experience in San Diego) to see whether there were any other travellers in a similar position to ourselves.
Luckily, a lady who lives in Vegas was looking for someone to accompany her in her car the same weekend as we’d planned to go – the Grand Canyon plan was still on!
We’d already booked a campsite for a night so planned to spend 2 days exploring and trekking the Canyon and one night camping.
A five-hour drive later and we entered the park, set up our tents and hit the South Kaibab trail.
The scenery at the Canyon was so mesmerising it was hard to believe it wasn’t a mirage.
The red rugged cliff faces which towered over the trekkers descending into the Canyon, the unbelievably flat top of the rock formations that looked like they’d been perfectly sliced with a knife, the kaleidoscopic colours which bounced off every corner of the Canyon, it was just as magnificent as I’d always imagined it to be.
We trekked down into the canyon for a few hours before re-emerging to watch the fiery sunset…
And getting an early night in our tent ready for the 5.30am sunrise…
Our final few days road trippin’ were spent exploring San Francisco’s sights by tandem bike and getting the bus back down to LA.
I have now had to say goodbye to Lydia 🙁 and am spending the next week bopping around LA before getting my flight to NYC!!
Until next week…