What Happens in the Meadows, Stays in the Meadows…

Sin City. The Entertainment Capitol of the World. LAS VEGAS.

Interestingly enough, the name “Las Vegas” translates from Spanish to English as “The Meadows”. A rather benign interpretation of the city compared to it’s modern nomenclature counterparts, don’t you think?

An opportunity to attend a western conference in my field of work brought me to Las Vegas for four days and constitutes my second visit to the city. I am not a person who tends to visit the same place twice – in my opinion, vacation time is so precious and there are simply too many places to see in the world to continue returning to the same place over and over. Of course, that tends to contravene with my wanderlust and, ultimately, I’ll choose to travel anywhere when the opportunity arises.

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Sitting on the plane with my coworker, Lindsey, ready for departure to a land of more sun. This was her first airplane ride. I love being part of other’s first experiences!

As the trip wore on, I began admit that revisiting a place is not quite the waste of time I wanted to pin it as. You start to be able to appreciate and draw out more layers of the area than you had your first time around, and it almost becomes more intriguing. Vegas is a perfect example of this.

Most people that plan out their first trip to Las Vegas center it around The Strip. The unique and awe-inspiring character of the hotels, the flashy display of lights, the casinos, the shows. You can spend days upon days on the Strip alone and never run out of new experiences and entertainment.

The Luxor

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Nevada sunrise from our hotel room at the Luxor

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New York, New York

I actually never made it inside New York, New York on my last trip, so made a point to see it this time. Loved it.

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The Excalibur

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MGM

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Paris Las Vegas

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This is the restaurant we ate ate Monday night. I had a delicious salmon entree here. We were both almost passed out by the end of our meal though, because of all the walking we had done that day. So much walking…

Along with the Venetian, Paris is one of my favorite hotels to see. Such beautiful interior. Not to mention, French food and pastries 😋

I feel very fortunate to be able to say that I’ve stood at the foot of both of the ‘Tour Eiffel’s of the world (Las Vegas on the left, Paris on the right).

The Venetian

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We helped ourselves to some delizioso gelato here on Wednesday night. I had been craving ice cream the entire trip, but was not going to settle. This stuff made it worth the wait. Plus, it gave us an adequate sugar rush to fuel us as we high-tailed it back to the Bellagio to make it in time for the Cirque de Soleil.

Bellagio

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Bellagio always has beautiful flower arrangements in it’s atrium. They rotate through different themes periodically. This one was an oriental theme. Complete with giant peaches. Naturally.

When Becca and I went in December of 2010, it was a beautiful Christmas display.

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The show we decided to see was Cirque du Soleil’s O. Becca and I had toyed with going to this one last time, but ended up seeing Mystere instead, which I was blown away by. So of course, I made a point to check ‘O’ off the list this time around, and was not disappointed. The tickets can get expensive but well worth it to see these extraordinary performers at work.

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The perfect capstone to our trip was seeing the Bellagio fountains perform. To stand and enjoy the beautiful light display of the strip is really something.

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I suppose to say I found myself tired of the Strip version of Las Vegas is not entirely accurate, but as amazing and exciting as it is, you start to grow weary of the advertising, the commotion, the brand, so to speak. The ‘lust’ stage that comes with any first-time travel experience starts to fade. I began to notice the rest of the city and the mountains and the desert in the distance and was more curious of what lay beyond. I wanted to experience more of the Meadow version of Vegas.

Due to the conference and having to attend lectures throughout the day, along with a lack of a personal vehicle, I was unfortunately not able to venture out as much as I would on a personal vacation. However, the conference did offer some good opportunities to shuttle out and see some things. I had really wanted to go out to the Hoover Dam, but didn’t get registered early enough and they sold out the tour before I got a spot. But we did get out to the outlet mall and drive down to the older part of the casino scene – Fremont Street. The Mob Museum was another opportunity available, though I was fighting too strong of an urge to head back to the hotel and lounge by the pool and passed it up.

We did check out the Springs Preserve on Wednesday. Warm sunshine, 72 degrees. It thawed the Midwest chill right out of my bones. Wonderful to be out.

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The Mountains are calling, and I must go…

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Overall, I would call it a successful second go around. Good conference, good food, good company, good adventures. If anything, it taught me to allow myself to keep my eyes open no matter how familiar a scene I might find myself in, because beauty lies in the most unexpected places.

Go. Run. Act. Find. Dare. 

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