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Vegas Ventures Jan’13

As the last leg of my shamefully long honeymoon began, the excitement and the despair both crept in.

Despair : This “Lala Land” fairytale trip was coming to an end.

Excitement: We were heading to non other than Las Vegas !!!

Now since it was the last bit of our honeymoon we did want to make the most of it , unfortunately for me though I did fall terribly ill (some horrendous stomach bug), however being a trooper and knowing that I was probably not coming back anytime soon in the for seeable future I still managed to do a lot !

Travel Mode: We made the famous drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, as that was our previous stopover during the honeymoon. It is fairly easy to rent cars across the U.S.A and you can usually drop them of at your last destination and have someone from the car rental agency pick it up from there.

Hotel : Now this is usually a very big decision for tourists when heading to Sin City, as it sets the mood for your entire trip.Our choice of hotel was the “Wynn and Encore”. With a fun red, bold theme running all over the place, the energy in these connected twin structures was loud,vibrant and very Vegas. The rooms were quite large and spacious( just a regular double bed room),also having opted for a panoramic view, added to the entire beauty of our stay at Encore.

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MUST SEE/DO:

1) Explore the Strip: This is probably the best free excursion that you will undertake during your stay in Las Vegas.Bear in mind that each hotel is designed in a unique manner and has different elements that distinguish its feel and overall atmosphere. So even though you can’t stay in 10 places at the same time, wandering around the different magnificent hotels will give you a good feel of the ambience each one has to offer.

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2)The Shopping: If you are someone who loves high end designers, the strip is practically your man made heaven. With every high end designer store present on the strip, the shopping will keep you occupied for hours! For those who aren’t looking for anything that will put a dent in your savings there is the “Fashion Show Mall”, which is a stand alone structure that caters to all kinds of shopping needs.

3) Cirque Du Soleil Shows: Las Vegas is known for their variety of world-class shows and performances and every evening is packed with a number of events that will pique your interest. However, the concierge at any decent hotel will advise you to watch at least one “Cirque Du Soleil” show during your stay in Las Vegas. With $100 million dollar stages and jaw-dropping costumes and performances,these shows are a not one to miss. No matter how old you are or what country you hail from, the Cirque Du Soleil shows will leave you spellbound. Unfortunately there are strict “No Photography/Video-recording rules.

Note: Even under the circumstances of my illness we managed to go for two Cirque shows !!

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4) The Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours: Thanks to my dear uncle, who insisted that we make it a point to go for this excursion during our Las Vegas trip, we ended up booking the “Dream Catcher Tour” through Maverick Helicopter (Link:http://www.maverickhelicopter.com/tour-dream-catcher.aspx). Maverick Helicopters are recommended by most resorts and have a great informative team.  This tour was absolutely breathtaking and was really worth the hype! Also there are a whole  range of other tours offered by Maverick to fit your budget and time.

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5) Nightlife: What is a trip to Las Vegas without experiencing some city nightlife? The strip is booming with something for everyone. With never ending casino floors to an innumerable array of lounges and nightclubs, with some of the best performing artists from all over the globe, Las Vegas has some nocturnal activity to fit everyone’s bill.

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MUST EAT:

Please do note before reading further that most of our eating experiences were limited to the resort due to my illness during this trip.

1) The Society Cafe: A beautiful cafe located on the end of the casino floors in Wynn, Society Cafe had some of the best breakfast offerings for its guests. With a hint of the Victorian Era running through its interiors the cafe is chic and has some of the best fuss free food options that I have tasted on this trip.

Note: Ideal for breakfast but open for lunch and dinner too.

2) Wazuzu:  A casual Asian fusion eatery that has all kinds of foods on offering from the Far East, Wazuzu promises a good light bite that won’t leave you drowsy for the rest of the evening. Some of the stand out dishes on the menu were the Black Miso Cod and the  Drunken Noodles (non-alcoholic). (Wynn and Encore)

3) Weing Lei: One of the only fine dining experiences of our trip was as Weing Lei, which happens to be the only Michelin Star Asian restaurant in North America. The ambience is a formal and sharp one and the food is impeccable. With partial Asian roots, my husband knows his Chinese food quite well, and our dining experience had him nodding with satisfaction too. (Wynn and Encore)

4) Tao: An Asian Bistro that has quite a lounge-y vibe to its credit. Although being  one of the most recommended restaurants in Las Vegas, I would say Tao is worth a visit for it’s lively ambience and great music rather than the actual food. There are definitely better Asian options in Las Vegas (Wazuzu for Example), however this restaurant will set a great tone for the evening and is a great place for a fuss free yet satisfactory meal. (The Venetian)

Vegas Traveller Note: After you are checked in head straight for the concierge at your hotel to make sure you reserve your spot for all the things you plan to do in Vegas!

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Croatian Crusades : Aug’13

Had someone asked my take on Croatia earlier this year, my apt response would probably have been a shoulder shrug and a confused expression. However, 2 weeks in this beautiful ex Yugoslavian nation and I was left spell-bound.

The  5  places  that I felt made my trip  absolutely worthwhile were these :

Plitvice Lakes National Park (Zaghreb)

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This breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site is an absolute feast for the eyes. The Park consists of 16 lakes and is the largest in Croatia, also one of the oldest in the region.  Situated about 2 hours away from the main town of Zaghreb ( by road) it is fairly easy to visit and not one to miss !

The Island of Hvar (Split)

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For those visiting the city of Split in Croatia, a day trip to the Island of Hvar is a must. The scenic boat/yacht ride of approximately 2 hours is a fun experience all on its own. Also once you reach Hvar the  vast variety of delicious seafood available will leave you spoiled for choice. Hvar has something for everyone beaches, culture, stalls selling their famous lavender and olive oils and a lot more !

Sun Salutation And The Sea Organ (Zadar)

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A coastal town based in the Dalmation region of Croatia, which is best known for these two novelties. The Sea Organ, which is a series of pipes fitted on the city coast and as the waves from the Adriatic Sea fill the tubes, a harmony of tunes plays across the coast a truly unusual experience. The Sun Salutation shall leave visitors even more astounded as it is a sphere of solar panels installed near the coast that absorb energy during the day and at night light up with different bursts of colors and patterns. Both of these are designed by Croatian architect Nikola Basic, and are a unique wonder.

The Island of Korcula

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Off the coast of the city of Dubrovnik, lies a beautiful little island with a very rich history, with beautiful ruins and well preserved ancient architecture the Island is most fondly remembered  for being the birth place of the famous Marco Polo. ( Pictured above)

The Old Town of Dubrovnik

My favorite part of the entire trip was the old town of Dubrovnik, not something I would have ever imagined to be the way that it was, but this stunning Old town has been preserved by the city since the 1400’s. Although it is their Old town it is by far the most “happening” place in the enitre town. With all kinds of stores, eateries, coffee and gelato houses, the old town is a treat for and for all. Also what made this little town an absolute treat for me was that bits of my  favourite TV show were also shot here. Calling out to all “Game of Thrones” fans, you are most plausibly going to end up strolling around in awe of this real life set of the most amazing show ever !

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All said and done a very interesting trip both educational, fun, relaxing  and full of cross country coach rides with my amazing family !

 

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