So this post is about a lot of “first time” things in my life. First time to the west coast (LA and San Francisco), First time to Vegas, First time on an international Luxury Tourism Trade-show, First time using Airbnb and First time at the Bellagio. And that was August 2014, can’t believe it’s been already 4 years!
So much to tell, and quite honestly don’t know where to start, or what exactly to highlight, as this was a unique experience in every kind of ways.
A little bit of context, as until now I have not talked a lot about what I was doing for a living while traveling every now and then. In this post I told you I studied Accountancy and Finance in Cusco, for a while I was a happy Licensed Accountant, but luckily to me I discovered rather early that was not really what I wanted to do the rest of my life, and so my career moved to Management. I worked for over 9 years in a Luxury property nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco Perú. And there I really found out my love for travel, but even more I found out the kind of travel I wanted to experience.
The main reason for this trip was a Luxury Tourism trade show for Virtuoso agencies and properties held in Vegas every year, 4 days of meetings, parties, fancy dinners and a lot more drinks than I can remember. But before Vegas I decided to visit LA and San Francisco.
My highlights for LA are quite simple, a handful of things (no particular order for preference):
1) Griffith Park, go there as many times as you like, take a shuttle, or hike up, and just spend the incredible view.
2) Arclight cinema, if there is something LA is popular for is the Film industry, hence nothing better than an incredible experience at this cinema, really the best I’ve been to in my life!
3) Visit Warner Bros. Studios, if you loved Friends, if you love The Big Bang Theory or The Ellen DeGeneres Show, this is most definitely the place for you! it doesn’t take too long and gives you a close experience to the work they do on a daily basis.
4) Spend a day at Universal Studios, and if you like 3D experiences, you will be not a bit disappointed, my favorite? The Transformer 3D experience by far! but there is plenty to seed and eat, whether you go alone, with your partner, friends or family, fun for everyone!
5) Santa Monica pier & beach, a quite day, relaxing by the sea, under the sun, sound of waves, paradise! and on top of that there are nice restaurants right in front of the beach, so no excuse.
Now on to San Francisco, which was marvelous to say the least, but in contrast something that shocked me was the amount of homeless people living on the streets. Anyway, my top things to do:
- Take a biking tour where you will make an incredible sightseeing circuit through the most beautiful places in the city, then ride through the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. It was challenging for me only because I wasn’t used to cycle in the city full of people, cars and so on, but it is definitely safe so no worries at all, physically it is not too demanding and you easily do the three hours ride till Sausalito, where you can enjoy of a nice and rewarding lunch after the little fun adventure. Return to SF riding your bike or take the ferry.
- Go to Market street & Powell Street and take Cable car, you can take it also from Pier 41 to Market street, do whatever you want is SF and you have license to be crazy (wait that’s Vegas, but anyway you know what I mean).
- Take a walking tour with the guys from Wild SF Walking Tours, especially if you take the Mission & Castro tour, believe me you will not regret, this was the most memorable and fun walking tour I ever had, the guides are super well informed, have great local knowledge. While we were walking suddenly we heard Lenny Kravitz’s song ‘It ain’t over till it’s over’ and for some reason a few of us felt this was the perfect moment to be there. In addition by walking you meet your party friends in the group, so by all means it is a win-win.
- After the walking tour, take your newly acquired friend from England for ‘lunch’, find a rooftop restaurant and bar where you mean to just eat and take one drink, but actually end-up partying until 2:30 am, and taking photos with ramdom people just because they are drinking Cusqueña Beer (Beer from my home town Cusco).
- Go shopping! the Airbnb flat you rented is all for you for the second time in a row (it happened also in LA) so that an introvert like you can enjoy the city feeling at home, getting to or leaving your own place at anytime, doing yoga in the mornings, and sleeping like a baby after a long day or rather a long night partying, make some tea as your host happens to have all kinds of teas and honey!
- Take your shuttle to the airport in time, do not oversleep and miss it like in LA, because this time you might not be so lucky as to find a very creepy man on the street at 4am with no one else around and live the tell the story.
Welcome to Vegas! first things first check in at the beautiful reception of the Bellagio, look at the gorgeous Murano glass flowers hanging from the ceiling, then get to your room with a king size bed, open the curtains and look at the impressive fountain view. Top things to do… hard to choose, and hard for you to not know, what do you do in Vegas? besides work if that’s the reason of the trip, then only party 🙂
- Make sure to get in time for all the meetings, make sure to bring in candies as you will need them by the end of the day in order to keep your voice.
- Meet people from other countries, and remember them all as you will see them again at the parties and dinners for the next 4 days.
- Make sure to eat properly, the energy will be well needed to go through the day and night, sleep? lucky if you can fit in something longer than 4 hours.
- Don’t forget to always carry your ID with you, as it doesn’t matter if you have white hair and kids around calling you grandma, the bouncers will ask for an ID to let you in the parties! no exception! no lies!
- Book theatre nights, highly recommend The Beatles by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage, or the Michael Jackson by Cirque du Soleil, or any other, most are equally good!
- Go the Caesars Palace to see the ceiling resembling the sky, changing colors throughout the day as if it was natural. Get used to the cigarette smell in most of hotels where the casino areas are located
- Walk along the S Las Vegas Boulevard, you will find yourself in Paris, or New York or Venice, or Camelot, or Giza or Rome, you name them! walk walk walk, look look look, from families to bachelors, to honeymooners, to business people, everyone is there.
- Whatever you do, don’t try to make the same as the guys from the film The Hangover, just stick to the schedule, and party safely!
- Last morning, make sure you squeeze in at least a couple hours sleep before taking the cab to the airport, sleep on the way back to your country, wherever you come from hope to be so lucky as to have at least two seats on the plane for you 🙂
That was a fun couple weeks, so many new things, so many very nice people! what a feeling, what an energy, one really does return brand new! I am sure there were photos from the parties and the new friends somewhere, but anyway what happens in Vegas…
Make sure to hold on to that feeling, to keep the good things coming your way and the bad things/ negative people getting out. Breathe deep before telling your housemate to move out because you can’t take anymore of her bad aura! Plan next trip, keep changing!
The next trips are going to be massive stories, whilst you wait for them… Hasta pronto! See you soon! Auf Wiedersehen! A presto! Au revoir! Adeus!