Now that the jet lag has subsided, the suitcases have been unpacked, and the groceries replenished, we turn our attention to bringing our voyage into a coherent perspective.
We celebrated my daughter’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is three hours behind our Heartland time zone; hence, the jet lag. Her Fourth of July birthday this year was celebrated in grand style during our stay at The Bellagio Hotel. For years I assiduously had avoided Las Vegas: It seemed too glitzy and too cheesy for my elevated taste. Furthermore, I am not a gambling woman, at least not with the color of my own money. Initially, ringing in her 21st birthday in Dublin, Ireland seemed feasible. The only problem with that idea was that the Irish do not celebrate our Fourth of July. In the end, a particular performer proved to be the main draw for my daughter; consequently, to the Land of Las Vegas we schlepped.
Once we settled on Las Vegas as a Fourth of July birthday venue, the decision of where to stay reared its head. Having already been to Venice, Italy five times, the idea of a reduced replica of the Grand Canal held little appeal. Having shopped on the Veneto in the aforementioned real Venice, the Venetian shops in Las Vegas’ Venetian were not our cup of cappuccino. Having been to Paris, France and its Eiffel Tower, Las Vegas’ Paris with its reduced sized Eiffel Tower replica was less than appealing, although our 16th floor Lake View room at The Bellagio was situated directly across from The Paris and its Eiffel Tower whose night lights provided a lovely backdrop to The Bellagio’s gorgeous Fountains and accompanying music.
Like a guilty pleasure, my ardor swelled: I fell for Las Vegas, or, more to the point, I fell for The Bellagio. Its Art Museum had an exhibit of Monet paintings on loan from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Bellagio’s Art Museum was a jewel of a place tucked off the beaten path of the casino, away from the exotic swimming pool, and never ending foot traffic. The Monet paintings were stunning, as only Monet’s artwork can be. After consulting with my favorite travel agent, an Italian friend named Mary, we decided upon The Bellagio over The Venetian. The deal breaker for me was The Bellagio’s art. Where else could we dine exquisitely in Las Vegas surrounded by Picasso’s artwork, other than at Bellagio’s Picasso restaurant? Reluctantly, we finally had to leave the Bellagio, its fine dining, magnificent fountains, and hospitable staff. We will someday return to partake of its delights again.
Ciao for now.