Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas - photo Jolene Navarro

Part 2 What to do in Vegas if you don’t gamble or drink. Fremont Experience

Today I’m going to share my Fremont experience with you. Last week I shared the things I did in Vegas that didn’t involve gambling or drinking: I hung out in an over-the-top hotel room, watched a storm come in from the mountains, and watched people below. I explored the Palazzo and Venetian hotels, which included a small Italian village, With a friend I walked the South end of the Vegas Strip…Bellagio and Paris. Saw the gardens, the fountains and some Picasso.

My selfie in Vegas - I need to practice - Jolene Navarro
My selfie in Vegas – I need to practice – Jolene Navarro

If you missed it, just visit my last post

That alone would have made a good trip, but my roommate and fellow teacher agreed to go with me to the other end of Vegas. The “old” Vegas also know as the Fremont Experience. All the pictures were taken with my Samsung Galaxy Edge 6.

After looking at the options of traveling the distance to the opposite side of town we decided on the using the Deuce double-decked bus. We would only be using it once – to get there and back – so we paid cash 3.00 each way. If you want to get on and off you can get a one day for 8.00 or a three day for 20.00. All the locals say don’t use the cabs – they charge time and you pay for sitting in traffic.

Deuce double decked bus in Vegas
Deuce double decked bus in Vegas

We enjoyed the ride. Sitting front seat on the upper lever I got some nice pictures on our way to Fremont street. We passed Circus, Circus, the art district several wedding chapels and the Stratosphere.

Stratosphere on the Vegas Strip - Jolene Navarro
Stratosphere on the Vegas Strip – Jolene Navarro

We arrived on Fremont about 5:30 pm and went to Fremont East first to find dinner.

East Fremont Street
East Fremont Street
3-D Art on Fremont Street in Vegas. The Praying Mantis outside Container Park on Fremont St. photo by Jolene Navarro
3-D Art on Fremont Street in Vegas. The Praying Mantis outside Container Park on Fremont St. photo by Jolene Navarro

We found a gaint Praying Mantis. At night he puts on a laser show – While we were walking by a bride and groom were there with a photographer taking wedding photos.

The murals alone were worth the bus fee.

Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas - photo Jolene Navarro
Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas – photo Jolene Navarro
Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas - photo Jolene Navarro
Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas – photo Jolene Navarro

When we first got there another wedding couple were taking pictures with this one as the backdrop. I was going to take a picture of them taking pictures but my son says that’s creepy – they left before I could get a good one anyway. We saw a total of four couples in full wedding gear walking around Fremont.

Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas - photo Jolene Navarro
Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas – photo Jolene Navarro

One place that  looked like a great place to eat was The Market

Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas - photo Jolene Navarro
Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas – photo Jolene Navarro
Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas - photo Jolene Navarro
Art on Fremont Another huge mural on Fremont Street in Las Vegas – photo Jolene Navarro

The Market mural was so big it took two photos. I love the colors.

Fresh food at The Market. Nice option in Vegas.
Fresh food at The Market. Nice option in Vegas.

Back at the Palazzo a small bowl of wanton soup was $15.00 so a $5 lunch special with fresh fixings looked good. Locals had told us to try Radio City Pizzeria. So we headed across the street

Radio City Pizzeria on Fremont East with my roommate- photo by Jolene Navarroo
Radio City Pizzeria on Fremont East with my roommate- photo by Jolene Navarro

My roommate Monica was a great traveling partner. She never once complained when I would stop to take pictures. She even let me take hers with the way too big pizza we ordered. Oh, but it was good. One slice each filled us up and we took two to-go-boxes back to the hotel room. Good thing I took my large Vera Bradley. That sucker holds everything.

Radio City Pizzeria on Fremont East - photo by Jolene Navarro
Radio City Pizzeria on Fremont East – photo by Jolene Navarro

I had to take a picture of the toppings list. I might be a bit shelters but these are some strange toppings. Really, check out the list. You have to tell me if you would try or maybe even have tried some of these topping…Duck? Blood Sausage?

And what the heck is Beef Heart – is it what I think it is? ugh. Now I thought the eggplant sounded good.

Unusual topping choices at the Radio City Pizzeria on Fremont East
Unusual topping choices at the Radio City Pizzeria on Fremont East

After a great dinner we stepped out into the dusk. The Neon Lights were fired up. The Las Vegas Boulevard Signs Project partnered with Neon Museum to restore old signs that had been removed to make way for bigger and brighter. Now they are back, lighting up the night sky in downtown Las Vegas. Click here to visit their website

In 1996, the Horse and Rider from the Hacienda Hotel was the first sign restored and installed as public art in Downtown Las Vegas.

Historical Signage on Fremont in Las Vegas - photo by Jolene Navarro
Historical Signage on Fremont in Las Vegas – photo by Jolene Navarro

Map to the Restored Neon Signs

Historical Signage on Fremont in Las Vegas - photo by Jolene Navarro
Historical Signage on Fremont in Las Vegas – photo by Jolene Navarro
Historical Signage on Fremont in Las Vegas - photo by Jolene Navarro
Historical Signage on Fremont in Las Vegas – photo by Jolene Navarro
Fremont has become a living Museum to the history of Vegas -Historical Signs are on display -photo Jolene Navarro
Fremont has become a living Museum to the history of Vegas -Historical Signs are on display -photo Jolene Navarro
The Vegas of old on Fremont - photo by Jolene Navarro
The Vegas of old on Fremont – photo by Jolene Navarro

The hotel and casinos have gone through a bit of change since the days Howard Hughes set up shop.

Little monkey skeleton on Fremont Street Las Vegas - photo Jolene Navarro
Little monkey skeleton on Fremont Street Las Vegas – photo Jolene Navarro

I think the little monkey hanging on to the side of the building was one of my favorite neon art works.

As the sun goes down and the crowds start to pick up we headed to the other end of Fremont. The one with the largest digital screen in the world. Yes, you are walking under the screen. They also have free music here on certain nights so be sure to look that up.

Fremont - in Vegas the largest digital screen in the world. photo Jolene Navarro
Fremont – in Vegas the largest digital screen in the world. photo Jolene Navarro
Fremont -Zip lining in Vegas under the largest digital screen in the world. photo Jolene Navarro
Fremont -Zip lining in Vegas under the largest digital screen in the world. photo Jolene Navarro

The one thing I would not be doing was getting up close to the giant screen. See the black dots dangling from a rope? They are people that jumped off a platform and zipped to the other end of the screen.

Fremont Experience photo by Jolene Navarro
Fremont Experience photo by Jolene Navarro

It had started to get really crowed and almost naked people started showing up – some pretending to do magic, others trying to hoover in the air and some just hanging out with a loincloth. So we hopped back on the bus and headed to our room. Vegas is a visual feast and over all I have to say I enjoyed it. Wait? Did I ever play the slots? I confess, I did put a $20 in and ended up leaving with $43 …but I have to tell you, I couldn’t do it for long. It was really boring. Other than when it lit up and went crazy – at one point I did have $82.00 and to watch it slip down and down. I didn’t like it.

Have you been to Vegas? Do you want to go to Vegas? If you have been what was your favorite thing to do?

So now I’m off to New York for the Annual Romance Writers of America conference. Watch out New York here we come!

What is there to do in Las Vegas if you don’t gamble or drink? Part One.

So I had a conference to go to. I love traveling and usually jump at the chance to go to a new place, but this one was in Las Vegas. I don’t gamble or drink and I’m really not into naked people I don’t know.

But I do love art, people watching and taking pictures. All these pictures were taken with my Samsung Galaxy Edge 6.

So what could I spend all of my free time doing?

Option #1 – hide out in my room.

Our room in the Palazzo was incredible and it would have been easy to stay there. As the smallest room available it was a statement in overindulgence. A great place to read or write. And we could watch storms coming in from the mountains. Right across from us the pirate ships of TI (Treasure Island) were lit up. We could also see the big tall gold TRUMP tower. Made me feel like I should be writing about a rich bad boy with issues…maybe I’ll stick to my small town cowboys with issues.

)We could also watch the swimmers in the pool. They seemed to forget that people in the rooms above could see what was going on under the water.

A Vegas view from the Palazzo of the mountains and TRUMP photo Jolene Navarro
A Vegas view from the Palazzo of the mountains and TRUMP. http://www.palazzo.com/hotel.html photo Jolene Navarro
We had the smallest room the Palazzo had to offer! It was a huge two room suite with a table that sat four, a desk and a large l-shaped sofa that was very comfy.
We had the smallest room the Palazzo had to offer! It was a huge two room suite with a table that sat four, a desk and a large l-shaped sofa that was very comfy. http://www.palazzo.com/hotel.html
Pirate ships in front of Treasure Island and Senor Frog. Across from the Palazzo. Jolene Navarro
Pirate ships in front of Treasure Island and Senor Frog. Across from the Palazzo Photo Jolene Navarro

Option # 2 – Tour the Palazzo Hotel

The hotel itself is a small town of upscale shopping and restaurants of every kind. You could spend your whole time in Vegas and never leave this hotel. Just walking through the hotels and taking in the displays was vacation worthy.  I walked by these everyday to get from my room to the conference. I had to walk through the casino also but didn’t think to get pictures of the slot machines and tables. I didn’t find them as interesting.

These photos were all taken in the Palazzo. It is a true visual feast.

The Palazzo had several displays made up of flowers. Photo Jolene Navarro
The Palazzo had several displays made up of flowers. Photo Jolene Navarro
The Palazzo had several displays made up of flowers.
The Palazzo had several displays made up of flowers.
The Palazzo had several displays made up of flowers.
The Palazzo in Las Vegas had several displays made up of flowers.
Shopping at the Palazzo Photo Jolene Navarro
Shopping at the Palazzo Photo Jolene Navarro
Palazzo in Las Vegas provides shopping and entertainment without leaving the hotel
Palazzo in Las Vegas provides shopping and entertainment without leaving the hotel. That’s a real person. Photo Jolene Navarro
Palazzo in Las Vegas provides shopping and entertainment without leaving the hotel
Palazzo in Las Vegas provides shopping and entertainment without leaving the hotel. You never knew when you would come across a live performance. Photo Jolene Navarro
Palazzo in Las Vegas provides shopping and entertainment without leaving the hotel. Everything is Grand!
Palazzo in Las Vegas provides shopping and entertainment without leaving the hotel. Everything is Grand! Photo Jolene Navarro

You can even take a ride in the river – it’s as if you have left the United States

 Vienna is not far away when you are staying at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.
Vienna is not far away when you are staying at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.
The Palazzo in Vegas is an adventure all in its self! You don't even need to leave the hotel.
The Palazzo in Vegas is an adventure all in its self! You don’t even need to leave the hotel.
The Palazzo - http://www.palazzo.com/hotel.html
The Palazzo – http://www.palazzo.com/hotel.html

Connected to The Palazzo is The Venetian – it is worth walking to their lobby too.

The lobby at the Venetian in Las Vegas is a grand example of classical art
The lobby at the Venetian in Las Vegas is a grand example of classical art and the over the top attitude in Vegas. Jolene Navarro

Staying at the Palazzo

Day two in Vegas and I’m ready to walk outside of the hotel. We did discover a Walgreen right at the corner of our hotel so each day we would get fresh fruit for lunch. My roommate also found out they were the only place to get Big Red and Dr, Pepper. So she was happy.  I have a friend from the West Texas Writer’s Academy that lives n Vegas so I called her. We met at 5:30pm and with our walking boots on headed south (left from the Palazzo) and made our way to the Bellagio.

Option #3 – Walk to the Belliagio

Another feast for the eyes. Getting around the strip is easy with the escalators that take up to the pedestrian bridges. You never actually cross the main strip. We walked on the right side and stayed out of the sun. Along the way we saw many opportunities to take pictures with the almost look-a-likes of Mikey and Minnie Mouse, Mike Tyson, the bearded man with the baby, minions and a pissed off Cubaca. I only saw one Elvis. They each wanted money to have their picture taken – so I passed.  It was entertaining to say the least.

The Belliagio was worth the walk. From the Picasso showing (I did pay extra to see these) to the Botanical gardens to the biggest chocolate waterfall I have ever seen. Art popped up in unexpected places. I even spotted one of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits (picture below). Of course you can’t miss Dale Chihuly’s work of hand blown glass that covers an eighteen foot ceiling. But take the time to look along the edges of the conservatory – you can find more of his glass there.  That is all topped by the Fountains of the Bellagio.

After the pictures of our adventure I have a video of “Behind the Scenes in Creating the Water Show at the Fountains”.

Stepping of the Palazzo lobby we could go North or South on the Vegas Strip - This is North
Stepping out of the Palazzo lobby we could go North or South on the Vegas Strip – This is North were you will find the Wynn and giant block eating mall. The UFO shaped thing is the entry. Photo Jolene Navarro
Vegas Strip - North of the Palazzo
Vegas Strip – North of the Palazzo. We left when the sun was still up – but most of Vegas looks better at night
Bellagio in Vegas. Theme - Under the under the Sea with Summer Gardens at the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Bellagio in Vegas. Theme – Under the under the Sea with Summer Gardens at the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Bellagio in Vegas. Theme -Under the sea with Summer Gardens at the Conservatory &
Bellagio in Vegas. Theme – Under the under the Sea with Summer Gardens at the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
At the Bellagio in Las Vegas in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens with Jenna Neal and Jolene Navarro
At the Bellagio in Las Vegas in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens with Jenna Neal and Jolene Navarro
At the Bellagio in Las Vegas in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Sea Turtles  Jolene
At the Bellagio in Las Vegas in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Sea Turtles Jolene Navarro
At the Bellagio in Las Vegas in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens the baby  Sea Turtles  Photo by Jolene
At the Bellagio in Las Vegas in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens the baby Sea Turtles Photo by Jolene
At the Bellagio in Las Vegas in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens   Photo by Jolene
At the Bellagio in Las Vegas in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Photo by Jolene
Painted umbrellas hanging in the Bellagio. photo by Jolene Navarro
Painted umbrellas hanging in the Bellagio. photo by Jolene Navarro
Painted umbrellas hanging in the Bellagio. photo by Jolene Navarro
Painted umbrellas hanging in the Bellagio. photo by Jolene Navarro
In the Bellagio in Vegas I found the the tallest chocolate fountain I have ever seen. The little girls were impressed too.
In the Bellagio in Vegas I found the the tallest chocolate fountain I have ever seen. The little girls were impressed too.
In the middle of the hall I found a Soundsuit by Nick Cave!. Jolene Navarro
In the middle of the hall I found a Soundsuit by Nick Cave!.
18 foot ceiling covered in the hand blown glass created by Dale Chihuly. Bellagio in Vegas
18 foot ceiling covered in the hand blown glass created by Dale Chihuly. Bellagio in Vegas

Now the fountain. I was up on the bridge when I took this pictures – I would recommend being on the street level – but people start gathering early. The pictures I took just don’t do it justice so click on the video link and see how they do it.

The Water Fountain at the Bellagio is worth the time to see.  - Jolene Navarro
The Water Fountain at the Bellagio is worth the time to see.
The Water Fountain at the Bellagio is worth the time to see.
The Water Fountain at the Bellagio is worth the time to see.

Across from the Bellagio and a little further up was Paris. Was told by local one of the best buffets.
Across from the Bellagio and a little further up was Paris. Was told by local the Paris had one of the best buffets. It was The Little Village. We enjoyed it – the dessert was worth the price.

I was enjoying Las Vegas much more than I ever thought I would. I’m not even done with my list of free things to do in Vegas. The Fremont in next – but that was such an experience it will get its own blog later this week.

Entry ways of New Orleans shops are interesting in themselves.

New Orleans – A Romantic City of History and Cemeteries

N - New Orleans
N – New Orleans

I love romance and traveling. With a long list of places I want to walk through and explore, I get excited when I get to mark one off. As a writer I want touch, smell, hear and experience the character of each place, the unique weaving of history and culture that can only be savored first hand. New Orleans was one of those places.

New Orleans Bourbon Street
New Orleans Bourbon Street

Well, maybe not so much the smelling — but if you stay away from Bourbon Street in the wee morning hours before they power wash the uh.. evidence away, you’ll be fine)

I was surprised how much I loved this city. I’m not a party kind of girl and when I thought of New Orleans I thought Bourbon Street and Madi Gras.

We stayed in the French Quarter and there is so much to do that doesn’t involve Bourbon Street that we spent hours walking around and of course you have to have a midnight snack at Cafe Du Monde.

Beignets and Hot Coco at Cafe Du Monde
Midnight snack: Beignets and Hot Coco at Cafe Du Monde

Shops, restaurants, bars art galleries are all nested together in the French Quarter. Neat little areas that can get over looked are all over the place.

New Orleans French Quarter
New Orleans French Quarter

You don’t even have to go in most of the buildings to enjoy the art work.

Art in New Orleans
Art in New Orleans

Art in New Orleans. A hint of Mardis Gra in a peaceful moment
Art in New Orleans. A hint of Mardis Gra in a peaceful moment. This is begging to be written as a scene.
Art in New Orleans - The passion of the dance.
Art in New Orleans – The passion of the dance.

You can't be in New Orleans and not visit George Rodrigue's Blue Dog
You can’t be in New Orleans and not visit George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog
You can't be in New Orleans and not visit George Rodrigue's Blue Dog
You can’t be in New Orleans and not visit George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog

There is enough in the French Quarter to make great memories, but how can you go to New Orleans and not explore the cemeteries? We walked to Canal Street and hopped on a Ttolley.

Canal Street where the street cars meet the edge of the French Quarter
Canal Street where the street cars meet the edge of the French Quarter

If you like more traditional shopping Canal Street (on the edge of the French Quarter and Downtown is full of shops.

We took the trolley to the Garden District and walked through the historical cemeteries. It’s like going through a museum. Which we did also. New Orleans has so much to offer we plan on going back.

It is worth staying in the French Quarter though…it is like stepping into another world.

Lafayette Cemetery No 1 - Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 – Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 - Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 – Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 - Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 – Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 - Garden District 1
Lafayette Cemetery No 1 – Garden District 1

Opposite of the trollies on the other edge of the French Quarts is the Mississippi River. It is worth the ride on the paddle boat as live music plays. (Skip the over priced dinner. Really,) As you head back to dock, the sun is setting over New Orleans – it’s beautiful.

Paddle Boat on the Missisippi
The Natchez- a Paddle Boat on the Mississippi
Paddle Boat on the Missisippi
Paddle Boat on the Mississippi
Downtown from the paddle boat
Downtown from the paddle boat