Monte Lago Village - Henderson, NV

Location: Monte Lago Village, Henderson, Nevada

Don't you just love Vegas. Isn't enough that they have tried bringing New York and Paris to the strip but they created a psuedo Florentine village off Las Vegas suburbia complete with a copy of Ponte Vecchio. There are no churches here, it is a casino resort, it also has a floating rink. Yes, an ice rink in the middle of the desert. The area is still new and construction is still ongoing.

One notable food find here is the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory where we tried the chocolate pizza. It is hard chocolate with white chocolate on top with a topping of your choice and I am not talking about pepperoni - that doesn't sound appetizing. I chose marshmallow and mint instead.

Chocolate pizza...yum!

                                            Quiet Italian village.

The floating ice rink is smaller than I imagine.

                                            Tuscany in the desert.

About 4 years ago, J and I decided to embark on backpacking in Europe. We chose the 3 countries that made an impression on us when we took the Contiki tour. So, we bought Eurorail tickets and decided on a month long backpacking trip. Among Greece, France and Italy, I fell in love in Greece but J loved Italy, he made sure we toured to Milan all the way to Sicily. It is our 3rd time in Italy and we can't enough of it. I learned to speak basic Italian enough to ask for directions and buy some fruits in the day market.

After a hectic schedule of waking up a different city every morning for 3 weeks, we agreed to choose a city that would hold our interest for a couple of days to unwind before heading back to Paris and finally, go back home. We chose Florence and for a long time, it never felt good to wake up hearing church bells in a warm bed and clean sheets.

Florence is a university town and is crawling with American college students. We talked to one visiting student on the train and mentioned that New York University has a campus nearby. We got helpful local information where to find cheap eats from another student in the Laundromat. It would be easy to stay here for an extended period of time. No need to speak Italian.

Awesome Ponte Vecchio replica, they do weddings here too!

The Ponte Vecchio replica is part of the village resort. If you are staying here, it would be a good idea to request a room on this bridge. Waking up on a bright day overlooking a Tuscan town and not worry if you have enough Euro on hand.

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