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Sin City to the City of Angels

USA | Friday, 6 May 2016 | Views [291]

Woke this morning in a bit of a rush; we wanted to make the most of our day in Los Angles, but had a 4-5 hour drive. Packed up the hotel and hit the road in a bout an hour: 7:00 AM. We were anxious to get on the highway and totally forgot to get gas; half tank would have to do. This was not a serious mistake, but we normally hit the road with a full tank. We made it to Barrowstow California; fortunately because gas was well over a dollar more per gallon through the Mohave Desert.

 

Our first stop was the Griffith Observatory. We didn’t have much of a plan for Los Angles, but the last time we were here it was constant storms, mudslides and low ceilings; I was sourly disappointed. We arrived to the Observatory to be greeted by huge crowds; the norm for Los Angles. We parked, took a couple pictures, had lunch and moved on.

 

The Observatory is 4 miles (7 KM) from the Hollywood Sign and we wanted to get closer. There is a hiking path up to the sign, but it seems to be a guarded secret as you have to park in the posh Hollywood hills; limited parking at best. Although we weren’t in the mood to climb the 1600 ft to the sign, we set the GPS to where we believed the path to starts. Most of the drive was normal, albeit dotted with “limited parking ahead” signs; once we got into the hills we understood why. The housing on the hill is accessible only by very small, one car roads. Not only are they narrow, but most residents do not have driveways, thus park on the road. Furthermore, the roads are switchbacks, curling their way up the hill, and at times had gut wrenching angles. Sign was worth it though.

 

We made our way down to Hollywood; Tim being Tim wanted free parking. After some in car entertainment and his insistence, he found it only 2 blocks away. We walked to Hollywood Blvd, checked out the sites and bought a shot glass. Funny thing, this is our second time here but the first time we had sticker shock after our time in Vegas. The souvenirs, and basically everything else, are twice the price. California is very expensive, about the same as Canada but in USA dollars.

 

If there is one other constant factor in LA its the traffic. Friday at 3pm is not the time to try to cross the city, not that I could recommend a better time. We slowly made our way to Beverly Hills, looked at the gates of a couple celebrity homes and decided it was stupid to “star gaze” at homes. Their houses are rightfully covered by either trees or huge concrete walls. Worst of all, no one invited us in.

 

We continued on to Santa Monica Pier. Last time we were their it was December, raining and largely deserted. Quite a contrast today, sunny warm and packed. The pier and beach area is beautiful, but the area is a serious cash grab. Buskers, gift stalls, tours; and, pricey restaurants are the only thing to expect on or near the pier; not our idea of a good time.

 

We pressed on to our last destination of the day; Venice beach. This chill area is home to hippies and surfers and had a totally different feeling. Although the smell of high end pot is intoxicating; it must be legit as there are medical marijuana 'clinics' all along the boardwalk. For $40, I'm sure the clinician can find something wrong with you that requires intense treatment, immediately! Conveniently for those in need, you can buy hundreds of varieties at dozens of shops. Don't worry about bringing a pipe; hundreds of those too.

 

Although not high, I was treated to some excellent New York Style pizza; almost at a New York price too. We both enjoyed the crispy crust, soft dough and greesy cheese.

 

Venice beach is full of hippies, skaters, and artists, but it is a very different experience. Nothing is very expensive, people are friendly and there is a very chill atmosphere. While not for everyone, I definitely recommend spending a couple hours here.

 

We checked into our retro 1970s hotel; all I can say is you get what you pay for and we were happy its clean – Kinda. Tim was excited to find a blue agave tequila on clearance at the pharmacy next door. I don't know my tequila prices, but the 750ml bottle, normally $20 here, was $5. Guess how long after he was asleep :-)

 

 

Tags: hollywood sign, route 66, santa monica pier, venice beach

 

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