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Los Angeles in two days...

USA | Monday, 3 August 2015 | Views [342]

Exploring Los Angeles in just two days...

When visiting a new city, you are always listed with the must see's and do's in popular guide books. Every time I intend to visit a new destination, I never fail to buy The Lonely Planet Guide. 
But let's be honest, what you really want to know is where to view the Hollywood sign and take the best photograph, right? Read on...
Downtown LA
This cities truths are not what you see in the movies. LA is a region of America's richest and poorest. First I arrived in Downtown LA although anyone would think I had landed in Mexico. It looked somewhat similar Asia or India minus the population. Everyone speaks Spanish and everything looked a little run down. I checked into my hostel. As some of you may know, I manage a hostel in New Zealand. The standard is very different here. Despite the size of LA, it only houses 10 hostels. Apparently Americans don't like the idea. Needless to say, they are not the target market when running a hostel. Stay on The View in Mariachi Plaza (Gold Line Metro Station) is where I stayed for my first night in LA. The hostel had been open for about a month under new management. The staff there are lovely and with time it could really be transformed into a very nice hostel. They offered free wifi, warm showers and a clean environment.
The Wisdom Tree- Griffith Park
After recovering from jet lag, I wanted to do some exploring LA. I decided to google the top things to do and I stumbled across a very interesting post from modernhiker.com. He detailed a hike to 'The Wisdom Tree'. I had met a couple of people in the hostel and invited them to come on the adventure with me. All adventures are best shared with friends.
I would argue that this hike has the best view and is the less travelled trail in LA. High up on Cahuenga Peak, about a 15-minute walk west of the Hollywood sign, stands the lone pine tree. Under the tree sits a box filled with journals, where visitors write their thoughts, feelings and bad poetry.
I read in The Lonely Planet 'you can't leave California without hugging a tree'. So with that in mind, we gave the Wisdom Tree a great big hug.
To get to the start of the trail you must take the Metro Red Line from Union Station to Hollywood/Vine. When you are out of the station you should stay on the same side and turn left and make your way to the bus stop for Bus 222. Take this bus to Barham/Lake Hollywood Dr. Walk up Lake Hollywood drive until you reach Wonder View Drive where you start the trail.
This hike is very steep and there is no shade at all along the 1.5 mile hike up until you reach the top. I did this hike in converse as I hadn't packed with a view to hike. Although my converse served me well, I would recommend proper walking shoes/hiking footwear as many time on the way down I slipped. There were times when I thought I would not make it. You ascend almost all of the hike before you hit the first mile. Take plenty of water.
The Hollywood Sign represents the dreams of millions. It's a symbol. It is as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. It represents the movies. 
The best spot to take best photo of the sign is at the multistory mall by Hollywood & Highland metro station. Walk on up to the second level where you will see people standing on the platform.
The Hollywood walk of fame honors over 2000 celebrities with stars embedded into the sidewalk (path). I always imagined there was a designated area for these stars but as I got off the metro, I stumbled across them and I was surprised to see them on both sides of the path for miles.
The Chinese theatre houses the imprints of movie legends in cement on the floor.
This city is worlds apart from Downtown LA. This is how I imagined LA.... Modern and wealthy! I spent two nights here in the Sheraton Hotel. I haven't made a permanent swap from hostel life to hotel life (I wouldn't be able to do nearly as much traveling as I do staying in hotels) I was lucky to share the hotel with my friend Karen who is put up in the hotel by Virgin as part of her work trip.
Santa Monica
A playful and seedy city by the beach! Walk or bike along the sea front to Venice beach. A must do for visitors and locals. Stroll along the pier. Here you will find the last stop on the Route 66.
Getting around LA
Possibly one of the easiest and cheapest cities to get around. Get your tap card at the metro station for $1.00 and load it with a day pass for just $7.00 or a one way journey for $1.75. This pass is for trains and buses.
You can take the 733 from outside Culver City Metro Station (blue Line) all the way to Santa Monica Pier.  This is the quickest route. Alternatively you can catch the 733 from outside Union Station (Gold Line).
Peace and Love
Zoe xx

Tags: california, griffith park, hollywood, hollywood sign, hostels in la, la, los angeles, wanderlust, wisdom tree

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