We left San Francisco on a wet, grey morning and arrived in sunny Los Angeles. We went to pick up our hire car and very nice it was to, but on further inspection we found it came with an extra. We found a large carving knife under the wipers......we asked them to remove it but could not help but wonder how it got there and why!
All now well with the car, we headed straight for Venice Beach to look at the weird and wonderful buildings and people, this really is La La Land. The beach was fantastic and the people watching second to none, we did have a great afternoon wandering along the beach front, watching those working out on muscle beach and the basketball players having a ball.
We continued north to Santa Monica and another great beach, along with a wooden pier complete with amusement arcade and the end of Route 66. We had detoured a little from the original path but we had found our way to the end of the Mother Road, fantastic. A little out of town we found a reasonably priced lovely pink hotel with a wonderful balcony just perfect for us to sit with a drink while watching the sunset.
We both really liked Santa Monica, it had a great vibe to it and felt safe and upbeat, but we wanted to see more of LA so the next day we started driving towards Hollywood along roads we had heard so much about, Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica Blvd and we stopped off in Rodeo Drive to have a look at the shops, the cars and the stars if we could find them.
We got lost a little, taking detours to look at the fantastic houses but eventually we arrived on Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd and we drove along the strip before wandering along the road watching the odd and weird characters dressed up as stars, it's amazing how many versions of Johnny Depp there are. We went to the Chinese Museum and looked at all the hand and foot prints in the cement outside, my favourites were the old stars but I must admit I also liked R2D2 and how many hands did Michael Jackson have??
We wanted to get up near to the Hollywood sign so we made a trip to the Griffith Observatory, nestled in the Hollywood Hills, which I recognised from the James Dean movie, Rebel without a Cause, it’s a lovely building with some great exhibits and the Planetarium Show was excellent. We lay back in our seats, looked up and were entertained with stories about the stars (this time in the night sky) and famous astronomers throughout the ages.
The views from the Observatory of Hollywood were amazing, the huge expanse of L.A. stretching out in all directions, it really is a big city. And we got to see the Hollywood sign in all its splendour. Afterwards we drove downtown to find somewhere to stay and were captured by the Figueroa Hotel a 1920 oasis with a mish mash style of Moroccan and Mexican that was fun, we decided to stay in style at $149 for our last night in the USA.
The next morning we packed our bags for our flight, wrote our last postcards from the States and went for a drive up to Malibu Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway, this time without the fog! It was a beautiful day and the coastline here is amazing, some great houses, however it was hard to get to the beach as all the houses own their bit of beach.
On our way to the airport we stopped off at our favourite place in LA, Santa Monica, had dinner and watched our last sunset, in this place of the weird and the wonderful. Our road trip through the States was at an end and what a fantastic country it is, we met some great people, saw some amazing sites. But at the end of the day the most overriding memory is of our drive through the American South West with the ever changing landscape of the desert and the high snow capped mountains, this is a land of extraordinary beauty and we marvelled at it through the 3000 miles of our US Highway adventure.