/ travel

Day 20- around la

The alarm woke us up this morning at 8am. We had a long day ahead of us darting around LA, so got ready quick and set off in the car. We headed straight for Hollywood that was only a few mins away, on the way we had a diversion, there were lots of police & fire trucks and they had closed a block off with flares lit on the floor. We were on Hollywood Blvd so looked for parking and went to Hollywood & Highland as the parking was only $2. We walked up to a higher level of the shopping centre for views of the Hollywood sign where we got a couple of pics before heading down to Starbucks for breakfast. We then carried our coffees on to the street where we walked up and back down looking at the stars on the floor.

From Road Trip USA
Got lots of photos of them including Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson. We continued past the Kodak Theatre (home of the Oscars) and up to Grauman's Chinese Theatre. I put my hands in Marilyn Monroe's imprints and Jon in Arnie's among others.
From Road Trip USA
There was also a Star Wars one where r2d2's wheels were imprinted. We continued to look at the stars, Jon wanted to find Will Smith's but didn't manage to. We considered a Star Homes Tour, but our parking only lasted 2 hours before it would start to get really expensive, so went back to the car for a little drive around ourselves.

We headed for Sunset Boulevard, passing firstly by the Capitol Records building. On Sunset Blvd we drove by the Comedy Store, Johnny Depp's The Viper Room (where River Phoenix died), and Rainbow Bar & Grill. We drove in to Beverly Hills where the average house price is over $2.2million! Drove around looking at all the huge houses (well gates that lead to houses..) until we spotted a tour bus which we then sneekily followed for a bit. We took photos of the ones they took photos of but have no idea whose homes they were. At least one of them we knew was Elvis Presley's as there was a door on the gate with his name carved all over it. We came back out on to Sunset Blvd and turned off at Bel Air, but as soon as we turned we saw a huge gate to get in and Jon quickly made a u-turn, didn't wanna get stuck with security. We then decided to stop at the $1.3billion Getty Center, mainly because $1.3bn is a lot but also it's meant to have some pretty nice views up there. Admission was free but parking cost $15. We rode the tram up to the top and had a look around some galleries, saw Van Gogh's Irises, and went up to a view point. It was quite a clear day and so could see across to downtown and out to the Pacific. We were looking for lunch here but didn't find anything we fancied so just bought a drink. We had an iced coffee which was horrible, just coffee with ice in it that made us both feel ill.

Carried on down Sunset, stopping for gas, until we reached the coast. We drove to Santa Monica pier and parked at a lot that cost $8 for the day. The weather was lovely and sunny, so we set out to the beach and on to the pier.

From Road Trip USA
We bought some hotdogs and a cinnamon pretzel as we were so hungry by this point. We took some pics including one of a sign marking the end of route 66. Walked down to the beach where there were lots of people exercising on the outdoor equipment (rings, rope, etc). We followed the boardwalk to Venice Beach where the path started to fill with stalls, with lots of weird looking people about. There were hippies, people trying to sell their music, random acts (like a man standing on a ladder one legged holding 2 fake snakes shouting about corporate America) and people with big muscles. We then came to Muscle Beach which was a bit disappointing, all concrete and tired looking. The stuff at Santa Monica looked a lot better. Walked out on to the beach to have a sit down and watch the waves crash, was nice to have a rest. After about half an hour we went back to the car and there were quite a few cars in the lot waiting for spaces. A woman asked us if we were leaving so we said yes and offered them our ticket (as you pay for the space) for $5, which she seemed very pleased with so we only ended up paying $3 which was good.

Drove back towards the hostel, making a few stops along the way. Firstly we pulled off in to UCLA which was huge and we couldn't really find our way around (we were looking for their gift shop), so we left after only a few mins. I looked on the map for a shopping centre and spotted the Beverly Centre so decided to head there. We looked around but there wasn't any good deals in any of the shops so went to the apple store so we could have a go googling other places to go. We found another one close by - Century City, so thought we'd stop there before it closed at 8pm. We left to go to the car park but must've taken the wrong escalators. We didn't realise yet, so we paid for our ticket and attempted to find the car... We couldn't find it so were starting to panic as we knew we didn't have long till our ticket would expire. We then realised we went down different escalators than the ones we came up, so had to find our way back through the mall and after around 10mins of rushing around we found it. We arrived at Century City but again there wasn't any good sales so we just bought some socks as we had run out. It was just after 8 when we left, so we drove over to K-Mart which was a bit scary, and bought microwave pizzas and snacks.

We arrived back at the hostel and cooked our pizzas and drank beer whilst watching some movies and writing up the blog. Sad this'll be our last proper sleep in the US, but excited about tomorrow as we are going to Universal Studios Hollywood!!

S.