Hello from Santa Monica, Los Angeles!
This week has mostly been a relaxing week and it’s been wonderful. The weather has been perfect sun, with a nice breeze so it hasn’t been too hot like it was in New Orleans. We’re a few blocks away from an absolutely gorgeous beach that goes on for miles, and it’s even close to the main street full of cute restaurants and places to drink. This is a very, very nice place to be.
After taking the first day out as a beach day (after a year of travelling we’re pretty knackered. Sounds wrong I know but it really does take it out of you) we broke our rule of avoiding tour buses. Los Angeles is MASSIVE and it’s almost impossible to navigate without a car. Our amazing AirBnB host June recommended a tour which had consistent 5* reviews on Tripadvisor so we decided to give it a whirl, as it ticked off all the major sites in one day. And it did not disappoint!
It fortunately wasn’t a walking tour- we were driven from site to site and given info en route, then left for 30 minutes-1 hour to explore at each location. Absolutely perfect for 2 people who hate being paraded round as dumb tourists! We went to Venice, the home of muscle beach and where the bodybuilding movement was created by the amazing Arnold Schwarzenegger and co. We then got to go through Beverly Hills and to Rodeo Drive, where there was a classic car festival on for fathers day which I really enjoyed, and I think even Laura did! After going to a food market for lunch we then got to go to Hollywood to see the famous sign and walk the walk of starts. I think this was the most surprising part of the tour- it’s not a very good road! It has kebab shops on it for christ sake. Marilyn Monroe’s star is outside a McDonalds! Still, Laura was very pleased to find Colin Firth’s star, and we got to see Donald Trumps star a day before it got vandalised with a mute sign :).
The rest of our time has been spent eating, drinking, and relaxing in the sun. LA is very laid back, with seemingly everyone riding skateboards everywhere and spending all their time on the beach. There’s an awful lot of plastic surgery around and we’ve overheard some of the most fake, boring, inane conversation known to man. Conversely, there are also lots of friendly kind people, and there are still enough normal sized people around so that we didn’t pick up a complex (although we’ve both signed up to do the Manchester Half Marathon in October. Related?)
We’re now ploughing on to our last stop- San Francisco. I really can’t believe it’s almost over, and I also can’t believe that I have to do a presentation at a conference in 5 days. I’m woefully underprepared, but fingers crossed I’ll be able to pull it out the bag. I suspect Laura may get quite a lot of alone time in SF whilst I practice!