LA in a Day

Our final day of the camping trip and we're heading from the Big Sur coast all the way to Los Angeles and there's plenty to pack in once we get there!
We leave our camping spot nice and early to make sure we get lots of driving done in the morning. Our first destination and our stop for lunch is Santa Barbra.

We're dropped of at the beach to explore Santa Barbra's most visited landmark - Stearns Wharf. This really only kills a few minutes as we take in the views over the city and awkwardly mosey through the little shops along the pier with absolutely no intention to buy the very overpriced trinkets. The beach looks a lovely spot but its turning out to be an exceptionally hot day in Santa Barbra and really a place with very little shade isn't ideal.

Santa Barbra

Luckily this is only a lunch spot so soon we're off again and our next stop is LA. Now there are lots of things to see in LA but since this is our final day on the camping tour we're rather short on time so we make the best of it. Our driver now doubles up as tour guide as we enter Los Angeles and, eager to impress us with her knowledge, we embark on a city tour.

As we begin cruising the famous streets of Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and of course Beverly Hills I see lots of shops where someone famous buys clothes, a house where another person used to live and even some bars that celebrities own! I'll be honest this isn't really my thing and I didn't really know half of the people who were being mentioned or which house I was supposed to be looking at. The fun facts I do know is that I passed the hotel where Whitney Houston died, the house that Michael Jackson died in and that nightclub owned by Johnny Depp....you know the one River Phoenix died in. Cheery stuff eh..

After our street tour we head on up to the most famous landmark in LA, it's the Hollywood sign....from really, really far away.

Hollywood Sign...somewhere in the distance

Our viewpoint is just crazy busy, horrendously packed with tourists and actually not a great spot. I'm sure there must be better locations but perhaps this was just our nearest one. No time to linger on our whistle stop tour though and onward we go to our next top attraction.

With 30mins to explore its back to Hollywood Boulevard and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Apparently, the feature encompasses more than 2500 stars from a whole range of entertainment genres. I have no idea how many I walked over in my half hour but I know there were some odd combinations - Orlando Bloom next to Bruce Lee? I wonder if they reshuffle them every so many years to keep the names randomised. I did however, find the most important star on the walk....

Bugs Bunny's star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Just off of the Walk of Fame is the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, whose forecourt contains the famous handprints, footprints, and autographs of Hollywood celebrities in concrete. It was quite a busy spot as I'm sure you can imagine but I did manage to get a few snaps and even found Marilyn Monroe's who seems to have had rather large hands in comparison to mine. I found out later that Trigger (as in Roy Rogers and Trigger) also has a hoofprint here but I didn't manage to spot it during my quick stop off.

Marilyn Monroe's handprint

Our final stop in LA, and indeed of the tour before we're dropped off for the evening, is the most hip and happening place in the city; Venice Beach.  Now I thought I'd check how Venice Beach or Venice Boardwalk was advertised to tourists and I found this interesting entry on the Lonely Planet website:
"It’s a freak show, a human zoo and a wacky carnival alive with hoola-hoop magicians, old-timey jazz combos, solo distorted garage rockers and artists (good and bad) – as far as LA experiences go, it’s a must."
I think I pretty much agree with that only I'd maybe add in that there is a large homeless population as well. Plenty of tacky clothes shops all selling the exact same thing and no rollerblading girls in bikinis to be seen. American TV you have lied to me...

Does a skateboarder count... at Venice Beach
And with that my "camping tour" was over. Our final drive is back into downtown LA where I have a hostel booked for the evening and a flight out to New York in the morning. We all say our goodbyes and our driver waits, hand out for her tip... its definitely been an interesting two weeks.

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