Los Angeles

I know it’s been ages since I have written, and its mainly because exams are getting in the way. But regardless, here it is. I went to LA in February 2015 as a birthday present from my dad. I’ve wanted to go there since I was about 11 after watching LA ink. This trip is one of the best things I have ever done, and it was great to have a week of bonding time with my dad. I wrote a list when I was out there about all the things I did, as I won’t be writing extensive paragraphs for each thing I will make a list, and if anyone stumbles upon this and has questions about any of them, you’re more than welcome to ask.

  1. Hollywood Boulevard
  2. Hollywood and Highland Center
  3. Hard Rock (hollywood blvd)
  4. Vip Tours of California
  5. Amoeba Records
  6. Guitar Center
  7. Wonderland Gallery/High Voltage Tattoo
  8. Venice Beach
  9. Sunset Strip
  10. San Diego
  11. Cheesecake Factory
  12. Mels Diner
  13. Wackos
  14. Palm Springs
  15. Griffith Observatory

Our flight was on 1st February and we arrived in LAX just as the sun was going down. We flew with Norwegian Airlines and they were a very pleasant airline, which always makes a long flight easier. Upon arriving we had booked a Super Shuttle bus that would take us to our hotel. The bus took around 40 minutes to arrive, and the journey was very long. After being sat down in a plane for the last 11 hours, and not sleeping the last thing I felt like doing was that journey. However the second part of that complaint is not their fault, LA is HUGE and it can take a while to get where you want to be. But I do wish they could work on their timing a bit. After being dropped off at our hotel we were greeted by a man at reception and sent to our room. We stayed at the Highland Gardens Hotel, where we were informed at the desk that it was the hotel Janis Joplin died in. The hotel it self was perfect for a city break, as we didn’t spend much time in it.  However it was the perfect place to rest your head after a day of exploring. The best thing about this hotel was the location. Cross the road, follow N Sycamore Avenue and you’ll be looking straight down Hollywood Boulevard. Oh, and a quick tip: If you’re in need of a bit of lunch and you’re in this area go to Buffalo Wild Wings and order some wings with BBQ and honey sauce and some Nachos, and don’t be afraid to try the flavoured lemonades! The Huckleberry one was my favourite, so refreshing if it has been a hot day- which in LA is often.

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Day 2 We had booked a tour, and although we were tired we thought this would be the best thing to do as we would be site seeing but sat down. The tour group we went with were called VIP Tours of California, and it was brilliant. We did the Grand Tour. They pick you up from a list of hotels, as ours wasn’t on that list we went to Hollywood Boulevard and got picked up from the Roosevelt. They then take you back to the base and assign you and roughly 10 others to a minibus and a driver. Our driver was called Jack, and he made the trip for us. He is a brilliant tour guide, lovely man and a real good laugh. I give the highest of praises to him, and he went out of his way for me and my Dad. On this tour we went everywhere. The exact list of places we went was: Hollywood, Manns Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre, Walk of Fame, Hollywood Sign, Beverly Hills, Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive, Farmers Market, Olvera Street, Music Centre, Chinatown, Marina Del Rey, Fishermans Village and Venice Beach (not in that specific order). They also took us to Universal City Walk as a group from our bus had booked a tour there, but we didn’t go in and it isn’t usually on the tour. This tour was where my dad and I discovered one of our favourite restaurants, Veggie Grill. Veggie Grill is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant opposite the farmers market, and it is amazing. Neither of us are vegetarians, but I had heard about this place online and everyone seems to rave about it. They weren’t wrong to. The food is amazing! If ever the opportunity arises for you to go give it a try as you will be in for a treat.

I feel like this next little story needs its own paragraph, as it is the reason why Jack is rated so highly in my mind. When getting off the tour bus at the end we said goodbye and went to go shopping. It was then I realised I had lost my purse. My dad and I tried so hard to try and find the company online with the help of an employee at the Roosevelt (sorry I don’t know his name, but he was so kind to help us). Finally we thought the best thing to do would be go back to our hotel and look on our emails and try to contact them this way. We then saw one of the companies tour buses. We quickly approached the driver and asked him if he could help us, without hesitation he called the base and asked where Jack was. After no more than 2 minutes Jack had called back and said he was on his way back to Hollywood with the purse. This really impressed me as he had gone completely out of his way to help someone he met briefly that day. So, this is a thank you Jack paragraph. Also a thank you VIP Tours of California, as you and your staff are amazing!

Day 3 We had figured out our surroundings, so we decided we would have a look around on foot (as we didn’t get the car until the 4th). A friend of my dad said we should try out Mel’s Diner, which is just off Hollywood blvd. On our way there we bumped into a man called The Ambassador, who although was there to promote tours was very nice and friendly. When we told him we were on our way to Mel’s he handed us a 10% off coupon, I took this a sign it was meant to be! Mel’s was lovely, and the waiters and waitresses were very friendly. We continued to walk around after breakfast and we visited Amoeba Records and Kat Von D’s wonderland gallery (which I had wanted to see for years). This day we didn’t do anything major, it was more of a “see how much of LA we could see by foot”.  The answer was not a lot.

Day 4 Was my 17th birthday, it was also the day we got the car. First thing we woke up and got a taxi to LAX where the car pick up place was. After waiting around and hour and filling out some forms we were told to walk out and pick any mustang we liked. Safe to say my Dad and I were ecstatic and we looked around each car debating which one to get. My eyes went straight to a all black 2015 convertible mustang, and we decided this would be the car. As it was my birthday my Dad wanted to do something special, as my dad and I drive around a lot together he thought it only fitting we did a road trip (this also allowed him to get used to driving on the other side of the road). We drove down to San Diego which is a trip I will remember forever. I had never thought of visiting San Diego as it was always clouded by my dream of LA. However we went, and I couldn’t be happier that we did. For lunch we went to the cheesecake factory, where we ate the biggest pieces of cheesecake I have ever come across. Then we trawled the sea front and looked at the shops near by. There was a tiny jewellery shop that overlooked the bay, we went inside and I looked around and so did my dad. He went completely out of his way and decided to buy me a necklace and earrings that I thought I had been inconspicuously  looking at- Guess I’m not as stealthy as I thought. I am so grateful to have such a kind Dad, this trip would of been nothing without him and I love him very much. As the day began to end we drove back into LA, had dinner and went to bed. The best birthday I have ever had.

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Day 5. Dad and I wondered around Hollywood boulevard, still in awe of the previous day. We were sat doing our morning routine in Mel’s when we get a call from a family friend who lives in Palm Springs. He and his partner had seen that we were in LA and asked if we would like to go and see Palm Springs. We jumped in the car and started our journey. It took about 2.5 hours to get there, and we stopped once on the way for a drink. If you are planning to do this trip I would advice to take large bottle of water with you as it gets very hot, and you can easily dehydrate. after we had arrived and had a god catch up with our friends, they took us thrift store shopping. Now of course, I as a 17 year old girl love a bit of shopping. Especially when I can get a good deal. I half expected a thrift shop to be the equivalent to a UK charity shop, but I was wrong. Imagine TK Max but every item of clothing is £2. I was in heaven, however it was my Dad who won deal of the day for snatching up a vintage 1950’s shirt for 50 cent. As evening began to descend we were taking to the Palm Springs Art Walk, which I believe happens every few evenings in the week. This was one of my favourite experiences as an art lover. It is incredible to see such talent folded out infant of you row after row. It was here I actually discovered one of my favourite artists- Kurtis Rykovich. If you haven’t seen his work, I highly recommend it. He draws portraits of wacky gothic style women in an almost cartoon manner, however they maintain a stylish sophistication to them. I will place a picture of his work below this paragraph. The rest of the day we spent with our friends, relaxing and laughing at their plans to build a full on Tikki bar in their garden.

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Day 6 Our last day. I was really sad to say good bye to Los Angeles, I had such an amazing time while there. It really is the City for everyone, you can find anything and everything- granted you may have to travel a bit. But I now understand why so many people want to move there, as I am now one of them. The only downside with LA is the pollution, it is shocking. I noticed this most on our ride back from Palm Springs in the morning. As we approached the city it was like a thick smog wall was surrounding it. At first I thought it was morning fog, but I then realised the fog wasn’t behind us. A few day after I got home I actually looked up a few facts about Los Angeles’ pollution problem as I wanted to see what was causing it. The most shocking fact i came across was that in this city there are 2 cars for every 1 person, and most people have one person in the car at time instead of carpooling. This is a massive problem, however it is unavoidable. Public transport in LA is rather terrible, as it is such a big city it is rare one mode of public transport will get you where you want to be. there for people feel they have no other choice. It is quite shocking, but I suppose with any city that large there will be environmental consequences.

Final thoughts:

I would 100% go back to LA, aforementioned it is the city for everyone. You have Universal for Kids, Thrift stores for the teens, an amazing choice in food (also excellent selection of restaurants for Vegetarians and Vegans) and so many sites for those who love to explore land marks. If it is first time visiting I recommend staying close to Hollywood Boulevard as you have access to all the tourist attractions from there. However if you want to further explore definitely rent a car from the beginning, as LA is way bigger than you anticipate. The only real bad thing I can say about the city is the pollution, as it sometimes would make it hard to breath and also would take away from the beauty of the city.

There we go, A travelling teenager approved site. Again if anyone reads this and has any questions feel free to comment and I will answer to the best of my abilities. See you on my next trip.

Robyn

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