After leaving Downtown, we drove south on our old friend; Highway 1. We passed Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Sunset Beach before reaching Newport Beach where we had lunch and a stroll along the beach. We then turned back north, and headed the same way back to LA and Venice Beach. It felt good to cover a new stretch of highway 1, after all we have covered almost all of it on this trip.
Our hotel was right by the beach and the classic Venice Beach boardwalk, and we found that the room was actually more of a small apartment, with a kitchen. We quickly checked in and went out to explore the area. As it was a very windy afternoon so we decided to walk through “inner” parts of Venice, and leave the beach to another day. Venice has a really cool and creative architecture and vibe, with a lot of different styles and sizes to the houses. There are small leafy alleys everywhere, with rows of little wooden houses with gorgeous gardens. There are a lot of surfers, as it is a beach town, but also all kinds of artsty types and various more or less weird people. Definitely a place where I could see us living… The restaurant and bar scene is also very alive, especially if you leave the beach and go some streets into the neighbourhoods. We had dinner at a place called Superba the first night, which definitely was one of the better food experiences of the entire trip.
The second day we had breakfast at a café by the beach and then went to rent bikes. We started by riding all the way down to Marina Del Rey (south of Venice) and had a look at all the nice, and very large, boats in the marina. On the way back we rode by the Venice canals, a very nice and quiet area a short way from the beach. We found out that they were actually built in the beginning of the 1900s as a Venice-style (the real, Italian Venice) theme park, which burned down in the 20s. Now it is a neighbourhood with a lot of cool houses with really beautiful gardens. As a fan of the TV show Californication it was cool to see some of the locations that often feature on the show, which were are all pretty close to the canals. We then continued along the beach, passing all of Venice, into Santa Monica, which is just north of Venice Beach. We had lunch at a cafe on the famous beach (after all, it is the beach from Baywatch) and then took a walk on the Santa Monica pier.
That afternoon, we got in the car and drove to the Getty Center. This is a large museum, located in a beautiful park with amazing panoramic views over Los Angeles, famous for its beautiful gardens and modernistic architecture. It is a truly fantastic place, and really a must-see if visiting LA. Even if you are not interested in the museums, it is worth going just for the gardens and views over the city.
Our third day in LA we had decided to focus on Hollywood. We started early by visiting the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, a beautiful place and unsurprisingly the place in the world where the most famous people are buried. After that we headed up to the Hollywood hills, all the way into Grifith Park, to try to get some photos of the famous Hollywood sign. It is not easy to get close, but after some (very short but very steep…) hiking, we at least managed to take some photos from afar.
Next item on the agenda was cruising in Beverly Hills, looking at all the beautiful houses. Pretty much looked liked it did in the old 1990s TV show with the same name, although we found out that Brandon’s house actually lies in Pasadena… Quite a disappointment. We also drove through Loz Feliz, which lies on the slopes of Grifith Park, where we got to see some fantastic houses with really cool architecture.
We finished our Hollywood sightseeing by a stroll along the Hollywood Boulevard, and the Walk of Fame. Madeleine found Michael Bolton’s star which probably made her day… After that we headed back to Venice, via the Sunset Strip. The rest of that day we spent chilling by the beach and having dinner at Venice Ale House which not only had a great beer selection but surprisingly good food as well. It actually became one of our favourites in Venice.
The next day was our last, and we spent the morning packing and preparing for the journey home. At noon we headed to the airport, returned our trusty rental car (“Nisse” the Nissan), and a truly fantastic road trip was over.