Hello, hello! It has been a hot minute. Well rather a few minutes, I am not sure what has kept me away from here, life in general I suppose but I thought what is a better way to return to travel blogging than a big bumper photo diary of our return to Los Angeles and our road trip up and back down the West Coast of America, which we took all the way back in April this year. A few hundred miles, five overnight stops, living the LA dream, In and Out burgers, grilled turkey sandwiches, vast views of wide, rugged landscape, wine in Sonoma, moon rises in Big Sur, 50’s style motels and back to old America in Los Alamos, beaching in Santa Barbara, and did I mention In and Out burgers? Ten fun packed days of, well, the Pacific Dream!
So, we start at the beginning?
The main reason for the start of our trip was to celebrate my sister’s delayed by Covid 40th Birthday trip. Due to work, the date we were able to fly to meet them coincided with their trip to Disney World for my family. So we thought best to head to Downtown LA to The Hoxton, to sup on cocktails, defrost our cold English bones in the rays, have a dip in the roof top pool and crash in the most serene and calm room with the comfiest bed with a headboard to complete, ready to explore the area the next morning. We didn’t venture into DT on our last trip so it was fun to explore another area of LA. Whispers of old LA were definitely present, I loved all the beautiful historic buildings in the broadway theatre district, with theatres standing from the Vaudeville era, parts currently being redeveloped with all the art deco cinema signs being restored, it felt like being in the movies from the Golden Era. With the Broad a walk away, featuring works and installations by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and a visit to Grand Central Market, ( I think Wes’s favourite place of the whole trip) dating back to 1916 providing all the diverse foods of LA, DTLA was super hip and interesting base to start the holiday. After a fun 24 hours of DTLA, we picked up a car, drove to Venice Beach to meet the family.
We rented an Airbnb in Venice for the next 5 days, which was perfect for us to come and go and see all the sights of LA, some old favourites and some now new favourites. Luckily we landed in quite the heatwave for that time of year so, of course headed straight to the beaches. First stop to San Clemente, known as the Spanish Village by the sea, about an hour’s drive from Venice beach. We walked the beautiful long, palm tree lined sandy beaches, perused the shops and restaurants all with red tiles and stucco walls. This OC fan felt very happy strolling along the pier before moving on to and decamping on Laguna Beach for the afternoon. I have wanted to head to the surf capital of the 70’s for a long time, sunbathing, eating fries and drinking fresh lemonade with my little niece on the beach is a very happy memory. The ocean was an incredible blue, hugely inviting although the waves were a little too adventurous for this paddler, but it was the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs and settle into coastal California.
We spent the next four days pottering and shopping at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, walking around the Venice Canals, which I could happily do everyday, and in my dreams, buy a house and get a job there. Picked up breakfast at Gjusta Bakery and shopping for trinkets, doughnuts and ice cream from Salt & Straw on Abbot Kinney. We spent a Sunday down at the skate park at Venice Beach, which was nothing short of a delight, all the joy and disco feels possible from the fabulous roller skaters ! We hiked up to the Griffith Observatory, not sure I could go to LA and not visit, as well as back to the favourite 101 Coffee Shop, for pancakes and bacon, cheese toasties and lots of coffee, an absolute not to miss. Sitting on the Friends couch and in Sheldon’s spot at Warner Brothers was also a hugely particular highlight for sure….maybe the ultimate!
Alas, in all seriousness the actual ultimate was returning back to Venice Beach for sunset, on the last evening before all my family flew home. The light in LA is somehow different and the sunsets on Venice Beach are of the most spectacular, utterly magical. I am not sure if there is a non cliched way to describe, but however many sunsets I have been lucky enough to witness, the last moments of the light that evening and the chance to experience it at that time with the most important and special people to me, will stay with me for a very long time ….Well at least until we all return to Venice Beach in the not too distant future. .
More from California soon….Thank You for reading x