Hi everyone !
Continuing my American adventures, today I’m taking you to the mythical city of Los Angeles, so get excited ! I have to confess first that I have always been told that San Francisco was much better than LA, which was a bit disappointing considering what we all see on TV. And indeed, I completely agree with this. However, my friends and I did not spent too much time in downtown LA and also spent part of our trip in the mountains, which made the weekend really rich in experiences. So let’s get into it !
Day 1. Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the Grove
After a (really) early start (we were on the road by 6am), and a 5 hour drive, we decided to check out first the iconic Hollywood sign. Because of our pretty busy program, we decided to drive just in front of the sign instead of doing the hike until we reached it. In addition, I found this much better since we were actually able to see the sign rather than observing the view from it. So we stayed there for a while, to take pictures and enjoy the landscape.
Time to go, we were getting hungry ! Fortunately, I had found the existence of a vegan fast food called Veggie Grill where we benefitted from a $8 discount if we downloaded the app – which we did. I personally ordered the crispy chick’n burger (crispy chicken made from textured soy, onion, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, spicy mayo) and added a slice of chao cheese, with fries. It was delicious, and the portion was really satisfying. Just judge for yourself.
Our bellies full, we stopped at a records and book shops and then headed to the famous Hollywood Boulevard. Honestly, I was told not to expect too much, and fortunately I did not. Seeing the stars on the floor was fun for a time, but then it gets kind of boring. In addition, there are so many other tourists, and people selling all sorts of stuff on the street that it becomes easily crowded and annoying.
We quickly ran off and took the care to circle around the beautiful houses of Beverly Hills. It was more to check out the villas than to see celebrities’ houses to be honest ; we had not idea of who was living where. But it was kind of cool to check out the enormous houses (and expensive cars!), it was like we were in a movie !
Time to drop our stuff at our Airbnb for the night : it was located near Beverly Hills, at the 12th and last floor of a building within a gated community. It was pretty basic, but the view was amazing !
After relaxing for a while, we headed out again to the Grove, an open air supermarket. It was a truly amazing place, looking like a mix between Vegas and Disneyland. It was clean, with expensive shops, little twinkle lights on the trees, fountains and outside live music. We had a bite at the farmer’s market where there was a rock concert – pretty cool uh ?
Day 2. All about the beach : Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu
Time to wake up and get ready for our second day in LA ! It was such a beautiful day, and we were kind of tired of being downtown around buildings that we drove to Venice. I thought there only was the beach to see there, but it turns out there is a lovely residential quarter to visit. All the houses are amazing, even more beautiful than the ones in Beverly Hills in my opinion, so that is something. They are all disposed around a canal, with little bridges to cross it, and the beach is 5 minutes away, which was our next stop.
Once on Venice beach, we basically just walked around the big street with all the shops. Even though they were all selling the same things, the atmosphere was really cool – it did not feel like the US, more like an island country. there was live music in the street, and people everywhere. Of course, there also was a lot of places to eat, so we each bought something and ate it on the beach. I had a falafel wrap with a green fruit and veggie smoothie, it was delicious !
But again, time to continue our trip. A bit tired by the huge amount of people and tourists there, we just drove by Santa Monica to see the pier but we did not stop. We continued to drive until Malibu where we spent around 1h30 on the beach, just chilling while one of my friends managed to borrow a surfboard and test the waves.
The weather was perfect, and the water was not even that cold (but again, I just put my feet in it because I did not have my bathing suit… so sad, I know).
This concludes our Saturday. Afterwards, we headed to our second Airbnb in the mountains, which is the occasion to write another article about this other place, and our hike in the Los Padres National Forest, with our lunch at the top of Mount Pinos