Thursday, 29 September 2016

Life's A Beach...

In the words of Katy Perry... Nothing comes close to the Golden Coast... which is true, but not always in the way you'd imagine. I highlighted a little on my previous post about the homeless population of LA and quite upsettingly, we learned from the locals, that often the prudish residents of Beverley Hills send bus loads of homeless people away from their wealth filled streets to the likes of Venice Beach and when that was our first beach to visit, it came as quite a shock. 

My first step onto Californian sands and that distinctive smell of urine fills the air, trolleys loaded with their possessions, groups of homeless people huddle together amongst the graffitied walls.  Alongside the urine aroma, the smell of marijuana skips through the ocean breeze and I feel fairly disappointed in what I see (and smell). Call me a snob, but it was just so far from the image painted in my head. I do have to admit though, however disappointed I was, the quirks of the beach were fun to see, with a skate park on the waters edge and gym equipment for men with muscle to show off, it was far from any ordinary beach. 

Not too far down the road was the famous Santa Monica Pier; or as my mum likes to call it, Brighton Pier with attitude! Excitement filled me as we came across a giant ferris wheel overlooking the sea. Excitement was soon exchanged with regret and fear when I got on the ferris wheel and realised it was the worst idea in the world - I told you I hated water rides, so imagine being high above the sea in a rocking carriage (rocking made worse by my dad) - nightmare! I was glad to get off and stroll to the end of the pier, and relish in the fact this would be the end of Route 66, if you were to complete it, so at least I could say I had made it to one point of my dream journey. 

Unfortunately we'd already had what can only be described as the worst meal of the holiday on Venice Beach, but we ventured into Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. regardless and sat down just for a drink. I was pleasantly taking in all the atmosphere there, with photos and quotes from the movie, and then my mum decides to exclaim she'd never seen Forrest Gump and didn't understand the theme of the restaurant... I know, right! (Don't worry, we've purchased a copy of the movie for her to watch out here!) Our waitress was extremely lovely and turned out to be an actress who had featured in Pitch Perfect (annoyingly, her lines got cut from the movie, but still cool regardless), we purchased the souvenir glasses and then just like that Day One in California was over. 

 After our trips to Universal, the tour of Hollywood and a stop over at Yosemite, it was back to the beaches to finish off our trip to Cali. 

Ahh, so this is what Katy (Perry) was talking about... so much cleaner and more beautiful, with the condo filled streets, quirky restaurants and a much happier air about the place, Ventura beach completely fitted the image I had of the West Coast! We had a delicious meal in Duke's (blackened Salmon and a plate of veggies(!) to be exact!) and then strolled to the waters edge to dip our feet in. Admittedly, we weren't here for long, as we were all pretty tired from the long drive from Yosemite but I think we all regretted this decision after, as it was definitely the nicest of the beaches we'd seen.

Contrary to where it say's it's set in Newport, the Cohen's house featured in The OC was actually filmed in a house up on the hills of Malibu, we tried to get up there but unfortunately the road was private, which was a shame, as I would have loved a classic tourist selfie there! However, I did a little reading up and found out it was only the outside of the house filmed there, and the pool house was elsewhere and then they gave up and filmed in a studio anyway! But still, it would have been cool... 

We had wanted to stop off at Malibu beach but the traffic was building up and it was getting later, so we called it a day. 

Our last and final day was spent trying to waste time until our flight back to Florida at 9pm. We left the hotel (/the dump we stayed in the night previous - long story!) and ventured down to Redondo beach. Now, as I said, I had done a little bit of research about The OC's filming locations at this point (*side note, I loved this show back in the day, so as always I became a bit of a fan girl knowing I was in the State it was filmed in), it turns out the famous pier scene, which again, is meant to be in Newport, was actually filmed on the Redondo pier - you know the one... where Marissa and Ryan ride on the bike together and Seth trails behind on his skateboard... yeah that one! So walking on there definitely made up for the fact I didn't get to see the house. 

We ate in Old Tony's, more fish and more veggies (yay!) (by the way, having vegetables whilst eating out in America, is a big deal and very rare!) and then made our way to the sea's edge to check out the classic car show, that just so happened to be occurring on that day. 

By this time, it was so hot and so a milkshake was very much needed, so we left the beach and found ourselves in IHOP - I pretty much live in their whilst in America. I LOVE PANCAKES! By this time it was almost time to fly home, so off we went to LAX Airport, the week was over. 

There's one or two more posts I'd love to write about our trip to California, so if you've enjoyed them so far, keep your eyes peeled...

Until next time...

Lots of love, hugs, kisses & special wishes 
From Katy