Everyone has their own expectations of LA, me included, just like we do with most tourist destinations, this place in particular due to what all the media make it out to be. We all see it differently. But, this is one of those places you have to actually go and see for yourself to get a real idea of what it is like because it isn’t like they make it out to be in the movies. Truthfully, parts of it will be like you imagine, all the tourists, the heat and the fitness freaks drinking smoothies and jogging around until they’re the same colour as the drink, but some parts may actually surprise you.
I always knew LA was big (in size and a big deal in showbiz) but it’s not until you get there that you realise the sheer scale of it. Unlike many cities, all of the sights and attractions are in different areas and districts, this can be a good thing and a bad thing; on the one hand it gives you a reason to go and see more but on the other hand it takes forever to get from one place to the next.
There were a few things on my bucket list I wanted to tick off here (just like many people I expect). One thing near the top of the list was to see the Hollywood Sign, I decided to take this to the next level and took a hike to the top and sat above it. The only problem with this (which I only realised once it was too late and I always already half way up) is that it was the middle of summer so by the time I’d done it I must have lost my body weight in sweat. There was no shade at all, just the constant feeling of the suns rays slowly turning your skin into the colour of a lobster. I felt bad for the horses that had to carry people up there (horseback is another option if you don’t fancy the trek). Despite the sticky mess I was in, it was definitely worth doing and I’m so glad I did it. From the top you get a spectacular view of the city and it’s actually very quiet up there, not may people tend to do it so it also gives you the chance to say what the majority of people can’t and make them envious; “I sat on top of the Hollywood Sign” (just miss out the part where you softly cry to yourself as you have to crawl your way back down).
I knew the sign would be protected (because let’s face it there are some buffoons out there that would try to climb on it or even try to steal a letter) but being that close to all the security I underestimated how well it is actually protected. You wouldn’t stand a chance.
The following day I also got chance to get a view of the sign from a viewpoint in front of it. What really surprised me was there is no straight main road or direct route to get there, it’s all windy roads through estates (I won’t lie most of the houses were astonishing and I don’t expect to live there unless I win the lottery).
Another thing I wanted to do was the Walk of Fame; now, one thing I wasn’t expecting here was for it to be as big/long as it is! One thing I would say is if you’re looking for one celebrity’s star in particular, good luck finding it! It’s not all down the one insanely long road, it also flows onto several side roads that come off of it. There were a lot of names that I hadn’t heard of before but I did manage to find some of the ones I was hoping to see out of sheer luck. You’ve just got to walk that walk and take it all in.
Also, the Chinese Mandarin Theatre where the forecourt is home to the footprints, handprints and signatures of some of the biggest stars since the 1920’s. Again if there is one stars prints in particular you wish to find, make sure you allow yourself a good chunk of time to find it but it is definitely worth a visit. I was lucky enough to be there when there was a new star being put down, even though I have no idea who’s it was as we didn’t have enough time to hang around and find out. It’s great how you know where all of the ‘Big celeb’s’ stars are as there is usually a crowd of people gathering trying to get a picture of them with it (or even kissing it on the odd occasion) whereas the less well known stars are usually in a less clear place.
The 3rd highlight of my time in LA was Venice Beach; I had high expectations of this because of everything people make it out to be like. We arrived early in the morning so at this point it wasn’t too crowded but by the time we were leaving we did manage to get a proper experience of it. I discovered what seemed to be several areas on the beach and there would be an area for each person depending on your personality/traits; part was filled with families, kids running around and playing games, another part was full of the surfers, the paths along the top were full of the typical beach shops, ice cream shacks and cafes serving the late risers trying to scoff as much breakfast as they could manage with street artists out in force and entertainers keeping everyone’s spirits high and finally there was the sporty area full of all the fitness fanatics on the gym and playing volleyball. It was amazing how it all naturally divided. It you want a peaceful trip to the beach I would recommend going early in the morning, but if you don’t mind the hustle and bustle, later in the day has a much better atmosphere.
My advice for LA;
1. Don’t try to make an ice cream last longer than two minutes, it will be in a puddle on the floor much before then.
2. Celebrities are much harder to see than you would think, they aren’t everywhere like you’re made to believe so put the paparazzi camera away.
3. If you’re hoping to see a cop munching on a doughnut like the typical stereotype is made out to be, just go to the nearest coffee shop.
4. Although everyone seems to drink them, the smoothies and ‘health juices’ are a rip off and nowhere near as nice as you would hope them to be so don’t get sucked into that craze.
There is so much of this magnificent city to be seen and I have nowhere near visited all the attractions I want to see so I will definitely be heading back here in the future.