Wow! Driving in LA was intense! I thought most people would be chill as they mostly looked like super posh beach bums with their hair done and expensive looking clothes, but nope, their driving was super aggressive. We arrived at our AirBnB just in West Hollywood on a hill so steep that I questioned our SUV’s handbrake for the first time during our trip. Unfortunately, it turned out our accommodation was very messy and not clean at all, however it was quite affordable and the location was pretty great. We felt a bit stuck as we’d booked two nights and now had to share with ants in the bathroom but reminded ourselves that we would mostly be out sightseeing. On that note, we went to a Lebanese restaurant across the road before collapsing in bed.
The next morning we gave our blog some well needed attention and also joined Instagram to stay more “current”. I started forming a massive respect for professional bloggers, realising the travel and planning are the fun but oh-so tiring. I reminded myself that I’m not a pro (for now maybe, who knows what I wanna be when i grow up) and that the blog was more like a public diary. I tip my hat to you, fellow bloggers and Instagramers.
Our Airbnb was practically across the street from the Viper Room, a bar where River Phoenix died, so starting with that infamous nugget, we decided to walk along Sunset Boulevard from our place to the Walk of Fame, obviously stopping for some shopping and a drink along the way. On our way we spotted a $6 movie theatre and just had to take advantage of it as we love movies. We watched Absolute Fabulous, a movie based on a British TV series we like, but unfortunately the movie wasn’t that good (i guess it’s the notorious Mr Bean effect).
We strolled along Sunset Blvd and caught a glimpse of another famous place Chateau Marmont, and eventually reached the Walk of Fame. It was cool to spot the Stars of various celebs, and some of the street performers were quite amazing as well. The area is a bit shoddy, though – lots and lots of tourists and pickpockets mixed with local ‘entertainment’ providers of various kinds. Eventually we ended up at a large shoe shop; I think sometimes it’s nice to just do what you want rather than just follow a set plan, especially as sightseeing can get quite tiring. And who doesn’t like shoes??
Our favourite dinner in the States was sushi. We found that most places have a such restaurant and it just makes life easier, for now, to us as as pescatarians. We don’t eat red meat at all, and avoid milk products if at all possible. We found a sushi place around the corner from home and then we chilled for the evening.
LA is huge and widespread, hence we decided to stay for few more nights but at a different AirBnB near Beverly Hills. We’d planned to visit the Universal Studios the following day so we packed all our stuff to leave early in the morning. So excited for the day trip!!
Wow, Universal Studios was massive and totally awesome. The weather was sunny and hot – perfect!
Firstly we went to the Waterworld show – it was epic! They acted out a scene from the movie (which, by the way, I’ve never seen. Triin has, though), a whole performance with shooting, fireworks, a very fit actress zip lining everywhere, and even a small plane crash at the end. You get drenched with water, but in the hot weather we didn’t mind at all.
Then we walked around at The Simpsons section and went on the Studio Tour. The best bits were the ‘real’ Aeroplane wreckage used in the Tom Cruise movie War of the World (or something), driving past the real village from Jaws, the rain and flood effects ‘attacking’ our bus… the whole thing was interesting but very long. For lunch we had some extremely overpriced pizza, it literally hurt to eat it. Advice: Bring your own food and snacks.
Next stop – the Mummy Ride! To be honest, it was an error we even went to that because we thought we were in the line for the Jurassic Park ride. Anyway, after realising our mistake, we decided to stay. Why not? Well, never again. The Mummy Ride is basically a 5 second intense ride of high speed backward-forward flop (otherwise known as whiplash) whilst being attached by various mummy ghosts descending down from the ceiling and screeching at you. It was so quick that when you start screaming you are already done. Triin didn’t like it at all. Waiting in line was three times longer than the bloody ride! Next, we went on the Jurassic Park ride – that was great! We rode a boat through the dinosaur infested Park and ended it with a huge freefall down a river whilst being attacked by a Rex. We got soaked and it was so amazing! We both loved it so much, if it wasn’t for the long line, we would’ve gone again and again.
Back on the upper level, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to Moe’s Tavern for a pint of Duff. I think most people in there were feeling as geeky as us. After we went to the Special Effects show, where they showed you how they achieve different effects in the movies. They had a couple of stunt guys having a fight and set each other on fire, pretty cool stuff.
Then we moved on to the section which Triin had been looking forward to the whole day, The Walking Dead. She is a massive fan of the show and we ended up going through the attraction twice. It started with the hospital hallway scene as we walked through the empty body corridors where clearly something horrible had happened and at some point all these zombies tried to scare us. A very short girl with a stuffed toy decided to hold onto Triin for the rest of the experience after the first zombie scare, it was hilarious.
Then we went to the Harry Potter section, and though we aren’t massive fans, the park looked extremely impressive and we didn’t want to miss it. The buildings were really well made and the ride was intense to say the least. I’m not the biggest fan of rides and this one was very fast and scary. I’m just happy I didn’t throw up. Triin loved it so much she decided to actually read a Harry Potter book to see is it’s as good as the ride.
In the end, we both would highly recommend Universal Studios and still to try out all the rides, it’s an amazing day there. A few notes: the lines to every organised attraction are very long. We waited on average 30-45 minutes; You will need a whole day at the park; Food in the park is expensive and greasy. There are loads of places to eat outside the entrance tho.
After the excellent day at the Universal Studios, we made our way to our new Airbnb for the next 3 nights. The guy was quite quirky (read: odd as f) but in LA we weren’t really spoilt for choice travelling on a bit of a budget. Reading his ad we had gathered that he had many ‘house rules’, but we thought we were rather good house guests so it would be easy to abide by them.
We needed a permit to park, so the guy came outside to volunteer to help me park the car into the tightest spot ever. I love when men do that (not)! There were other parking spaces available but he seemed adamant that we should park *right there*. I think it was then that it dawned on us that we were in for an interesting time. He proceeded to show us a file with all the rules with the dos and don’ts and proceeded to talk at us for over an hour about his life etc.
The next day we went to Venice Beach and saw Muscle Beach where huge men lifted tourists over their heads. We decided to buy a body board because the waves looked so much fun. It was an absolute blast, we both thoroughly enjoyed and I loved that when I checked to see where Triin was that all I could see what blonde hair, a green body board and teeth – she was smiling so much. We spent the entire day in the water and stopping only occasionally for some water or food. In the evening we went to an awesome sushi place close by and then ended up at an Irish pub for some evening drinks before heading home. All and all a very good day.
The next day we headed off to the famous Beverly Hills (90210! sorry, couldn’t help myself). I really liked the vibe there plus it had numerous parking garages with 2 hours free parking. We walked through the streets of posh restaurants and designer wear shops. Found an amazing juice bar (how LA of us). I really missed my daily fresh smoothies so having this epic and refreshing watermelon, coconut water and mint juice blew my mind. Also we ended up having a rather nice conversation with the man working there who was from London and we exchanged stories for a while. Beverley Hills also had an amazing gallery with loads of Dali’s work which I’m a fan of. We couldn’t help ourselves and ended up doing some clothes shopping – it felt like Pretty Woman but in a good way. I was literally planted into a dressing room and brought tons of outfits to try on. I could get used to this!
So we enjoyed what would be our last night in LA by having a drink on a roof top bar at this hotel near our house and then ended up at the Irish pub again later, just to remind ourselves what normal prices looked like again. LA had been a great visit.
Next stop – Encinitas, CA!