Los Angeles, The City of Angels, was our last proper stop in this American Adventure and we arrived to gloomy rain. Felt just like England, the streets were quiet and we booked a Super Shuttle from the airport to our hotel: Knotts Berry Farm Hotel. We arrived in the afternoon and the staff at the hotel were helpful. Our room was really nice, spacious with huge beds and a good sized TV. We were really cold in our room so we put the heater on as well, after we figured out how to use it, which warmed the room up nicely. Everything was clean and neat, so impressed with the hotels on this trip.
KNOTTS BERRY FARM HOTEL
There were leaflets with different tours and unfortunately we were too late to go to the Universal Studios tour on our first day. Which I really wanted to do (cost: $145 including transport and ticket to studios), we did sign up for the sightseeing tour for the next day which starts at 9am and takes us all over LA hitting all the stops that I am most interested in, including Santa Monica pier, Beverly Hills, the Dolby Theatre and Hollywood Walk of Fame etc. That cost $65 each and was the best deal we could find, we even looked online as well. Both knackered, we chilled out at the hotel. Unfortunately, the only downside to our room was that we couldn't figure out how to work the shower. I can't definitively say that it was broken because we didn't ask someone to check, but we both tried figuring it out but no matter what we did no water would spray from the shower head. Water was released from the taps though, so we just washed that way and it was fine as we were only there for 2 nights.
So the first day because it was pouring rain we didn't do much. At around 8pm we got hungry and I really wanted to go to IHOP (I have to fight the urge to spell it iHop, damn you Apple you're taking over the world) because I had seen it in movies and read about it in books. It stands for International House of Pancakes, so obviously we had to go. It took us forever to decide what to eat. There is so much time, so much more than just pancakes and so affordable. I want to live there. I ordered a hot chocolate while we figured out what we wanted to eat and it is one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had in my life. It is so good, to the point where this is one of the happiest memories of America that I have. If you have the chance go to IHOP guys, you will not regret it. Heaven.
So my sister ordered the breakfast pancake deal (even though it was 8pm, they do 24 hour breakfast!) and had raspberry and white chocolate pancakes. I tried some, they were delicious. I had the Chicken Florentine which was also tasty af. Why do we not have an IHOP in the UK? Sephora and IHOP need to be in England ASAP because it just isn't fair. As it was raining we had to order a taxi back to our hotel and then after watching a little TV we both fell asleep at 10pm, we must have been so tired and then we woke at 5am and slowly started to get ready for our tour.
SISTER ACT CHURCH
So instead of a coach we got into a minivan and drove around, the tour guide drove us towards East LA which is a low income area and you can really see the difference. The houses were in bad shape, small, everything was cluttered and just kind of hopeless. He wanted to highlight the difference between the well off neighbourhoods and the poorer neighbourhoods and I really appreciated being shown both sides of LA. On the way to the other side of LA we got some great views of downtown LA and passed the church where Sister Act was filmed as you can see above. Great film.
ELVIS PRESLEY'S CADILLAC
The first proper stop was near the Dolby Theatre, here we could get a good view of the famous Hollywood sign (apparently put there for the sole purpose of real estate and increasing house prices), the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the famous Dolby Theatre where the Oscars are held and you can also see Elvis Presley's actual genuine real baby blue Cadillac car which was pretty cool.
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Superman. Well, sort of. I took this amazing picture and I am really proud of it. Can you tell? Of course there are people dressed as superheroes and I took a sneaky photo without paying for it because I'm cheap.
Next was Rodeo Drive, the same place Julia Roberts shops in Pretty Woman. Although, we didn't shop here we got to see some real fancy cars like the black and yellow Bugatti you see below.
Beverly Hills was interesting, I saw Jim Carey's and Danny DeVito's homes. For some reason, the houses look smaller in the US. I think it is just from the outside but I wasn't bowled over by its opulence. It looked like suburbia to me although I am sure the prices of this homes would make me spit coffee, and I don't even drink coffee. I think I have just realised that this kind of stuff doesn't interest me, looking at large houses that belong to famous people seems like a waste of time. Unfortunately, we didn't see anyone famous just getting into their cars or anything and that's a shame but overall I am glad we didn't spend long in Beverly Hills as although it is lovely and feels very affluent it wasn't all that fascinating. Did you know that if you want to buy property in Beverly Hills you have to enquire via an estate agent's and only after they have done a financial background check and proved you've got the coins will they then let you know what properties are available? There are no For Sale signs in Beverly Hills and hardly any police patrol cars because the area is so well monitored by CCTV. Security is really tight there so it is quite safe and most home owners have their own personal security i.e. cameras, gates and body guards.
A stop I more than enjoyed was The Grove and the Farmer's Market. This was our lunch stop but unfortunately we couldn't find a restaurant we liked and got confused as to where everything was. We suck. Nevertheless, we stepped into Neiman Marcus for the first time ever and spent a ridiculous amount of time trying on sunglasses we can't afford and admiring other shops. Really nice place.
SANTA MONICA PIER
Santa Monica Pier was a delight, in spite of the grey skies it still managed to be charming and beautiful. None of the rides are hold-your-hat-rollercoasters but we went on one and thoroughly enjoyed it. I imagine this place is crammed in the summer so it was nice to be there when it was not as busy. We watched other pier dwellers on their version of the bumper cars and that was quite funny. There is an arcade with all the usual seaside necessities as well like the Air Hockey and basketball games. We could have easily spent an afternoon here.
Last was Venice Beach our final stop. I remember seeing a scene in Venice Beach on The Hills and wanting to go so badly. The day had brightened up a little by this time and it was lovely seeing everyone skating, roller blading and just having a good time. It was still chilly but we walked up to the water and then went to a bar to get a drink before returning to the minivan which would take us back to our hotels. All in all, a very productive day and I am so glad we got to see as much as we did even though we really only had one full day here. Venice Beach is also known as the Muscle Beach and it is where Arnold Schwarzenegger was "discovered", also called Baywatch Beach.
When we got back to the hotel we were so tired that we decided to just relax until we got hungry. Instead of going out we ate dinner at our hotel restaurant, Amber Waves, on our first day they gave us a 20% off coupon and I had pasta while my sister ordered 2 appetisers which were both massive. She couldn't finish either of them, their portions are massive and the food was quite good. I wish we had gone back to IHOP because just writing this post ignites this powerful craving for their hot chocolate. LA was a blast and I plan to come back when it is sunnier.
Woo, we made it. That is the end of our US trip. I have a beauty haul up for you next. Might post it tomorrow depending on how much time I have. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and sticking with me through this. I really appreciate it. This was such an incredible experience and everyone we met in the US was kind and gracious which wasn't what I expected at all if I am honest. Definitely want to go back. Please leave a comment for any future posts you would like to see, I always appreciate and listen to your feedback and sincerely want to write the posts you want to read. I do enjoy talking to you guys so if you have any burning questions or requests feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' if you aren't already, it means a lot and is the easiest way to stay up to date with my posts. Thank you. Take care.
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