Our stay in Los Angeles started off in a way I will never forget. This had been the destination we had been most looking forward to. Benj being a musician and myself a journalist, we couldn’t wait to visit the glitz and glam of showbiz central and right from the get-go we were confronted with the larger-than-life ethos that LA residents seem to live by.
Again for this stop we had booked a room on Air BnB but this time we arrived to something we weren’t quite expecting. The house was not difficult to find as it was the brightest one on the block. We had arrived a few days before Halloween and underestimated just how seriously American’s felt about the holiday. The bungalow in Wilton Place, West Hollywood was draped in lit up orange pumpkins, spiderwebs and most decorations you could imagine. We had known before we arrived that one of the guys living there was a special effects make up artist for film however we weren’t expecting to walk in on one of his works in progress. Not one for gore, and having been squished into a bus for over 21 hours, I was not prepared to witness the transformation of man to zombie, bloody brains and all, right outside our bedroom! Delirious and not so hungry anymore, that evening I’m pretty sure we just passed out on the bed, recharging for a day of adventuring in the morning.
The next day we were woken up by birds chirping, the sun streaming in through the window and the heat already building. Finally we had caught up with the sun and it was fabulous! The only challenge now standing in my way was attempting to dress out of the suitcase that was a very small miss mash of mostly winter clothes with a sprinkling of summer wear. All dressed and ready to go, we headed out of the house in to an Uber (getting around LA is quite hard without a car as public transport isn’t that great. We used Uber as it was really cheap, especially if you use pool!). Our first stop was Hollywood Boulevard for the sight seeing tour we had booked using Groupon. We paid about €20 each for this tour and it was worth every penny!
Hollywood Tours.LA picks you up from their offices opposite the Ripley’s museum in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard and takes you around the city for two hours. This tour was perfect for us as we didn’t have a car and otherwise would’ve found it really difficult to travel up into the hills. The tour is mostly non-stop and brings you up into the hills to see the famous Hollywood sign, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard and then finishes up again where you started. Of course, they take you around to some celebs’ homes and we saw the properties of Quentin Tarantino, Jackie Chan, Bruno Mars and the house Michael Jackson infamously died in. The tour did stop in Beverly Hills by the famous sign to let you take some quick pics.
The good thing about the location of the tour drop off was that it meant you could walk along the stars straight after. In case you didn’t know, Hollywood Boulevard is home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the street with the celebrity recognition stars engraved in to the pavement. We spent the afternoon, wandering along the street, taking a look at the Dolby theatre where they hold the Oscars and stopping off to take in the hand and footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. We unknowingly chose the birthday of Carrie Fisher to visit the theatre and saw her brother, Todd, singing her Happy Birthday accompanied by storm troopers waving lightsabers in the air.
After a full day of being tourists in the 30 degree heat, we were in need of a refreshment so of course we found a cool little cocktail bar, Te’Kila, that was giving away frozen margaritas 2 for $10. We were soon discovering how much the U.S. loved Happy Hour and were learning how to take full advantage. Feeling satisfied we went in search of food and stumbled on Feast, a healthy fast food place at Hollywood and Vine. Finding healthy options on a budget was proving to be a challenge and after having reached our burgers and fast food maximum, a bowl of veggies and grilled meat for under $15 was a godsend!
Fed and watered it was time to go back to the house and plan out what was in store for the following day …