Welcome to California, the Golden State!
What can one say from California that hasn’t been said? Home of Los Angeles, Hollywood, sunshine, palm trees, beaches, the Beach Boys, the Golden Gate Bridge, the longest pier in the West Coast, adoptive family to the Beat Generation and setting for many adventures, real and literary equally.
During both my previous stays in the States, I took the time to visit California on my own personal, crazy, unplanned, backpacking way. Flying to Los Angeles from Toronto (Canada). Getting in and out of LAX was an adventure on itself. Or landing in San Diego from Midland (TX) through the city. But those are other stories I’ll tell you another time. We are here to see everything else! Let’s start from the begining.
A day in Los Angeles
I have to admit that Los Angeles has never been one of those cities that called me. I was always curious but I could survive without it, too big and complicated. But since I was coming to California anyway, I decided to pay it a visit. Like all places, L.A. does have its charming bits, if you’re lucky enough to find a local to show you around. On my first visit I was on my own so ended up spending over 1,5hrs on a public bus just to get to Santa Monica, and I never even made it there. Not cool!
During my second visit, I was lucky enough that my friend A.J. was home for a few days. We met up, catch up, and with the help of her friend J.C., we took off to some wonderful places hidden (or not so much) within the busy streets of the city of Angels.
The first day we decided to start early. She picked me up from my temporary home, the Los Angeles Backpackers Paradis Hostel in Inglewood. It was a beautiful blue-skyed summer morning. We drove through West Hollywood and Santa Monica, then followed the traffic into the (in)famous Pacific Coast Highway. Trying to beat the insane traffic but failing. What should have been a 30 minute drive turned into an hour wait before we could finally reach our destination. But oh boy! was it worth the wait. We made our way to the Getty Villa at the top of Malibu.
We admired the wonderful views over the Pacific coast and were awed by the amazing art and artifacts,
strolled by fountains of clear blue waters and gardens hidden on top of a forested hill, perfect for wandering and meditating.
The perfect place for people watching. J. Paul Getty, founder of the villa and art lover, knew what he was doing.
The Getty Villa is one of the two locations of the Getty Center and Museum dedicated to the study of the art and culture of the ancient Greek and Roman empires.
Originally founded in a small gallery next to the oil magnate’s home. In a few years he had accumulated so much that he had to build what today is the Getty Villa down the road to be able to fit it all. He found inspiration for the construction on the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum.
The construction was completed in 1974 and since then a second complex, the Getty Center was developed nearby. Today, it is home to around 44.000 pieces of Greek, Roman and Etruscan art, and it is visited by more than 400.000 people every year.
After a very inspiring and relaxing morning, we decided to jump down the road to take a walk on the famous Santa Monica Pier.
before heading for dinner at a nearby dinner at the Santa Monica Boulevard. Followed by my first ever original Froyo and a walk through the canals in Venice to walk our dinner off.
Where we made some very friendly new feathered pals.
Despite our early start and long day, were still full of energy and ready for our next adventure: Hollywood. Because there’s no real trip to Los Angeles. without a visit to the Walk of Fame, Guinnes World Records Hall of Fame, and Kodak Theater! So we did our part as best we could while the moon rapidly apeared in the summer sky.
Of course I couldn’t leave Los Angeles without the corresponding silly pictures with giant Shrek, Marilyn, and Mickey Mouse. Oh!and and a stop by some Stars too.
Marilyn and I became besties in no time.
And Shrek…what can i say, we just hit it off straight away! despite my scary face.
The next day Zoertney and I waved Los Angeles goodbye from our Amtrak to San Diego, and wished we could stay longer, much much longer.