Santa Monica and Newport Beach
15.05.2007 - 19.05.2007 20 °C
So we'd finally reached the sea and the road trip was over. Felt a bit weird not looking at which town we should head for and where we should stop for lunch - a bit like our focus had gone. But after we arrived in Santa Monica we went for a walk on the beach and started to plan a few days here. Our first full day (Wednesday) we went to Universal Studios, did the backlot tour (a load of TV and film sets, old and new, including the Bates' Motel and Wisteria Lane) and a few rides. Quite enjoyed the House of Horrors, which is basically walking along a path through classic horror scenes (pushing past hanging body parts, anyone?) while real-life actors hid in the shadows and leapt out at you. A bit jumpy, though very funny when the group in front collapse in fear as a werewolf lunges at their feet. The human butcher wasn't too pleasant though.
After such fun we spent the evening watching a film (Blades of Glory, quite funny).
Thursday we did a bit of laundry and walking around the local area. Is nice, lots of little boutiques and stuff, all low level buildings and a mixture of residential and business.
On Friday morning we got a bus tour of LA, seeing the 'homes of the stars' in Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Hollywood. We also saw Rodeo Drive, Sunset Blvd and the Walk of Fame - pretty much covering the tourist basics! In the afternoon we made immensely painful progress across town to Disneyland - Immensely painful because it was Friday afternoon and LA is a city the size of a County. The urban sprawl really is unbelievable. You can literally drive at motorway speeds along four lane freeways for over an hour and still be in the same cityscape. In this way LA is kinda clostrauphobic, 'cause you just can't get out!
Anyway, Disneyland was magical - obviously. We arrived early evening and stayed till midnight, going on rides and watching the fireworks (lots of 'oohs'). For our Florida gang -the castle here is tiny (the whole park is really). And our scores on Buzz Lightyear were still rubbish!
Today (Saturday) we checked out of the Sea Shore Motel and drove south, firstly to Venice Beach for a quick wander, then further to Newport Beach, in Orange County (OC).
We spent the afternoon her having lunch and a little boat trip around the harbour. The place is very rich! Afterwards we set off North again to start our trip to San Francisco, but made it only as far as downtown LA (told you the place is huge!) So we spend our Saturday night in 'Historic Philipinotown'. Livin' the dream.
Tomorrow we hit Highway 1, following the coastline up to the City by the Bay.
Bye for now!
Love to all
Dave and Sarah XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX