11.07.2012 - 15.07.2012 25 °C
After a scenic drive into LA through Malibu and Santa Monica, we checked into the same hostel we stayed in before. This time we paid a bit extra to have own own room with ensuite which was pretty nice - we even had a fridge and microwave!
The only thing we wanted to fit in today was to go to the Griffith Observatory up in the Hollywood hills.
Most of the exhibitions were free but you had to pay for the planetarium. Stephen convinced me to do this, but it was all a bit weird and Lord of Rings themed! The rest of the observatory was good though, they had a seismometer that had three levels of accuracy: one that picked up vibrations from inside the room only (so you could 'create your own earthquake'), one that picked up activity in LA only, and one that picked up any earthquakes in western California. On the wall they had the output from when the earthquake in Japan hit last year, it was so big it even made the western California section of the seismometer go crazy!
Was this the entrance to the observatory or was it not?!
In the evening we went to a restaurant called Tart for dinner. You got so much food for $16 and it had a really nice outdoor courtyard, so it was a good find. Unfortunately, the bar we went to afterwards wasn't so great as it was really pretentious and the cider I ordered was $10 and disgusting!
Today we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park, where they have the fastest, longest, tallest (etc.) roller coasters in the world. We splashed out and bought the best 'flash pass' which would cut our queueing time by 90% and let us stay on each ride for another go after we'd queued once. We thought this would be great, but the park wasn't actually that busy and the rides were so fast and loopy that we both ended up feeling sick and with massive headaches so needed quite a long rest between each one. We're obviously getting old! We did go on pretty much everything though, including the world's first standing up roller coaster, and had a really fun day overall
We had quite a relaxed day today and we didn't have much left that we wanted to do in LA. We drove to Beverley Hills and walked along Rodeo Drive trying to celebrity spot, but unfortunately we didn't see anyone we recognised. We got a cupcake from the bakery that (apparently) started the whole cupcake trend. It was delicious and they even had a 'Cupcake ATM' outside that dispensed cakes out of a little door!
Being cool on Rodeo Drive
The best thing ever - a cupcake ATM!
After having pho for lunch at a place called 9021Pho (get it?) we killed some time by going into a Warner Bros exhibition. It was pretty good and they had costumes and props from loads of shows including The OC, Friends, The Big Bang Theory and True Blood. They even had some of the sofas from Central Perk in Friends and you were actually allowed to sit on them (unlike at the actual set at Warner Bros Studios).
Enjoying my coffee in Central Perk
On the way back to our hostel we took a drive up into the residential area of Beverley Hills to have a nose at the seriously posh houses and cars, then popped into Whole Foods to buy some delicious chorizo sausages for dinner.
Earlier in the day we'd signed up for the hostel's Friday night out which included a limo ride to a club in Hollywood, entrance to the club and then a limo ride home afterwards. There was a party in the courtyard of the hostel beforehand where beer was free (always a good thing!), so we hung out there until it was time to go to the club. They squeezed so many people into the Hummer limo but it was so much fun!
Our ride to the club
The club was pretty awesome; it had a courtyard with ponds, fireplaces and cabanas and then lots of rooms inside with comfy seats and a big room with a dance floor and stage above the bar at the front. There was even this lovely lady giving out chocolate dipped strawberries:
When we got home from the club at 3am we went to Canter's 24 hour deli and had the most delicious food! A huge pastrami sandwich for Stephen, and pastrami and coleslaw in a cheese and jalapeño bagle for me.
Stephens humongous sandwich!
After a much needed lie in, we jumped in the car and headed for Venice Beach. It was so busy as it was a Saturday but I think that made it all the more interesting. The day started pretty cloudy and windy so we just walked up and down the beach and watched the skateboarders in the awesome skate park. There's loads of weirdos on Venice Beach and it's generally a pretty strange place, but it's definitely entertaining! Later on the in the afternoon the cloud broke up and it was lovely and sunny so we just sat on the beach and enjoyed the nice weather
The skate park at Venice Beach
We ended up going to Tart again for dinner as it was just so delicious and then walked around The Grove outdoor shopping centre and The Farmer's Market (both of these were right by our hostel). There was a stall at the Farmer's Market that sold so many different types of hot sauce, some of them even said on them that they weren't really a sauce and I think they would pretty much kill you they were so hot! The Grove had a band playing at the band stand (it was Sean Kingston the night before so bit gutted we missed that!) so we stood and watched that for a while before heading back to the hostel for a good nights sleep before our trip down to San Diego the following day.