Los Angeles, the Golden Coast

With a shiny new set of brakes and hopefully our car troubles behind us for now it was time to head into LA. We had both previously read & heard about driving in the city, with infamous roads and 6 lane highways backed up for miles. All the heresay is definitely true. It’s not just the crowds but the attitudes of people driving around here. Maybe we’re being too British about it but for future reference, we’d definitely recommend utilising the park and rides around LA!

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A 6 lane highway!

We wanted to hike to the iconic Hollywood sign on our first day in town. Annie had done some research on how to hike there and found some pretty interesting stuff. Basically the neighbourhood were the sign is based are sick and tired of tourists driving through their very windy & skinny roads. In an effort to prevent this, there are signs plastered all over; No Access to Hollywood Sign. Most of these are actually a lie, as it’s the clear access to the sign – but we can appreciate their frustrations. We also spotted numerous tickets for improperly parked vehicles, so we decided we wouldn’t risk it and parked a little further away to walk through the streets to the base of the hike.

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Where we parked

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Signs trying to deter people away

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Trying to make the sign difficult to access

From where we parked there was a decent view of the sign. We then walked for about a mile through windy streets to get to the base of the hike up, although even that was behind ominous looking walls and fences. This gave the main viewpoint of the sign and was fairly crowded. We decided to hike another couple of miles up to behind the sign as we were there with not a huge number of plans for the rest of the day anyway. The views at the top were brilliant over LA, & we also got great views of passing small planes and helicopters! We still couldn’t see the coast though, so headed towards Venice beach.

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In front of the sign

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Behind the sign

Driving to the beach was one of the major mistakes of our time in LA. We spent 2 hours in stop start traffic desperately searching for a place to park. We eventually prevailed – both being too stubborn to pay the $10 for a day of parking and found a quiet street only 10 minutes walk from the beach. From there we had a look at Santa Monica pier, and got a chance to have a look at the beach. Granted, it was stunningly beautiful however by the time you’re at the sea the water is on the dirty side and the sand slightly less golden! We also took in the famous muscle beach but didn’t quite take part…

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A very busy Venice beach

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Santa Monica Pier

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The original Muscle beach

We found a quiet street in what felt like a safe neighbourhood for the evening, quietly reheated some dinner and got a good nights sleep. The next day we wanted to walk to Venice beach, about an hour walk away. We got up early and headed to the beach where Mikey took a run down the iconic coastline. Venice reminded us of Brixton in a lot of ways, an area which seemed to have been recently gentrified with lots of quirky characters and interesting art displays. Definitely a great place to people watch! Complete with a skate park and a new muscle beach, we opted to cycle back to get a nicer view of it all.

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Venice beach was full of street art

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Skate park on the beach

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We got bikes down the beach front

In the evening we had Annie’s birthday present to go to – an imagine dragons concert in Inglewood. Keeping our frugality we parked a 30 min walk away to avoid the $25 parking fee and headed in. They were incredible, and superseded both of our expectations! We hadn’t really been out anywhere since Vegas and saving money so both really enjoyed the night out. Still, we didn’t opt in for the $13 pints…

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Imagine Dragons

We both really enjoyed LA, but are definitely ready for some more relaxed national park camping, and are heading to Yosemite through Death Valley, Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks on our way.

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