36h in L.A. or how I did not fall in love, yet

Since ever I have been dreaming of visiting L.A.

Walking down Sunset Boulevard, hanging out at Santa Monica and admiring the cool skater kids in Venice Beach. Driving up the Hollywood Hills to enjoy a night view across the city with it’s long lanes of light stretching beyond the horizon and of course passing by the white column lined mansions of Beverly Hills where the Rich, the Famous and the Fresh Prince are living.

Los Angeles was always a place that was very present and that I was very aware of, even when being just a kid. Probably because I always liked to – and still do – watch TV. I grew up with the A-Team and MacGywer followed by Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Baywatch. The 2000’s started with Six Feet under (which in my humble opinion is still the best show ever made), Lost (ok, that was mainly shrubbery and black smoke) and Malcolm in the Middle and today? It’s going on with he Big Bang Theory and I don’t think it will ever stop. The sheer awesomeness of Los Angeles was imprinted on my brain with every lightwave that came out of our 5 channels TV. Not to mention countless Bands (RHCP, NOFX (yes, NOFX), The Doors) that are spreading the Los Angeles spirit all over the place and of course  Die Drei Fragezeichen !!!!

And then

I was there.

And then

nothing.

Frankly, L.A. and me, we did not become lovers. It felt like Online Dating; you write deep and dreamy all night long, and then you meet all nervous and giggling a person with obvious photo shop skills that makes you want to chop of your own fingers just to prevent you from swiping along another damn profile.

I tried so hard and I know Los Angeles did, too.

After 11 hours in a plane I fought my way alone through 3 hours Friday afternoon rush hour/endless L.A. traffic jam, I got horribly lost and ended up with a crying fit. As my body kept telling me that it’s 4am and this day was way too long, I considered stopping on the highway and waiting for an adult in charge, as a valid option.

I obviously arrived after all, could catch up with my husband who was already in Cali for some days,  recovered and we left our hotel light-hearted the next morning to explore the city of angels.

As my introduction suggests, I was most excited about visiting Hollywood. Oh how I was excited. SO much! But in fact, it was rather .. different (trying hard not to use too strong words here). I did not expect Los Angeles to be all glamour and shiny, really not but I didn’t expect the other extreme neither; apart from tourists and people who are somehow making their money with tourists, the only peeps hanging out in Hollywood were utterly drugged people who spent their time laying around on pavements having crazy talks with their invisible friends.

We easily cut down the time previewed for Hollywood and spent half day driving around L.A. -and this I mean very literally: we drove in wide circles around all nice spots and areas, otherwise I really can’t explain why we did not see any. In despair we decided to skip our Los Angeles disaster and go to the beach, because as it’s known: everything is better at the beach.

We drove to Venice Beach, parked our car at a surprisingly low fee and walked up to Santa Monica Pier. To be honest, the few hours on the beach really made up for this ruined morning, maybe because everything looked like TV suggested 🙂 We had a very decent mid afternoon lunch at a burger place in Santa Monica and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at the Pier, listening to some Singer Songwriter Hippies and watching an amazing sunset.

sunset

… and to watch the sunset.

We really had not much time in Los Angeles  but efficient as we are, we used the next morning to see as much as possible, before heading north to start our road trip on Highway 1.

We started really early, SO early that we even found easily a parking place at the Griffith Observatorium and could hike in the Hollywood Hills (as you do in L.A.) without being surrounded by thousands fellow hikers. The few other early birds were either super motivated weirdos with an amazing gear or people suffering from jet leg – like us. We had no gear, not even a water bottle.

However, just after making it back to the safety of our car, without being bitten by a rattle snake, it started to rain (“it never rains in Southern California” my ass!) and we drove to Silver Lake to have lunch. According to the Internet, Silver Lake is THE Hipster Place and I obviously could not miss that, me, with a Fjällräven Backpack and a Mom Jeans. I enjoyed the most greenest lunch ever and it was actually pretty good, but I suppose I can never eat kale again.

As we somehow managed to miss the Skaters at Venice Beach the day before (I see it as part of our unlucky strain), we went back there… unfortunately it was still raining and there weren’t many people. No skaters first of all, almost no Tourists, but apparently everybody who has been laying on the pavements in Hollywood the day before.

Highway 1 was close and we left direction North.

L.A.. you’ve tried, I know. The afternoon in Santa Monica was AWESOME! And the Hills?! Stunning.. It’s probably me, not you .. but I need a break. I will sure come back one day, with adjusted expectations, less jet lag  and a heart wide open.

So long, Los Angeles.

Have you been in L.A.? Did you love or hate it? Leave a comment and share your experience 🙂

p class=”p4″>Since ever I have been dreaming of visiting L.A. Walking down Sunset Boulevard, hanging out at Santa Monica and admiring the cool skater kids in Venice Beach. Driving up the Hollywood Hills to enjoy a night view across the city with it’s long lanes of light s

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13 Responses

  1. Great photos. I found LA hard to love as well. We did like the drive up the Coast out of there though.

  2. kirkhsmith says:

    LA is a city of extremes: A lot to love, a lot to hate. I lived there for 15 years and wrote briefly about it before moving: https://kirkhsmith.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/shock-and-awe-and-awh/

    • sounds very much like Paris 🙂 Thanks for your comment !

      • kirkhsmith says:

        I lived in Paris for a year as well, and you are right. Better mass transit options in Paris and easier to get around, but similar contradictions, love of the aesthetic, cultural diversity, etc.

        • oh yes, I was really .. shocked to hear that public transportation is difficult in L.A. .. in Paris it almost doesn’t matter if you have a car or not, you are often even faster at your destination by metro .. but probably people in big cities are all the same in the end ^^

  3. Sarah T. says:

    I live in LA and love it. I get that it can be an acquired taste though especially when you only see the best parts on TV/movies/images. You should visit San Diego on your next trip to CA! Much cleaner and a whole different vibe!

    • Thanks for your comment! Myself I live in Paris and I often meet ppl who absolutely HATE it here while I love it most of the time 😀 It’s probably the same with every big city that is much present on TV! I heard a lot about San Diego and I really hope to be able to get there next time.. I generally liked California a LOT!

  4. Hilary says:

    Oh no! Give it another chance! It’s not a city you can “do” in two days… Like most big cities it requires time, effort and repeat visit, but trust me there is a lot to love!

  5. jilltopiala says:

    It definitely seems to be a city of extremes – people love it or hate it. I’ve been 3 times now and I love it. I love exploring the little neighbourhoods, the contrasts and most of all, the bars & restaurants.

    • This is exactly what we were searching for and couldn’t find! We had been the whole time under the impression of circling around the cool spots 🙂 We liked Venice and Santa Monica though! And Silverlake (?) was nice as well … 🙂

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