Venice Beach, Los Angeles
If Camden was on the beach in the late '90's it would be Venice Beach now. Legalisation of marijuana has made the substance ubiquitous along the beachfront, the smell is almost overpowering and no doubt helps generate a roaring trade at the various snack shops along the promenade.
Playa Vista, Los Angeles
Playa Vista is a newly constructed town near to Santa Monica and loosely centred around the hanger where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose. Part of the Silicone Beach area, it is home to wealthy young professionals and retirees.
As much artists space as it is museum, the Hammer Museum, is not huge like the Getty, but is in central Westwood. Colourful hair, vibrant glasses and a boho hippy vibe are given off by the visitors. workshops, interactive pieces and musical performances are run regularly.
The Getty Museum is huge, sprawling on the top of a hill, covering a number of modern looking buildings that could have stepped out of any utopian sci-fi show.
Down Town Los Angeles, (DTLA)
DTLA is full of fantastic architecture, from soaring skyscrapers to bas relief buildings. The most memorable is of course Gehry's, the chrome matching his work in Dusseldorf but the Broad has a mesmerising flowing outer facia, and the interior of the Bradbury building brings tourists from around the world.
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
On a hill facing the Hollywood sign and at the summit of the Firebreak Trail sits the Griffith Observatory. Constructed in 1933 and opened to the public two years later the observatory has a number of exhibits like the Foucault pendulum in the lobby and the camera obscura giving views of downtown.
Firebreak Trail, Los Angeles
One of the most enjoyable ways up to the Observatory is to park at the bottom and hike up the trail. The shortest route is about a mile, with other trails taking you on longer routes, mostly to the Hollywood sign.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Already a huge museum space, the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA) is extending significantly over the next few years with the impressive globe already part finished and the other winding sinuous shaped building in the planning stages.
LA Farmers' Market
The LA Farmers Market, and the land on which it sits, has been owned by the Gilmore Family since the late 1800s and continues to be owned and operated by the Family, now in its sixth-generation.
La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
Famous, and famously strange, in central Los Angeles stands the La Brea Tar Pits. A series of dirty pools of asphalt in the ground, bubbling up and smelling unpleasant as they have for over 50,000 years.
Zuma Beach, California
Visiting family in Los Angeles, we spent the day with friends on Zuma Beach in Malibu. Surprisingly quiet considering it was a sunny weekend thanks to Coachella being on, we were lucky enough to see Dolphins out in the ocean.
Fort Worth International Airport
I spent an evening in Dallas thanks to delays in taking off from Costa Rica, leading to a ten hour wait in Heathrow, before turning around in Gothenburg and flying to Riga.
After Breakfast, we drove to Sacramento, still on Highway One, looking for somewhere to stop so that we could book our hotels for the rest of the trip. We passed three star bucks on the left before we finally came across one on the right we could use. We stopped for a drink and booked the last two hotels in San Francisco.
First thing in the morning we took a walk round town, we had no luck really finding anything exciting other than seeing a giant redneck truck. For some reason there were a large number of police officers wandering around Sonoma and so we decided to head off to Yosemite.
We arrived in Sonoma and checked into the hotel, which was really nice. Old for America, having been built in the eighteen hundreds. It had a rooftop pool that we used after dark and ancient style lift, with brass grates and everything.
From San Francisco we headed directly to Napa valley, stopping at a famous Greasy Spoon Café in Napa, I had a Napa beef sandwich with fried onions. It was huge!! Fantastic, but absolutely monstrous portion size.
We pulled into San Francisco at about quarter to five. A nice place, but smack bang in the middle of the Tenderloin, which isn't the best area. Unless you like prostitutes! Then its a great area!
Jumping back on the Highway One, we zoomed into Santa Cruz and checked in to a Knights Inn. Seems like a nice place and we've got a decent sized room right by the broad walk, but it was cheap, but maybe too cheap....
We started on the bit of the PCH called Big Sur, which is some of the most impressive coastline and windy windy roads!
It is very impressive, he was a newspaper magnate and was worth an absolute fortune...
Next stop on the drive was Santa Barbara, downtown. We parked in the main area by the pier and had lunch at a faux English fish and chips pub at the end of the pier.
Out of Santa Monica and through Malibu was beautiful, it was a really nice way to start the drive. I was driving that morning, and about twelve, we went to pull off the main highway to try and drive along a bridge to a private island we saw, unfortunately it was a proper private island and we were thwarted by the large iron gates!!