Saturday, August 8, 2009

Eurotourism in L.A.

Our Euroguests are back in NYC. We crammed the 3.5 days they had in L.A. with as much flavor of the city and region as we could. No time for art, museums, studios or hiking, but they were more interested in the urban culture and dynamics of the place anyway.Day 1 Venice + Santa Monica straight off the plane: Venice Boardwalk; canals; Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica through Main Street; Third Street Promenade; Palisades park; Sunset on the Santa Monica pier.Day 2 PCH + Santa Barbara: Malibu pier, beach & surfs spots; lunch at Neptune's Nest in Malibu; Ventura agricultural fields; busy 101; Santa Barbara beachfront, State Street & Mission; back to L.A. via the PCH; kite surfers; Malibu Canyon, Old Topanga Canyon Road & up to vista point for a spectacular sunset over the San Fernando Valley, courtesy of the tropical weather brought by hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
Day 3 L.A.: Wilshire through Santa Monica, West LA., Westwood & UCLA; Beverly Hills residential streets, Rodeo Drive, Doheny Drive; Grove and lunch at the Farmer's Market; 3rd Street to Downtown through Koreatown & Echo Park: Broadway theaters & Bradbury building, lofts & urban regen, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Union Station, Olvera Street, Chinatown; Sunset through Silver Lake, Hollywood Hills & sign, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Strip & billboards, Beverly Hills, Bel Air; back to Santa Monica at night via the 405 & 10.

Day 4 L.A. + beach: 405 to Mulholland, down to Sunset through Laurel Canyon; Strip, Foothills, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, back to Santa Monica; afternoon at the beach & picnic dinner on the sand watching the sunset; red eye to NYC.
First impressions: L.A. is BIG. Hip. An exercise in contrast (Boardwalk-canals, Valley-canyons, Sunset Strip-hills, PCH-101.) Segregated racially and socially (each neighborhood homogeneous but separate from the others, with vibes changing at flipping speed.) The freeways are madness, especially at night with ten lanes of car lights, traffic and roaring V8. The place feels like Pulp Fiction meets Californication. Do we get this goldious weather ALL year round?
Their top 3 experiences: PCH, Union Station, 405 at night with the top down. And yes, we did get them knocked down with California wine -- with special thanks to Behringer Pinot Noir & Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay. More photos here (better viewed as a slideshow.)
photos LA Frog except 8/9 Euroguests & 13 flickr/dtaylor123 via

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