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Venice Beach, California

Our travels today took us all over Los Angeles and beyond, we started with a quick breakfast at the hotel, which is good value as it is included in the room. Bagels with cream cheese, I felt very American.

We grabbed the car out of the secure lock up and headed for Mullholland Drive, which is some famous road Darren wanted to drive on. After a couple of foul ups with the GPS, (which is a bit temperamental) we were on our way and driving around a winding road around the Hollywood Hills, and seeing spectacular views of the hills and of LA.

Our next stop was to attempt to drive up to the Hollywood Sign, something we failed at, as the road was closed due to fire warnings and you had to hike most of

the way, if that wasn’t bad enough there wasn’t much parking available anywhere close and the only way to get back was up a very steep hill. No thanks, I thought, I’ve only just started my holiday and I’m not in the mood for hiking up hills just yet.

It was now about 12pm and the sun was just starting to show itself, so we decided to head down to Venice Beach, to see if I could finally accomplish my lifelong dream of riding the Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier. We parked the car and headed down to the beach, stopping first in some of the various shops to check things out as Darren needed to get a shirt to swim in, less he show his chest to everyone and a towel.

Finally got to sit on Venice Beach, in the sun, on a towel in my bikini and enjoy relaxing. Darren went into the water first and it was quite cold. I was watching him ease himself in, when a big wave came along and smacked him, completely soaking him. I had a good laugh from the safety of the beach where he couldn’t hear me.

While Darren was swimming and while I was trying to have a nap, I suddenly felt wetness and squirming on my face, it was someone’s puppy who had escaped and was now all over me.

The young guy came running over and apologised to me. “It’s totally fine” I said, “Who doesn’t love a puppy?” Darren came out of the ocean and then proceeded to tell me how cold it was. Not one to be stopped by any kind of warning, I made myself get in the water. Karma was about to get me though as the sand bar suddenly dropped away and left me up to my mid section in the rather cold water. Come on, you’re and Aussie I told myself and I plunged head first into the next wave. It was a bit better after getting myself completely wet, but not what I would call pleasant.

After my swim I came back up to the beach and laid in the sun some more to dry off, the puppy came back and showered both Darren and I with kisses again. Again, the young kid apologised, I’d be quite happy if he just left the puppy with us. We laid on the beach for a while longer and then got dressed, under towels rather ungracefully and went back to look around the shops.

Darren wanted us to hire biked and ride down to the pier, I was sceptical, I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was basically forced to when I was a shore rep for Med Experience in

Croatia on the island of Mljet. There the seat on the bike had been up way to high and I couldn’t put my feet on the ground and I was terrified the entire time. I finally relented after seeing a nice red bike, stacked up outside one of the shops, Darren got a beach cruiser. I managed to get the seat all the way down and felt much safer, although it did take me a while to get the hang of it again, but once I did I was overtaking Darren. We rode all the way down to the pier, laughing and stopping to take photos, we even managed to ride under the pier, before riding the bikes back to the shop at Venice Beach.

Santa Monica Pier was a lot further that I had first imagined, so we decided to collect the car and drive down. We of course had to repark it and pay more parking, however it was only $1, $1! I can’t think of a single place you could park in Sydney for that. The Ferris Wheel cost a whopping $8 each to ride, but I didn’t care, you can’t put a price on a bucket list item and nothing was stopping me this time. Darren and I got into a red gondola and as the wheel went, up and up and up, I couldn’t believe I had finally managed this, after three separate trips to Los Angeles. The views were incredible, you can see all the way down the beach. It was ready windy up top, but they have a wind barrier, so it’s only on your face and not on the rest of you. For the $8, I must admit you do get your monies worth, you don’t go around once, the ride lasts for about 20 minutes.


After I had finished with the Ferris wheel, we drove back to Hollywood and ended up at Pink’s Hot Dogs, which is something Darren really wanted to do. I had a Mullholland Drive Dog (which I highly recommend) and Darren had a Chilli Cheese Bacon Dog, which I’m not sure he recommends, “it had bacon on it”, were his words to me when I asked him. (You can’t go wrong with bacon) We also shared a portion/bucket of nacho chili cheese fries, which I thought were awesome, Darren I think had too much chili on his hot dog.

Having finished stuffing ourselves, we went back to the hotel and grabbed all our washing and headed to the “Hollywood Laundry” which is down the street. We spend about an hour in there, less our laundry pile up like it did last time, where we had to traipse around Vegas looking for somewhere to wash clothes. I’m happy doing mine in the sink and hanging them around the hotel, don’t think Darren is down with that yet.

Back to the hotel again, however some school trip had rolled and about a hundred teenagers were in the pool which is right outside our window, so out we went again to Santa Monica Boulevard to Millions of Milkshakes, which Darren also wanted however, it was also full of teenagers acting like morons, so we left. Milkshakless.

We left the car back at the hotel, and walked down the street to Starbucks, where we both had a nice calming tea before going to bed back at the hotel. Geez we must be getting old or something.

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