Los Angeles – Our final destination. We said our goodbyes to a ship that in reality had been no more than an expensive taxi for us. Although that had been disappointing, at least most of our destinations had lived up to our expectations. Would Los Angeles do the same?
We would be staying for two nights before flying home and had pre-arranged car hire and accommodation in the Topanga hills. Our car was a soft top VW Beetle and our accommodation was a B&B which had amazing reviews.
Our VW Beetle. After spending a week at sea, we were looking forward to getting back to some independent travel. We had originally looked at hiring a soft top mustang but we couldn’t find any for hire during the dates we required but we still wanted a soft top and a Beetle was available. Our first issue was trying to fit in all our luggage. Luckily with it being a soft top, we just threw it all in the back and off we set with the roof down and the rear passenger seats accommodating two large suitcases, with seatbelts on – just in case! Our second issue was actually my (Tom) issue. Personally I feel comfortable driving abroad and quickly adjust to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Even on the busy chaotic roads of Los Angeles with only Google maps to guide us to our B&B I still felt comfortable. That is until Aileen’s stress levels turn her unto the back seat driver from hell. Slow down! Careful! Shuffling about in her seat and regularly taking in sharp breaths or exhaling with the occasional OH! Being in Hollywood, I think Aileen thought she was in a car chase movie.
Oh yeah! Just to add. Coming from Scotland, we didn’t appreciate how important air conditioning is in a hot country. Naively thinking a soft top would keep us cool but as it turned out, the roof was nearly always up so we could stay cool inside an air conditioned car. Lesson learnt!
Our B&B Tuscali Mountain Inn – This is worth a mention. Described as – Nestled in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains, Tuscali offers two elegantly furnished rooms. The inn is situated on a gated three-acre property with amazing views across Topanga Canyon and the 13,000 acre Topanga State Park as its backyard. We just knew it was for us and it didn’t disappoint. Tranquil with a touch of elegance and a warm friendly welcome. Each night we were presented with a bottle of wine and canapes. We would sit in this special place, talk about our day and imagine staying there forever.
In late 2018 a devastating fire ripped through parts of California, close to where we had stayed. We don’t know if the Tuscali Mountain Inn was spared or affected. The website is still online but the Inn is now closed….
Malibu beach and Sport Fishing Pier – We all travel for different reasons and each destination will tick some or all of those boxes. Happy long lasting memories, for us, signifies – this was special and Malibu beach ticked that box. Even before we arrived, driving down Sunset Boulevard then seeing the signs for Malibu beach just helped to start engraving those happy memories. After a spot of sunbathing and watching surfers, many of them looking every bit the Californian surfer, we browsed the hippy shops of the Sports Fishing Pier before taking a drive further along the beach for another stop – Venice Beach and Muscle Beach. Both didn’t disappoint, equal measures of weirdness, coolness, edginess, brashness and happiness. Can’t wait to go back one day.
Hollywood – I know, it’s all been said before. It’s tacky in places, run down in places, the TCL Chinese Theatre isn’t anything special but you have to go because if you don’t then what benefit would that achieve. To be fair, I’ve walked the streets of much worse places and the parking wasn’t a problem. Yes it was busy but again no worse that a lot of busy cities and at the end of the day we can now say we have been.
Thank you Los Angeles for living up to our expectations. Yes you’re weird, stunning and edgy but your also a place that has its vulnerabilities and that’s what makes you normal.