So all good fun must come to an end and these are the last few days of our USA 2015 vacation. We’ve had a lot of fun, new adventures, great food and drink, and ticked off a few more of the USA mainland States (still plenty more to go). And when flying back to Australia the choices of airport are limited and like everyone else, Los Angeles is generally the port of entry and egress.

Now, the first time we came to Los Angeles (many years back) we stayed a night in Santa Monica (very nice but getting bigger) and then where most travel agencies send you – Hollywood. You’d think Hollywood would be nice but it’s pretty much the pits and it put us off LA (and this is not an uncommon effect on people). Our later travels we came in via San Francisco or Dallas with a transfer only at LAX. But last trip we stayed a few days in LA with a car and away from Hollywood and really liked it. I never got around to blogging about that trip but it was good and we saw plenty and didn’t bother with Hollywood. So we decided on a few days this trip also. Again, away from Hollywood and not far from where we stayed last time – this time we were in Fairfax St straight opposite the Farmers Market and Grove Shopping Centre (upper class shopping with many films shot there – truly a nice experience). Our Hotel was probably our favourite – The Farmer’s Daughter – and we highly recommend this hotel and location. Great rooms, champagne on arrival, cookies and turn-down each night, perfect location, good restaurant (Tart) on site, friendly staff and a whiskey hour every night.

guitar center selfieNow we’ve done many of the touristy things so LA was really a wind down and let’s see how fast we could spend the last of our money. We split on day one with Caroline spending up at The Grove and I taking a walk through the neighbourhoods to Guitar Center (kind of like an Allens & Billy hyde). What’s good about the Hollywood Bvd Guitar Center is that it also has a walk of fame and it’s a bit of a museum – and it has guitars (but I did not purchase, just looked and picked up other stuff that could fit in my bag). That night was some fine Mexican at a place we saw two years back but never got around to eating at – Mercado. The food and service was really good (we actually rarely ate poorly) and to top it off an ice-cream sandwich next door at Carmela Ice Cream.

rodeo dve 2We were going to rent a car for our couple of days but then thought it wasn’t worth the added expense – we could walk or Uber. We walked. We are probably the only people who walk in LA (although there were quite a lot of people out walking but I’m sure their trips were only short). Anyways, Jim decided he wanted to see Rodeo Drive – just looking as he couldn’t afford to walk in the door of many of the shops (most of the shops). Rodeo Dve was not close, this was a long walk, this was do-able, this was actually a pleasant walk with some interesting people watching and sight-seeing – the things you don’t see when on a tour bus (of which there were many driving around Beverley Hills) or concentrating on driving. Rodeo Drive was interesting for people watching – many Europeans who have money or look like they have money or would like to have money. Many were also just people watching – loved one group that walked into Louis Vuitton and quickly walked back out not believing that a handbag cost $35k.

la brea tar pitsOne of the annoying things with flying to Australia is that the flight we catch doesn’t leave LA until 11pm, that leaves a whole day to fill in – made worse with hotel check-out at 11am (which we managed to extend to 1pm – thanks Farmers Daughter). Last time we had a car and drove to spend hours wandering around Santa Monica – achievable and quite nice if it’s a good day. But this time we didn’t have a car so decided to have a wander to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – however, it was a Wednesday and like Dollywood – it was closed. So, now how do you fill in many hours? Luckily there was a park and museum next door – the Le Brea Tar Pits. This was really interesting. I did not know this was here, I did not know LA sits on asphalt pits, I did not know they have taken over 5m ice age bones from these pits and continue to do so. There is a great museum here a lovely park and we even caught a free guided tour. Kids would love this place and we easily filled in many of the hours we needed to fill. The rest was spent walking slowly and meandering around Farmers Market and even though we had checked out that morning, we could return to Farmers Daughter to collect our bags, enjoy another whiskey hour and Uber to the airport. Shared trip (an Uber choice) which saved us money.

Dinner in the Qantas Lounge (this has been redone since our last trip and is very nice) and all aboard for our fifteen-hour flight home. Until next time, we enjoyed this trip, so different from our last, we really liked North Carolina and would again visit places like Asheville and old favourites like Nashville and Austin. Just hope the dollar is better next time.

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