I have been behind with blogging, but now my university course is coming to an end, I want to get back into it. I thought I’d catch you up, starting with the residential trip I took to Los Angeles back in February. I have always wanted to go and it was everything I thought and more. From the weather to the accents, and the palm trees to the views, I loved it all. I went into holiday mode and ended up taking touristy photos, or just absorbing the sites. Only 12 people went on the trip, which was a combination of year 1 & 2s, with 2 staff members. Although I knew the people from my year, we never really socialized together, and none of my friends were going so at first I felt a little out of place, but the trip helped me to bond with them and we had a good time.
DAY ONE – 23rd February
I had no sleep on the flight, and by the time we landed at 2pm I hadn’t slept in over 36 hours. However, we reached the hostel, put our stuff in the room and headed straight out to Hollywood Blvrd. The hostel was directly located between Hollywood and Sunset Blvrd so it was pretty perfect. Everyone kept stopping to take pictures of the stars and we checked out the hand/foot prints in front of the Chinese Theatre, then headed to the mall to get some pizza. While walking down the blvrd an American stranger complimented me which made my day. Everyone I met was so friendly and welcoming there.
DAY TWO – 24th February
Wednesday was our first whole day in LA. We got up at 6am and fought over the shower (like every morning that followed). I would have a slice of toast and 2 slices of orange every morning with a coffee or juice. Our itinerary changed and we decided to head to the Observatory in the morning, I wish we had time to go back in the evening/night. We could see the Hollywood sign and everyone took selfies. The views were amazing and it was really sunny. We took a quick stop at Hollywood Bowl but we had to be at the Warner Bros studios for 3:30PM. We went to watch The Real being filmed, which isn’t something I particularly am interested in, but it was good to see how it is filmed and to meet the producer and director. We also stopped in a huge record shop on Sunset Blvrd, which was super cool and like you see in movies.
DAY THREE – 25th February
Thursday was one of my favourite days as we went to Universal. The group stuck together and we started by taking a photo with Shrek and then visiting the new Harry Potter section. We all tried a Butterbeer, which was really nice. Although I don’t mind Harry Potter I’m not a huge fan so after slowly walking through it for about 40 minutes I decided to break free and explore Universal by myself, until we met back up at 12PM. It was good to enjoy some alone time and I had fun. I walked around the top level of the park, spotted various characters and went on the Universal Tour. I met a guy working on the tours section named West, who was really friendly and let me cut the queues. A lot of the workers seemed to comment on my tattoos while I was there, which was quite amusing. Later once I rejoined the group we went to Krusty Burger where I had a Sideshow Bob hot dog, followed by going on the tour again. I decided to join them as I really enjoyed it and spoke to West who let us queue cut again. However, we were in the back cart this time and I noticed that a few of the little touches had been cut out, so I was glad I went earlier on when I did. After the tour we all went on The Simpsons, The Mummy and Transformers rides. They were all excellent but The Mummy was my favourite. Overall Universal was very enjoyable and one of my highights. I highly recommend it and would definitely go again. I only bought a fridge magnet from there for my sister, but I wish I bought a huge Simpsons donut and Slushee. To finish off the day we then went to the Hard Rock cafe on Hollywood Blvrd.
DAY FOUR – 26th February
On Friday we went to Little Tokyo, Olvera Street and China Town in the day. By this time I was getting pretty tired of walking all day long and this walk was even more tiring, but it was interesting and I loved seeing all the little Japanese treats. I got some Hello Panda strawberry biscuits and tried some of Chloe’s green tea. We broke off into groups and our small group went to a Japanese bakery. I got a strawberry croissant while everyone else got a Curryman steamed bun. Olvera street was interesting and very colourful, but nothing really took my interest enough to buy anything. After we stopped by at China Town and then went to Long Beach. We didn’t get to go Whale Watching sadly as we got to the beach at 4PM. It was getting a bit chilly by then, but we stayed until the sun set.
DAY FIVE – 27th February
From Long Beach to Venice Beach. 5 members of the group decided that they wanted to hire bikes, so the rest of us split off to meet again in a couple hours. We were walking along the beach but Paige and I slowly split from the others. We heard music and decided to walk towards the small crowd gathering around some street performers. They were a group of young men, street dancing and doing flips/tricks. Their performance went on for a while as they stalled to get money, but they drew in a big crowd and were pretty good. We then continued down the boardwalk, and checked out the shops. Eventually we came to the Venice Beach Freakshow (one of the main things I wanted to see/do in LA). As soon as I heard Todd Ray’s voice announcing everyone inside, I turned to Paige and asked if she wanted to check it out (although I wouldn’t have taken no for an answer). We walked up where Todd was stood with a microphone and his two headed turtles in a tub of water. He welcomed us inside where we paid $5 to his wife, passing Auzzy Blood and The Amazing Half Girl on the way. While waiting for the show to start I had a quick glance over the items displayed such as the two headed pig and noticed Jessa The Bearded Lady serving at the desk where they were selling various merchandise. The show began shortly after and I noticed Morgue, my favourite performer (I recommend watching their show on Netflix). Introducing the show was The Bubble Boy and Wee Matt, before Morgue took to the stage with fellow performer Sunshine. They were both incredible and although the show only seemed about 10 minutes long, I loved it. I spoke to Jessa who was holding a five legged dog and bought a t-shirt, sticker and badge from her, before stepping outside and seeing Auzzy Blood swallow a sword. Later on we passed again and he was having money stapled to himself. After the Freakshow we had to walk over 2 miles to the pier to meet the others, only to stay there for a bit and walk back again. This was pretty tiring, so by the time of going back to the hostel to get changed for the Razzies, I was pretty much ready for bed. We went anyway, and I have to say I was disappointed. I had higher expectations, but the show seemed of low budget, and the humour was cringe worthy, I don’t think I’d go again.
DAY SIX – 28th February
Sunday was our day to go hiking. However, after driving along the 101 freeway, an incident happened that ended up with us getting crashed into from behind. We had to pull over and wait at a near by golf course for a couple hours for a new mini van. Although nobody was hurt, everyone decided to call off the hike and instead we drove to a nearby Galleria where we went to The Cheesecake Factory. I opted for pasta which was possibly the best pasta I’ve ever had, and a red velvet cheesecake for desert. We got back to the hostel at 6:30PM, the Oscars started at 5:30PM so we decided to take a quick walk down Hollywood Blvrd to see how close we could get. It was blocked off from quite some distance so we didn’t see much but at least we went. Later that night Leonardo won his first Oscar.
DAY SEVEN – 29th February
Home time. We were flying home and had to get our cases from the hostel at 4PM. We left in the morning at 9:30AM so we had a few hours to soak in the last of LA. The week had gone so fast, and at this point it began to feel like we didn’t actually do that much. Everyone was really keen to get some shopping done before we went home, so we went back to Hollywood Blvrd. The gifts and souvenirs were repetitive and pricey, but I managed to find a few things. I didn’t get any over tracky things for myself which I kind of regret. I wish I got a sweatshirt with Los Angeles plastered over the front and a stereotypical keyring. Paige and I joined forces again and walked straight to LA Ink to make sure that we had time to visit it. However, once we searched it out, we discovered that we were early and it didn’t open until 12PM. After, we decided to head back to the mall which had a Sephora and Hot Topic (the two main shops I wanted to visit in America). I treated myself to some Kat Von D mascara in Sephora. All of her makeup items have incredibly cute packaging but I restrained from buying anymore. We then had an hour to go to Hot Topic and back to meet everyone at In-N-Out. I got a few tiny presents and myself two band t-shirts (Slaves & Parkway Drive) and a flannel shirt. I only got a fresh lemonade from In-N-Out and once everyone was done eating we went back to get the mini van from the hostel and drove to the Rainbow Bar & Grill for the last bit of sight seeing. A lot of the group were uninterested and stayed in the van, while a few of us went in to check it out. It felt like we were rushed as the others were waiting for us, so we only had a quick look around, but I wish I was 21 and could have sat and had a drink in the cosy, atmospheric bar. We then drove back for our cases and headed to the airport for our flight home, and that quickly it was all over.
On the drive to the airport I was absorbing the sites out of the window. I’ve never felt as strong desire to live somewhere as I did here. If you’re contemplating going, do it. I am dying to go back already. It has also made me really want to travel and blog the experiences. LA is one of the most amazing places I have ever been, and I definitely left my heart in this city. Thank you for reading, April