Today's must see places are the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, Beverley Hills and Santa Monica Pier. I'm wearing cut-off jeans and a sleeveless top, with Toms shoes. Steve wears walking trousers, a t-shirt and Timberlands. I still haven't worn my white jeans, or the long dress which would be good for a day at the beach.
There is no quick way to get across LA, and just a few miles may take an hour or more so be prepared for endless traffic jams on route to anywhere.
TOP TIPS: Get a great view of the Hollywood sign from the Hollywood & Highland Center Mall, where you can also park for 2 hours for $2 if you get your ticket validated at a shop or cafe (otherwise it costs $1 per 15 mins, to a maximum of $13). The Mall leads on to Hollywood Boulevard and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where famous people and weirdly some non-people (Kermit and Godzilla being two!) are remembered with a star inscribed with their name and set in the pavement. All along the road you can have your photo taken with a celebrity look-a-like and some are remarkably similar. All very good-humoured, but very busy. It's also a great place to pick up the hop-on-hop-off bus and see the sights.
We then moved on to Santa Monica Pier for lunch (we hadn't eaten breakfast, just an iced coffee at the mall to get our parking ticket validated). By the time we arrived and sat down to eat it was around 3pm in a lovely pier restaurant called Ristorante Al Mare, where we had delicious salads on the first floor terrace overlooking the beach and the pier. Here we met some locals who amazingly were also airbnb‘rs and who gave us some great tips on what to see (Malibu was top of their list).
Again I was surprised to see people wearing long-sleeved tops and long trousers (as it was by now over 90F) alongside people in shorts and bikini tops; really anything goes down at the beach. There is parking at the pier and many hotels close by offer reasonably priced parking for 5 hours, all well signed.
The main reason for going to Santa Monica Pier is that it is the official end of Route 66, and it was with mixed emotions that we stood under the sign to have our photo taken. All the miles we have travelled, the people we have met, and the sights we have seen, have made this one of the most memorable trips we have ever done (and we have done some really amazing ones). There was a tinge of sadness that we had come to the end of the road – literally 🙁
Tonight we ate at The Cheescake Factory, again recommended by our host but also highly rated on TripAdvisor. It was a 20 minute walk along the beach with great views of the ocean and the sumptuous boats in the marinas. We opted for a table on the patio and because it was protected from the sea by a permanent screen it didn't get cold, and we were privileged to enjoy the spectacle of a beautiful sunset. The story of the Cheesecake Factory is worth looking up and all the rave reviews were true, the food really is delicious and the staff are very friendly. As we had eaten a late lunch we opted for some small plates, more like tapas, and then cheesecake of course. Here, as everywhere, you can take home anything you can't eat. This was the first time though that I had noticed a separate menu with all the nutritional facts and calories of everything. Cocktails are extremely popular in LA too; everywhere we have been has had an extensive list and here was no exception. We then enjoyed a slow walk back to our place and watched an episode of Billy Connelly driving Route 66 on YouTube. I think it's hitting home that we are just one day away from returning home and the road trip being over.
Posted by Helen – WhatToWearOnHoliday.com