Visiting LA

Los Angeles and Huntington Beach

After the compulsory programme at Pacific Park, I took a stroll along the Santa Monica Pier, stopping off at Pier Burger for a delicious burger and a local IPA.

Refreshed, I made my way back to the rental car. As I still had plenty of time, I decided to take another dip in the Pacific Ocean, which fortunately wasn’t quite as cold here in Los Angeles as it was in San Francisco.

As I had two days in Los Angeles before heading on to Orange County, I had a bit of the usual tourist programme on the agenda. From Santa Monica I drove straight to Hollywood, whose heyday has probably long since passed. Not only do the stars of the stars decorate the Walk of Fame, but there are also an extremely large number of empty bars and restaurants on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard, which gives a run-down impression. Every now and then you come across one of the old theatres, but that’s about it. Interestingly, the image that Disney and Universal give of Hollywood in their theme parks is much more appealing.

After a stop at the local Hard Rock Café, I drove on to Lake Hollywood Park to take a picture of the Hollywood sign. The drive to the park was a highlight as the roads are very narrow in places and hug the hillside beautifully. After taking some photos of the Hollywood Sign and Downtown LA, I was drawn to the nearby Griffith Observatory. I had hoped to take some pictures of the illuminated Hollywood sign, but the city is saving a bit of electricity at the moment, so I was left with the illuminated Griffith Observatory, from where you also have a great view of Downtown LA.

During my stay in LA I stayed very cheaply at the LA Crystal Hotel near Long Beach. Although I later found out that the location wasn’t quite so favourable, I didn’t see this as a problem due to the closed underground car park. The room itself was quite modern by American standards and had by far the most comfortable beds of the whole tour. With that in mind, I can definitely recommend staying here.

The next day I took the train to Los Angeles. Here I first had a look at Little Tokyo and the local China Town before going to the actual city centre. I particularly liked Grand Central Market near the Angels Flight funicular up to the Financial District, where I had lunch at Maple Block Barbecue. Architecturally, the Los Angeles City Hall and the elegant Union Station are well worth a visit.

In the afternoon I drove on to Anaheim, where I spent the next four nights at the Best Western Plus Anaheim Orange County, which was really nice.  On the way I stopped in Huntington Beach for a short walk along the pier.

Pictures Los Angeles and Huntington Beach


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High above Surfers Paradise

With about 600,000 inhabitants, the city of Gold Coast is the second largest city in the state of Queensland and the sixth largest city in Australia. The Gold Coast has a humid subtropical climate with mild to warm winters and hot, humid summers, which makes it a popular tourist destination, especially in winter. The wide beaches invite you to go surfing, even if it is a bit more difficult in Surfers Paradise due to the low waves. On the other hand, Surfers Paradise scores with its many skyscrapers and the resulting skyline, which can best be experienced from the Sky Point viewing platform of the Q1 Tower.

In theory, you can also see the nearby Sea World amusement park from here. Also clearly visible is the Sling Shot Gold Coast Fun Park, which features the Funtime product of the same name and a mini-golf course.

After a visit to the local Hard Rock Café, we strolled along Surfers Paradise Blvd for a while, with Aris looking for some souvenirs for his family. After a few metres, we came across a larger souvenir shop and most of the souvenirs were bought immediately. I found my personal souvenir of Australia in the Spirit of Australia Gallery, where I was immediately drawn into the shop by a large painting by the artist Anthony Walker. Although I couldn’t afford the large-scale “Turtle Increase Song Cycle”, I ended up going home with a smaller format of the same painting.


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Milsons Point and Darling Harbour

After my fantastic visit to Luna Park Sydney, Aris and I had enough time to explore the area a little bit before heading to our motel. We stayed at the Garden Lodge Sydney, which was a budget motel right next to a busy highway. Due to its location close to a light rail and a commuter train station it was an ideal starting point to explore the city.

Soon after we arrived at the motel, we took the light train towards Darling Harbour, where we visited the local Hard Rock Café for a delicious meal. By the time we stepped out of the restaurant, the sun had set, and Darling Harbour showed itself to us as a great nightlife location. We continued our first exploration tour of Sydney by crossing the heritage listed Pyrmont Bridge, before we admired the remains of the Metro Monorail – a failed mode of transport built in the 1980s, which became a tourist attraction towards the end of its life – with its modern looking stations; if you don’t know the story, you might think that they would built a new mode of transport very soon and already started with the stations.

We continued our walk towards the Westfield Centre, which is home to the Sydney Tower. While the Trippas White Group is operating the facilities bars and restaurants, Merlin Entertainments takes care of the operation deck Sydney Tower Eye. Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late to have a night-time view onto the city.

As it was quite a long day, we returned to the hotel shortly thereafter.

Pictures Sydney Milsons Point and Darling Harbour


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