Monday, 25 May 2015

San Diego

They have squirly lampposts in San Diego

and olde worlde lampposts in the Gaslamp district

The skyscrapers looked great against the sky.

But we had Old Town on our itinerary so with the help of some very kind and helpful Americans we worked out which trolley to catch

and what a great little place! You could easily spend a morning here.

"Historic Old Town San Diego, the Birthplace of California, where the first Europeans settled.What was it like in California in 1850?
History is waiting for you with over 17 historic points of interest and the finest in professional theatre,  museums, artisans, galleries and shops all within easy walking distance with free live entertainment, mariachis, dancers and more."

Blacksmiths and tractors and waggons and all things wild west.

Snackbars (O'HUNGRY'S!)

Beautiful purple jacaranda trees

and great slogans.

Next up.... took the bus to Balboa Park. 
We could easily have spent all day here. Large open spaces, fountains, green trees, bright blue sky.

We thought this was a great looking exhibition but it turned out to be one piddly painting, about the size of that R, haha :)

What happened next was quite amusing and was reminiscent of Oslo, where we took a tram into the middle of nowhere near anywhere we intended to be (a beach) meaning we got off it and got on the next one back again this time getting off at an interesting looking place called Plaza with huge skyscaping hotels and swish shops and the harbour and people lying on the grass flying kites. 

San Diego.... loved it...big tick.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

L.A. in a day...

After Mexico, we re-entered the U.S. and docked at Long Beach. This meant "EVERYBODY OFF THE SHIP PLEASE" and we all had to go through customs again (that was a grilling and a half, honestly) so after we had pacified Mr Snarly and convinced him we had no Mexican drugs on us and we in fact WERE flying home again soon and here are the flight tickets to prove it,  we had a quick look round the QUEEN MARY, which is now a "floating" hotel in Long Beach.

 The original fitness room on Queen Mary looked like this.

Anyway we wanted to see L.A.
(things I thought I'd never say)
so we booked a whistle stop minibus tour. 

The minibus came at 8.30am. It was great, it had comfortable seats, it had huge windows, it had good air con, and 14 of us was a nice number to get around Los Angeles in a day... bring it on!

First stop...

The very first Superbowl game was played here.

It was the home of NFL teams the Rams and the Raiders until they outgrew it.

Looking at that link, I wish we'd had chance to look around the stadium properly, it looks amazing.
This gives no idea of size at all.

Do the headless statues of athletes mean the Olympics is all about muscle and strength and no brains are needed?

The panel on the left of the entrance was donated by Greece, the panel on the right was donated by Rome.

Back in the bus, we passed the Civic Hall, used as the Daily Planet in the Spiderman film.

Our first glimpse of the starred pavement on Hollywood Boulevard.

The Hollywood and Vine crossroads.

"If you see any White Vans it means there is filming going on." 

so...they were filming something somewhere!
The white vans are used for all the filming equipment.

As we approached the Dolby Theatre (home of the Academy Awards) we could see the crowds gathering and the red carpet was out...

They were anticipating the arrival of an AMERICA'S GOT TALENT judge.

...And here she is... ...

Oh my goodness it's HEIDI KLUM!

Heidi Klum!

(Yukyin filled me in on who she was and then I googled her. )
(And then last week I saw her shop in Cheshire Oaks wotahoot.)

Photo taken.... so now...up the escalators into the Hollywood and Highland mall. A three-story shopping/dining/entertainment complex.

From the balcony we could see the Hollywood sign.

Guess who said this? 
There are plenty of these to quiz you as you wander round.

More walking on The Walk-of Fame!

The Barrymore family have SEVEN STARS!!!
And it was the first star I photographed :)

Husb is looking very pleased with himself...

He didn't do the hand though...


Even people-shy celebs such as Jacko must show up in person at their star unveiling if they want the honour of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Chinese Theatres is the most sought-after theatre in Hollywood for studio premieres. Fans flock to these events to see the celebrities arrive and walk up the red carpet into the theatre. Rich in movie tradition, with its cement handprints and footprints in the forecourt, the Chinese Theatre immortalizes the brightest stars. More than four million visitors from all over the world visit The Chinese Theatre every year.

Back on the bus we drove past Tom Cruise's house on the top of the hill  (it is up for sale if you are interested)

and the car wash where the film CARWASH was filmed.

Lunch at Mel's Diner.
With a bit of SNAPCHAT.

A high protein chip toastie and a fruity cottage cheese chip toastie.

on directors' chairs.

We continued through Beverly Hills and very slowly along the luxurious  Rodeo Drive

(minibuses aren't allowed to stop)

and soon arrived at Santa Monica beach where we promptly had our heads blown off.

I temporarily had a fringe.

but WOW.

and then on to .....oooooh ......Muscle Beach/Venice Beach,..... the birthplace of the physical fitness boom in the US, which actually started with gymnastics on the pier in 1934. 
It is now famous for the body builders.

I tried to build my body, hmmmm...

and even tried to get in for a quick go on the machines but I wasn't strong enough.

So I planked precariously on the back of a bench.

This is a bit of little Venice. (a canal!)


and then back to Star Princess to wave bye to Queen Mary.