30 September, 2014
Santa Monica Pier
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Today we plan to use the Hop On Hop Off bus to explore Los Angeles, and we have carefully checked the different routes so we can connect up with the sights we most want to see. After a light breakfast at the hotel, we set off to catch the Red Bus that stopped almost opposite our hotel on Sunset Boulevarde – and we were off on our adventure. Our first stop was the Farmers Market which is a huge and mostly under cover market with all types of wares and food, and numerous food courts. Coffee was top of our list (not very good coffee at our hotel) before we rejoined the bus for a tour around the Hollywood area.
The vibrant Farmers Markets getting ready for another busy day
I was really wanting to see the “Hollywood” sign in the hills, just to believe I was really there, and although we were a distance away the sign was clear to see. Difficult to take photographs from the top of the bus, between the trees and buildings, but I managed to capture a few shots of the famous sign. We then drove along Hollywood Boulevarde past the Pantages Theatre where Bob Dylan was playing, the famous Hollywood & Vine street sign, the Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripleys Believe It or Not, and the elegant El Capitan Theatre.
The famous corner of Hollywood Boulevarde and Vine Street
Soon it was time for us to change from the Red Bus to the Yellow Bus that took us to the west coast and we hopped off at Santa Monica beach. We walked down to the fun Santa Monica Pier and wandered along almost to the end, before finding a coffee shop to have a snack. Being on the pier gave us a great view back to the main boulevarde and the beach, and opportunities for photographs.
Then it was time for the Green Bus ride past Venice and out to the Marina Del Rey, a very impressive area with a massive marina crammed with yachts of all sizes, and beautiful views across the water. After a short stop we headed back through quirky Venice Beach with its colourful murals and Santa Monica pier – to change back to the Red Bus and return to Los Angeles. By this time it was getting late and we decided to finish our tour and catch a cab back to our hotel, after a fabulous day seeing so much of Los Angeles and surrounds.
Colourful murals on a shop in Venice Beach
There were a number of eating places near our hotel, and we chose the Saddle Ranch Chop House which was almost opposite – because it sounded like fun. And it was. It was a large restaurant, with a central bar, and a Bucking Bronco taking pride of place. A young man attempted to ride it during the evening, with very limited success! Then we were serenaded by a young male duo, one on guitar the other on the violin playing the Beatles song “Let It Be”. The meal was very good, but we were quite tired so were not interested in a late night, as we had a very early alarm call the next morning, when we start our two night coach tour to San Francisco and Yosemite Park.
A serenade from a musical duo at the Saddle Ranch Chop House