It’s about time that I finally shared our honeymoon photos from 2015. I can’t believe I can officially say it was last year (almost 4 months ago to be precise). Where on earth has the time gone?! Looking back through all the images and re-living all those wonderful memories has made me super happy. Let’s be honest, I flick through them fairly regularly but actually having to carefully select and edit some of my favourites for these next few blog posts has just reminded me how bloomin’ lucky I was to visit California with my husband and also how desperate I am to go back. These posts won’t be full of flawless, instagram-worthy photos documenting every last detail of our trip, but I’ll warn you now that they will still be pretty lengthy. This truly was the trip of a lifetime and I hope you enjoy having a peek into our epic adventure!
Monday 28th September 2015
We arrived in Los Angeles at around midday and it took us a good couple of hours to get out of the airport and into our hire car. The weather was absolutely beautiful as we drove along the highway on route to our hotel, the roads lined with palm trees and a glimpse of the Hollywood sign in the distance. I’ve visited America before (New York and Florida) so it all felt somewhat familiar but at the same time also quite different because LA was absolutely huge. Everything was very spread out so having a car in this place is an absolute must.
We stayed at the Comfort Inn Santa Monica in West Los Angeles. Our room was basic but comfortable and spacious. Breakfast was also included (a very simple one) but gave us a convenient, quick and easy start to each day. We didn’t stay in any particularly “fancy” hotels at all on this trip as we wanted to keep the costs down and weren’t going to be spending an awful lot of time indoors. We only needed to stay 2 nights in each place so our main priority was good location without the price tag. As you can see the Comfort Inn had excellent reviews and did the job perfectly for us.
After taking an hour or so to settle into our room and freshen up after the long flight, we spent our first evening exploring Santa Monica. Our hotel was roughly 2 miles from the beach and main shopping area so we decided to walk which took about 40 minutes each way. We had a brief wander around the shops and across to the beach before deciding to go all out on the American cuisine and stuff ourselves full of fast food. Jet lag was well and truly starting to kick in at this point so we decided to head back to our hotel and rest up before our first full day in LA.
Tuesday 29th September 2015
We woke up on Tuesday morning ready to explore. We didn’t make any real plans, other than that we wanted to drive around and soak in as much of LA as we could, as well as find some awesome thrift stores for a spot of shopping. We weren’t massively interested in Hollywood and didn’t prioritise going there but as we happened to be driving in that general direction, we decided to park up and go for a coffee. Hollywood Boulevard certainly wasn’t as glamorous as you would imagine. It was absolutely packed full of tourists (one of the reasons why we weren’t that interested in the first place), with locals on every corner shoving leaflets under our noses, trying to sell every overpriced sightseeing tour imaginable. We pottered along until we found a coffee shop, then continued to pop in and out of shops before stopping for lunch. Making the most of free WiFi and Google maps, we found some thrift stores on nearby Melrose Avenue that looked promising and went on our way. We made the decision to walk in case we came across any other places of interest but later started to regret that decision as it was insanely hot. Let me tell you again, you should drive everywhere and accept the fact that you’ll spend a fair amount of cash on parking. Maybe we just went to the wrong places but we didn’t really enjoy roaming the streets and got the impression that most areas were very run down and didn’t feel particularly safe. We did have a successful little shopping trip though so the sweaty walk was worth it in the end.
During our time in the Hollywood and Melrose Ave area, we made a spur of the moment decision to visit the Griffith Observatory in time for sunset. I remembered seeing this place on Pinterest and YouTube before we had left for our trip and I am so glad we decided to go there.
This was by far my favourite part of our time in Los Angeles. The gorgeous sunset and views over the city were absolutely breathtaking. I definitely wish we had spent more time in the hills and perhaps gone for a hike, as the atmosphere was really pleasant and enjoyable from above the hectic city streets.
We ended the night celebrating our 7th anniversary at a fancy Italian restaurant, a few blocks from our hotel, which happened to be completely empty!
Wednesday 30th September 2015
On our last morning in Los Angeles we drove over to Venice Beach to see the famous ocean front skate park and to wander through the historic canal district. The skate park was just as impressive in real life so we hung around and people watched for a few minutes before continuing along the boardwalk. Unfortunately we again felt a little vulnerable and unsafe in this area. We had been told to avoid Venice beach at night as it becomes especially dangerous but even at 11am the atmosphere was a little tense and not what we had hoped. The place was filled with homeless people and unusual characters who made us feel quite uncomfortable. LA in general appeared to have an immeasurable problem with homelessness and the vast divide between the rich and the poor was one of the things we massively disliked about the city.
Once we had left the beach, we made our way across to the canals and it immediately felt like we were worlds away from the rest of LA. We walked alongside the most incredible houses and across tiny little bridges, enjoying the peace and quiet for a few moments.
After our morning in Venice we decided to begin the 4 hour journey north to our next destination, Sequoia National Park.
We weren’t quite sure what to make of our brief visit to Los Angeles. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t really live up to the hype. We were shocked by the level of homelessness and how dangerous parts of the city felt. Perhaps we visited the wrong areas or didn’t do enough research beforehand but it was a little disappointing. I would probably go back again if I had the opportunity, since I know we only experienced a small portion of LA, but the rest of our trip was so much more incredible.
*99% of these beautiful photos were captured by my husband, George Selman.
Up next: Sequoia National Park.