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California - June 2022 - Day 8

Another night after the day before and the big question was how would I feel today? To start with I felt fine which was a good start.

I had forgotten it was Father’s Day until checking my phone where I found a lovely message from Barry and then also another one from Ellie. Although we had only facetimed them yesterday morning, we were both missing them both (and even Neil even though he would be reluctant to admit it). The time we all spend together is so precious. They however seemed to be having a lovely day at Ellie’s grandparents with her family and sent through lots of photos which made us smile.

We both feel blessed that they never show any jealousy in our travels and indeed seem to take pleasure in seeing and hearing about them. They are always actively encouraging us to do more. We also feel blessed that sometimes they want to and are able to come along with us. Roll on October for our next time.

The only downside with the hotel was that there was no breakfast and indeed in what might have been a first for a USA hotel the room no facility to make a hot drink. So instead, we went down to the Sweet Corner coffee shop which was on the corner of the hotel.

As the name implied it only sold sweet things. Karen & Neil had a Banana Nut Muffin whilst upon advice from Karen I had to break my sugar embargo to have a Chocolate Muffin to try and bolster me for the day. The muffins were freshly made, not too sweet and were delicious as was the Hot Breakfast Tea. As ever Karen declared that Ellie would like this place as well.

We then headed to the Hollywood Hills. It has been an ambition for Neil for years to climb up to the sign and he had found a safe’ish walking trail that didn’t involve wild mountain lions or snakes. The plan had been for Karen & I to walk it with him. We drove up the hills to Lake Hollywood Park which was very close to the sign. We got out to take some photos.

Now from here it was 1 mile to the start of the trail which itself then was another 1.3 miles up a tarmac path. Very maturely after yesterday and also with my dodgy knee I decided that perhaps I should not do the walk even though I was very keen to do so. Karen to be truthful had never been that keen so declined as well. We decided to drive Neil to the start of the trail to start him off and then meet him back at the park.

The road was lined by signs saying no through road and local traffic only all of which had been put by the locals themselves to discourage tourists. We knew there was no parking beyond the park but ventured on up the twisty road. Apparently, the locals also keep removing the trail from Google Maps also to pretend it doesn’t exist. I know it must be annoying for them but no one asked them to buy an expensive house in the Hollywood Hills under the blinking sign known throughout the world.

After dropping Neil off we made our back down and then up again and then finally down to the park. Neither of us fancied that part of the walk along the road alone the trail itself.

We went and sat in the park for about 40 minutes. It was beautiful. Whilst we sat in the shade of a pretty yellow tree, we had a hummingbird buzzing around our head which was lovely to watch.

It took Neil about 1 hr and 20 minutes before he got back to us. He was extremely happy and pleased with himself in reaching the top and taking some fabulous photos and videos through the letters of the sign. He thought that if I had been fighting fit then I should have been able to manage it which I was not sure whether to be happy or sad about.

Then we drove east to the Fairfax Farmers Market for lunch. I closed my eyes when I took the parking ticket and tried not to think of the cost especially as we planned to leave the car here for the rest of the day.

We had been here before a few years back when I had had a proper ‘paddy’ over getting into the car park and then not being able to find a place. Karen & Neil reminded me I had taken my anger out on all of them and compared the place to Snetterton market and had asked why were we wasting our time here. I was wrong then and apologised again.

In fact, it was nothing like Snetterton although Karen did try to compare it to Norwich market at one point. It is far far better than either. It is a high-quality multiple-choice food market with dozens of stalls with tables to sit at in between. Even I was spoilt for choice. In the end I went for an all-day breakfast which was delicious. Karen had a Turkey Breast Sandwich and Neil went for the hot Corned Beef (not as we know it) Sandwich. Karen then got us both a good cup of tea.

Whilst eating I had yet another episode for a few minutes, this soon passed and proved to be the only one of the day which is very good.

It was then almost time for our scheduled tickets at the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum which was just under a mile walk away. It was just far enough along the flat for my knee which is a vast improvement on a week ago. The twice daily ice packs must be helping.

The museum hadn’t been open long and was in a re-used building. The first challenge was not only was mask wearing compulsory inside but we also had to show our vaccination certificates which would have caught us out bar the fact we had all added them to our Apple Wallets on our phones. Again, we all complied but I did wonder why they were still being so strict in some places and not others

The museum was OK but definitely ranks at third of the three we have visited this trip. There were too many screens just showing clips from classic movies and lots of writing to read. It wasn’t until we got to the final 2 floors that we came across artifacts from various movies. Some of the costumes were great including the original R2D2 and C3PO ones. They had the genuine ET as well as Wallis & Gromit on display. There was also the only Cowardly Lion mask from The Wizard of Oz.

Overall, though it was a tad disappointing. It could have been so much better. Karen & I were just glad we had managed to get a $10 reduction with our student cards. There was also no café and the shop was closed as their till systems were down.

Outside the building we walked to the LACMA (Los Angeles County Modern Arts Museum). Now this was never going to get my custom with my distain for modern namby pamby trash that they try to call art, which I just say is stuff that should be put in a skip. Nevertheless, they did have a free outside Urban Light installation which was many close rows of street lamps which I had to admit wasn’t bad.

We waited next to these whilst Neil wandered off to look at some bubbling tar pits a few blocks away. No, I had never heard of them either. This is an area in the middle of LA where tar is bubbling to the surface and they keep finding the remains of large animal like mammoths that perished there. Most peculiar.

When he returned, we walked through the rest of the free outside exhibits of the LACMA. The only things I can recall were some decent statues of the Chinese Years figures (we found the Tiger which is ours and the Rat which is Neil’s), and a large rock you walk under. It is supposed to be a levitating rock and it is supposed to make you contemplate life as you walk under it. More preposterous nonsense.

We wandered the mile back to the Farmers Market and stopped for a well-earned cuppa. Then walked the short additional distance to The Grove, which is an outside upmarket shopping/restaurant area. It is very well done and very busy. There was a live band playing by the fountain which made for a good atmosphere.

Our restaurant of choice was The Cheesecake Factory and we were pleased to find there was only a 30 minute wait. We wandered around soaking up the sounds and sights before returning to wait. We were seated after about 40 minutes.

I had an enormous Chicken Caesar Salad, Karen went for an omelette which was big as well and came with a bagel and potatoes. Neil had a pasta chicken type thing that he really enjoyed. They both ordered the obligatory slice of cheesecake that they took away to eat back in our rooms.

We caught up on a few holiday chores before turning the lights out at 10pm.

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