We woke up today in someone’s home. What a privilege! With the use of their kitchen, Jimmy was able to run to Trader Joe’s around the corner and get some milk and bananas to eat with the cereal I brought. Of course, he also came back with donuts – Yum-Yum donuts. We noticed a lot of different donut joints all over L.A. Los Angeles’ers (is that what you call them?) must like donuts.
We have a few destinations in mind for the day – the iconic Hollywood sign, the Santa Monica pier, and an LA Galaxy soccer game.
We hit the Hollywood sign first. Thankfully, I watched a few YouTube videos about how to get the best photo spot of the sign. Apparently, the residents who live in the neighborhood near the sign have erected their own warnings and obstacles to keep people out. You can actually hike all the way up to the area behind the sign but we were just looking for a spot to take good pictures from below.
We drove to Lake Hollywood Park (3160 N. Canyon Drive) and started trekking up the hill. It’s pretty steep at the beginning but the views are excellent.
In the picture to the left, you can see the steep hill we parked on and the grassy area of the park.
After the park, we meandered through the neighborhood looking for Mulholland. When we found Mulholland Hwy, we followed it until the paved road became a dirt road.
At the end of the dirt road, we found the Deronda gate. The gate looks ominous but you can simply walk around it to the left. There we saw a police officer ticketing a car.
We heard that this was common so don’t try to drive your car up to the sign.
We had a good time getting pictures – some serious ones and some silly ones.
It probably only took about 30-45 minutes to hike round trip so in my opinion, it was worth it. We also got to see some pretty houses and landscaping along the way.
Next, we headed back to the apartment to make lunch and prepare for the remainder of the day. We’d see pretty quickly that we’d need that rest to fight against L.A.
Around 3 p.m., we headed out for the Santa Monica pier. Some friends in NC who are native Californians told me that the traffic is bad in L.A. – “leave extra time to get where you want to go.” They weren’t kidding! Our GPS said that Santa Monica is 32 miles from the apartment but an hour drive. Once we got close to Santa Monica, we hit very heavy traffic and very crazy drivers. Jimmy navigated the roads very well. Of course, parking in a “touristy” city is hard to find. At one point, we found a parking garage and headed up to find a spot. We didn’t get very far.
On the first level, our car top carrier hit the top of the parking garage. Thankfully, Jimmy only hit the front when he realized we couldn’t go any further. We were stuck in a very busy parking garage trying to back up and get out without damaging the car top carrier. I had to direct traffic and Jimmy was able to turn around. No more parking garages for us.
I had read online about the Original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. The kids started complaining when I told them about it but once we got to it, they loved it. Venice beach, the more well-known muscle beach, is just south of Santa Monica but apparently this muscle beach is the “Original.” They had all kinds of gymnastics equipment and balance ropes on the beach. The kids had fun taking their turn at the ropes and the rings. There are experts that spend all day at the equipment either showing off or helping beginners “learn the ropes.” (Bada bing!).”
Look at that form! (Don’t tell anyone – but do you notice the guy sitting on the rope? That stabilizes it and makes it a lot of easier to balance yourself.)
We had to quickly get back to our van (the meter was going to run out) so we could only get a quick shot of the Santa Monica Pier in the background.
Our third stop of the day was the LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake men’s professional soccer game at 7:30 p.m. I found the tickets on StubHub at a reasonable price. We planned to make a quick detour to In-N-Out Burger for dinner before the game. We’d seen In-N-Outs since Texas but we only wanted to go to our first one in California.
Let’s just say that my son, Nate, nicknamed it “In-N-Never Out” Burger because it took so long for the food to come. When you have all these people with special orders, it’s a recipe for disaster. After waiting for a while, I had to go to the car and wait. The restaurant was such a buzz of energy that it was stressing me out. Chick-fil-A is just as busy but at In-N-Out, the food line is visible to customers making it seem more chaotic. I knew that with the traffic and the slow service at In-N-Out, we were going to be late for the game. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.
Once we parked at the Stubhub Center for the game, we ran (me in my cute shoes) to the entrance. Our seats were fabulous. Originally, all we could afford was the top row of the stadium. We debated whether it was worth it to see the game from the top row. I kept checking back with Stubhub to see if better seats came up. They sure did – exactly six seats in the first row of the mezzanine. The mezzanine level hung over the lower level and in the first row, you had a great view of the whole field. For soccer lovers like us, you could really see the tactical play of the game from a great angle. Thank you, Lord!
The L.A. Galaxy won 3-0. Two of their goals were scored by their star forward, Zlatan Ibrahimavic, a 6’5” controversial player from Sweden. Here’s some of his outrageous quotes:
“I can’t help but laugh at how perfect I am.” Can you spot him in the middle of the photo?
“Swedish style? No. Yugoslavian style? Of course not. It has to be Zlatan-style.” Here’s his header goal – Zlatan style:
For each goal he scored, the announcer would yell, “Goal scored by ZLAAAAATAAAAN….”
The crowd would respond with,” IBRAAAHIIIIIMOOOVIIIIICH!”
The announcer, “Thank you.”
The crowd, “You’re welcome.”
It was a fun back and forth after each goal – so much so that the kids keep repeating it.
We got out of the game around 9:45 p.m. and believe it or not, we hit traffic heading north back to Burbank. Ohhhhhh! L.A. traffic! My friends were right!
Thank you, Lord, for another great day!