California is a pretty interesting state to visit as there is a large Latin American influence and many people speak in Spanish. California was originally colonized by Spain (who also colonized most of Latin America) and built a string of religious Missions along the coast in the 1500's. This was followed by Mexican rule until California became part of America in the mid 1800's. LA is a diverse city comprising of many contrasting suburbs, and it's hard to believe they are all part of the same city.
We stayed in an apartment we booked via Airbnb in West Hollywood, a short stroll away from Hollywood Boulevard and not so far from the infamous hilltop sign. This area has a retro, dated feel, and lots going on. After exploring the Hollywood Walk of Fame we had dinner in a fun 1960’s diner (they even had a veggie burger for Lucy).
Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive are where the rich and famous live, Paul and I felt a little bit like impostors walking along here! Paul was pretty excited by all the supercars in a three block radius. And a trip to LA wouldn't be complete without going to see the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, we found the mansion but unfortunately Will Smith was out! There are so many extravagant mansions this side of LA, housing the stars of Hollywood.
Santa Monica Pier situated on the large and popular beach, was a beautiful spot to visit in the evening and a little more down to earth than the Beverly Hills side of town. The warm night air had lots of people out, wandering down and fishing off the pier and almost everyone speaking in Spanish. We almost felt like we were back in South America again. A stroll down third street promenade meant a giant martini was on the cards...strawberry and mango - very delicious!
A visit to Universal Studios was a great day, which comprised of a Studio Tour and theme park entry. The studio tour was great, we even saw some sets we recognised (!) The theme park incorporated recently released movies with state of the art rides and 4D technology. For people who aren't big theme park lovers, we loved it! Disneyland was our final stop in LA, known as the 'happiest place on earth,' after some more rides and beautiful weather, the evening water show and fireworks finished the day nicely!