Monday, 23 April 2012

Santa Monica & Venice Beach

We landed in LA at 5:30am and it was simply freezing! After spending eight days in temperatures that didn't drop below 22 degrees, 6 degrees was a shock to our flip flopped feet!

We had a coffee and got a bus to the car hire depot to pick up our chariot for the week. We weren't disappointed with the chrome rims and key fob engine start!


We checked into our hotel and had a power nap before hitting the road and heading to Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica is a city in its own right but is connected to and surrounded by LA on all land sides. It is a great mix of old and new buildings, with small 1920s industrial unit restored into private dwellings, coffee shops and retail units.

But there is one main attraction in Santa Monica; the beach. Its huge!

A bit busy!

The pier is synonymous with Santa Monica.  Opened in 1909, it attracts over 4 million visitors annually, and has featured in countless films and TV shows.
Added in the 1940s
The pier is home to numerous stalls, restaurants and amusements, as well as the iconic Big Wheel


Crushed green velvet and basketball boots. Nice!

Even the dogs have accessories!

In the 1930s, Joe Gold (the founder of the legendary Gold's Gym) started to work out of the beach front, giving birth to Muscle Beach. Today, muscle beach no longer has the Mr Universe types pumping ridiculous lumps of iron, but instead has people practicing gymnastics on the rings, bars and sprung floor grass (seriously!!) , or Capoeira, a Brazilian non contact martial art.


Make my arms longer!
When your legs are tired....

Another world famous place  no one has heard of! 

The Boardwalk from Santa Monica to Venice Beach is also home to the 'best corndogs in the world'. So we tried one. Having never eaten one before we can safely say they were the best we have ever eaten!

After our 'lunch' we needed a little sit down. I sat on the beach, Amy found something a little grander! 

On the throne

The Boardwalk is split into two main sections; one for bikes and skaters (and the odd segway) and one for pedestrians. 

The bike lane

One thing that is fairly unique to the LA beaches is the bikes that are that the locals ride.  There is the odd mountain or road bike, but most are 'beach cruisers' and many of these are customised, some even have sound systems! 

The closer we got to Venice, the more bizarre the sights were!

Who knows?!
The best place to buy your rasta-wear!

Venice is home to many artists, musicians and those who prefer an alternative lifestyle. 'Medicinal' cannabis stores outnumber cafes, street vendors sell 'art' and street performers dance, read your palm and even create sand sculptures (the sign is the best ever!)

Interesting requests!

One of the benefits to having many artisans in the area is that the drab and dreary buildings lining the promenade have been given a So-Cal makeover, which makes Venice the best outdoor art gallery since the lanes of Melbourne!



A little overly ostentatious?


Even the sky is nicely saturated for once!

Entrance to the skate park is a constantly changing wall of art
Another famous area of Venice is the skate park. Completed in 2009, it cost over $3.5m, and 
spans over 16,000 sq ft. It has a street section, 2 bowls and a snake run, and is constantly busy! 

He didn't land a single one!

There was one kid, about 8 or 9 years
 old who was riding the bowls.
Simply fearless and landed everything
he attempted - and he went so high! 

Big Hair

As we walked the few miles back to Santa Monica, the evening brought out more and more people, with even more obscure hobbies!

I'm spinning around.....

Yep - they really are disco dancing in retro skates!
A rollerblading Jimi Hendrix!

All in all, a very interesting experience!

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