After a manic 3 days going here, there and everywhere I had almost forgotten that I was starting my trek the next day and was hit with the realisation that I was still tired after a good nights sleep. This traveling lark soon catches up with you so when Kim and I had a fairly slow morning I was more than happy to plod along not having anything in particular to do that day but get to our hotel for the night in Downtown LA.
I’ve mentioned the Hostel we stayed in a few times in the past few blog posts but I really did enjoy my stay at USA Hostels Hollywood, it was in a great location and had some really good trips you could take part in for free which I wished I had more time to make the most of. The staff were super friendly and everyone that I came across was happy to help in whatever it was I needed; from getting a cab to showing us which direction we needed to go. I would highly recommend this hostel if you are heading to the Hollywood area as it’s safe, secure and not too expensive. There is also a really nice patio that you can sit and chill in even if you’ve checked out, we decided to make the most of the WiFi and give ourselves some time to decide what we were going to for the day, Kim also needed to book her Vegas side of the trip so we enjoyed a bit of sunshine whilst she contemplated which hotel on the strip offered the best deal.
We then had a final walk around the shops that were by the Dolby Theatre and decided to stop for some lunch at Loteria Grill a Mexican restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s recommended in the Lonely Planet LA guide and I’d heard that the Mexican food in LA was pretty good and it’s a 5 minute walk from the hostel (even better!). I had spicy chicken tacos and rice and we shared a side of “chips” and guacamole washed down with a nice Corona. Not for the first time on this trip I was loving the food, the rice was so sticky and yummy and complemented the spicy chicken perfectly, I would definitely like to visit here again and try more of there menu.
We decided to catch a cab to our next hotel (the Kawada) in Downtown LA as we both had our big bags and a rucksack and after dealing with the buses from Venice beach we both were happy to have a car to ourselves even if it did cost a little extra. When we arrived at the Kawada it was safe to say we weren’t expecting luxury, we’d both had a look on Trip Advisor and there were some awful reviews of this place and rightly so. I mean it wasn’t horrendous as some people made out, but it was old, dull and crying for a refurbishment. I suppose I could cope for one night. I was sharing a room with someone from my trek so I finally remembered that in the morning I’d be meeting a few new faces that I would be spending the next fortnight with which was exciting and nerve-racking.
After meeting Maria (a girl on my trek) and giving each other the low down of one another we decided to take a look around Downtown LA and see the few sights that it had to offer. It was totally different from Hollywood with the skyline mirroring that of what I imagine New York to look like. In a way I felt like it was a lot more welcoming and a whole lot less touristy than Hollywood. We wandered up to the Walt Disney Concert Hall which, although it was a cool piece of architecture, it really was just a big ‘ol metal building but Hey Ho I’ve seen it now! We were all rather thirsty as it was stupidly hot (again) so I asked a nice lady if there was a Starbucks nearby, we walked to Grand Central park which I was actually quite taken aback by. In the midst of this crazy city and massive landscape there was a cute little park with a water fountain in the middle. It was so peaceful and family friendly. I really did like that part of LA.
I also love this picture (not that it’s particularly good on my part) but because the building at the bottom of the park is perfectly central and it just looks so cool. (Lame I know) After a nice walk and a refreshing ice tea (I love that stuff!) we caught the bus down towards the shopping district in the hopes of finding a shopping mall.
This is were I discovered Macy’s. (Uh oh!)
Well, going in there not intending on buying anything I was soon browsing with the need to buy something, my will power is not great. Unfortunately my backpack I took with me had a broken strap (it was stupidly heavy) so I really did have to buy a new one. When you see 40% off and then the nice lady behind the counter says there’s an extra discount on bags too it’d be silly to say no! I have an unhealthy addiction to bags so going into the bag section could have been disastrous. I only left with one though (mum would be proud!) a pretty Steve Madden backpack that I was planning on using for the rest of my trek. It was also a bargain so I felt pretty pleased with myself as we walked back onto the high street.
After our (controlled) shopping experience we were all getting rather peckish so went on the hunt for somewhere to eat. We stayed on Hill Street were there really weren’t many decent looking restaurants so we ended up asking a nice man where he suggested we should go. He mentioned a street not far away so we took a short walk to Spring street and found a cute little cafe simply called LA Cafe. It had a nice little seating area outside that we took a spot on once we ordered. If you ever go here I highly recommend the Chicken Pesto Panini, it was to die for and the amount of fries I got was enough to feed a small army. Jees the Americans pile on the fries! I also got a banana and chocolate smoothie, it was so nice and tasted really fresh.
After a rather slow paced day we all decided to call it a night as we all had to be up fairly early. Sadly it was my last day with Kim and I was sad to say goodbye to her, we had a great few days exploring a city that was foreign to the both of us. It’s amazing how just being a bit brave and asking a few questions can lead to making some great memories with some interesting people. Her next stop was Vegas where she could really let her hair down and mine was San Diego and the first day of Trek America!