After yet another long hiatus, I’m back with a vengeance. Having had the most amazing summer of my life, slowly university coursework and my job are calling me back to reality. So I feel like now is the perfect time to share with you what I’ve been up to, as I have been reflecting on my experiences (and procrastinating doing my coursework).
The City of Angels
Los Angeles. It has always been a dream of mine to go there, but it remained just that, a dream, until a FaceTime session with my mum in late May where she announced she had organised it all and we’d just need to book flights now.
So book flights we did. University finished on July 14th and on the 17th, my mum, sister, and I, were at Heathrow to fly to LA. I love flying and just this summer I will have been on 11 flights in two months but my first long haul flight was everything I expected and more. Not an hour went by without a food cart being rolled down the aisle or free drinks being offered. We landed in LA 11 hours later tired and slightly bloated but happy. Although I love the luxury of staying in a hotel, it was so nice to stay with my Aunt in Pasadena, and experience the ‘real’ LA and not have to rely on tourist information.
The two week trip to California took us to Santa Cruz, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Downtown LA to name but a few, not forgetting the many, many Starbucks’ we stopped at and kept in business along the way.
I didn’t really know what to expect in Pasadena and what we would find but IT WAS AMAZING. It was such an immaculate city, and Old Pasadena had all the shops you need, yes, Sephora is a necessity! What I loved most, was the number of cafes and restaurants because I am a bit of a self-confessed foodie in that I do judge a holiday or a city by the food I’ve had (amongst other things). The vegetarian food was so good it even convinced me to transition back to vegetarianism but there’ll be more about that in another post.
There was a cinema with the most amazing concept. You go down some escalators and into a bar and seated area where a jazz band was playing. The theatres thenselves seated less than 50 people, with everyone having a red velvet reclining chair and a button to press to order food and drinks from the bar. I usually hate going to the cinema: sure, I like seeing new movies but why would I go with a date or friends to spend money on shitty food and sit in silence in the dark for the next two hours? This, however, is something that I would definitely do again and I haven’t come across in the UK or Germany yet but I’ll keep my eyes open.
Brain food was also a requirement of the trip and the Getty Centre not only showcases art but is a work of art in itself. I mean look at the photos, if all art galleries looked like this I would have gone to so many more over the years but that is definitely one of my personal goals, to do more cultural things both in my own city and when travelling. I loved the David Hockney exhibit, unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take photos inside, but he’s a contemporary British artist and his self portraits and polaroid compositions were so fascinating and inspiring. The gardens were immaculate, as was the building itself and immediately made me feel so calm and centred, it was almost like art itself.
One of the best meals of my life without a doubt was in the Greenleaf restaurant in Venice. Did you appreciate my non-food related interlude? I love when amazing food is also so healthy but not pictured is the artisan doughnuts (donuts?) from Blue Star Bakery. I’m not usually a fan of doughnuts but this was not an opportunity I could pass up on so I chose a chocolate and crushed hazelnut glazed doughnut, my aunt had a matcha doughnut that tasted surprisingly good and my mum and sister had a classic buttermilk glazed doughnut that I could have eaten ten of.
These are only small snippets of the trip, there was also our 12-hour-one-way road trip to Santa Cruz where we stopped off in Santa Barbara and the vista point where we saw elephant seals. Then there was the beach in Malibu, our window-shopping only Rodeo Drive experience, West Hollywood and seeing a few famous faces and eating a retaurant that my parents went to in their 20s. Sometimes however it is nice to just put the phone down and appreciate the views and live the experience.
The experience I didn’t enjoy however, was the return trip. Apart from obvious reasons like my leaving LA, when we landed in Heathrow, I was supposed to have a connecting flight to Hamburg but my luggage couldn’t be transferred on so I had to get my suitcase and drag it across the airport to another terminal where I discovered my flight had been cancelled. Fucking fantastic. In the end I managed to get a connecting flight over Düsseldorf so I at least got home that night but three flights in one day was more than enough for me…until a week later where I flew to the Amalfi Coast with my dad and sister.