The next day felt very long, mainly because I discovered a new time in the morning called 7am. We did not get on. But it was not a surprise, our past acquaintances hadn’t worked out either.
It takes a lot to get me up and out before 8am, but the prospect of the Huckleberry Bakery with my travel buddy’s family did the trick. By 8.30am the place had started to fill up so the early start turned out to be necessary. After my breakfast of ginger cake, cinnamon rolls, strawberry pie and scrambled egg with fresh orange juice, we attempted to use a Mac to communicate with home (we are both PC people). Much frustration later, we went off to Venice Beach. We found a small parking lot which charged us $15 but we could stay until 5pm so at least we didn’t have to worry.
We then hit the Boardwalk; a hippie, artsy and colourful stretch by the beach. There were the standard, quirky shops and stalls but there were also artists, musicians and street performers dotted in between. We got very excited at the prospect of an American Apparel outlet store but sadly the discount was only small. Happily though, the shop next door offered more backpacker-budget-friendly prices so I treated myself. Thinking I was travelling for months with only one bag, I thought I needed practical, loose, plain clothing that packed down small. Now I was in LA, I wanted something that felt more normal. After some perusing, we found some lunch. It was expensive but we’d saved enough on clothes to justify it! Happily, my card worked fine (it had played up in some places). Next, it was beach time. There was a recreation ground with tennis courts, a gym (aka Muscle beach), basketball courts and a skate park which drew quite a crowd. We watched some skating and caught some rays.
We returned to the house for a lovely, homemade roast dinner before a trip to Cold Stone creamery where you could customise your own ice cream. It was intense. Eventually, I managed to pick out a flavour: chocolate ice cream, chocolate chips, brownie pieces and cookie dough. I was in heaven, it was a good choice. We took it back to the house and ate it in front of the telly. Being under 21, night time activities were somewhat limited, but nothing could beat that.
The following day saw the sun out in force and we spent the day with my travel buddy’s family, before it was time for us to say goodbye to them and to our lovely stay in LA. We’d been very lucky.
Soon enough it was time for us to leave for San Diego. After a breakfast at Le Grande Orange in Santa Monica of English muffins and a wander to the beach, we were on our way.
We had wanted to stop off at Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach on the way and we programmed the sat nav but predictably we got lost and ended up going in circles, so we decided just to head straight there, with only a stop off for petrol and Starbucks.
Again we were staying with more of my travel buddy’s family, so we all headed out for dinner together in Little Italy. We went to Filippi’s Pizza Grotto. The menu was perfect for the indecisive diner (aka me), as it provided the option to have two half dishes in one (I think I went for something like lasagne and meatballs) which was very tasty. The portions were so big that we all had to ask for doggy bags.
On our way back, we drove along the river where boats-turned-museums were moored and which was lined by sculptures made by the college students. It was lovely at night. We crashed in front of the telly when we arrived home and were treated to cake with strawberries and whipped cream which was so good, I was able to force it down into my already overfilled stomach. I was one happy foodie.