Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wonders of The Golden West Part 1..........

Hold on to your seats whilst I take you on our Tour of the Golden West. (Click on photos to biggify)

We flew out to Los Angeles on 29th August for a 16 day tour taking in Scottsdale, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Fresno, Sonora, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Lompoc and lots of places inbetween.

From the airport we were transferred to our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, formerley known as the Hollywood Heights hotel.    Our first evening we spent exploring the Highland Shopping Centre on Hollywood Boulevard, which was a short walk from out hotel.

We found a real ale bar where we had a meal, and of course some real ale, before retiring for the night, we were quite exhausted after our 11 hour flight and had to be up quite early the following day for our tour of LA.

The following morning we met our Tour Director, Allen and bus driver, Bob,

and boarded our coach to start our tour of LA.

Our first stop was the Farmer's Market

where we had breakfast of bacon and egg

and MWM couldn't resist a doughnut to follow, with a cup of coffee.

After a walk around the market we boarded the coach again for our first stop on the tour La Brea Tar Pits the worlds most famous Ice Age fossil excavation site and its bubbling asphalt lakes, right in the heart of LA!  

After excavation the Ice Age remains are taken inside the Page Museum

where the best fossils are on display.

Next on the tour was


with it's posh shops

its iconic sculpture

The "Torso" by Robert Graham, which was built in 2003, and made out of aluminum. It was being cleaned when we passed.

We also passed Los Angeles Police Department and County Jail

where Hugh Grant was taken after his arrest for his 'indecent conduct' with Divine Brown on

the famous 'Strip', where we drove past

"The Viper Room", which used to be owned by Johnny Depp and was where River Phoenix met his end.  We drove past this amazing building

 The Disney Auditorium

 The Los Angeles Times building

before stopping at Olvera Street, the oldest part of downtown Los Angeles, where we saw the old Plaza Church (Mission)

the market

and Avila Adobe, the oldest standing residence in LA.

a fascinating insight into life in the 1800's in Los Angeles.

Back on the road again we saw the Capitol Records Building

which was saved from demolition by public outcry.   Our last stop on the tour was Madame Tussauds, where we got to take photos of us posing with some of our favourite stars.

MWM managed to get a shot of me with the HOLLYWOOD sign in the background.

Did you know that HOLLYWOOD was originally called HOLLYWOODLAND and was first erected in 1923. Its purpose was to advertise the name of a new housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles.  In 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce began a contract with the City of Los Angeles Parks Department to repair and rebuild the sign. The contract stipulated that "LAND" be removed to spell "Hollywood" and reflect the district, not the "Hollywoodland" housing development.The Parks Department dictated that all subsequent illumination would be at the cost of the Chamber, so the Chamber opted not to replace the light bulbs. The 1949 effort gave it new life, but the sign's unprotected wood and sheet metal structure continued to deteriorate. In 1978, in large part because of the public campaign to restore the landmark by shock rocker Alice Cooper (who donated the missing O), the Chamber set out to replace the severely deteriorated sign with a more permanent structure. Nine donors gave US$27,700 each (totaling US$249,300) to sponsor replacement letters made of steel, guaranteed to last for many years.

We had opted for another behind the scenes walking tour after the coach tour and met our guide at  Grauman's Egyptian Theatre.  We went inside the theatre but unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photographs. The Egyptian Theatre was the venue for the first-ever Hollywood premiere, Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks, on Wednesday, October 18, 1922.  In 1927, Grauman opened a second movie theater further west on Hollywood Boulevard. In keeping with the public fascination in that era with international themes, he named his new theater the Chinese Theatre. Its popularity eventually rivaled and surpassed the Egyptian because of its numerous celebrity handprints, footprints and signatures in the cement of its forecourt.  

We also visited the Chinese Theatre and took some photos of the footprints and handprints.

We also saw the Dolby Theatre,where the Oscars are held

and photographed the famous staircase but there was no red carpet for us that day.

This is the ceilinginside of the El Capitan Theatre.

In this photo of Hollywood Boulevard you can see the El Capitan Theatre on the left hand side (click on photo to biggify).  The sign was changed to Muppet Theatre for the film 'The Muppet Movie'.

In the left in the far background is the Roosevelt Hotel, where Marilyn Monroe was discovered, she was a resident at the hotel for two years when her modeling career took off. Her first magazine shoot was taken on the diving board on the pool behind the hotel. The hotel is said to be haunted by various Hollywood stars, including Marilyn.

See the hotel behind the palm tree in the next picture?

Do you recognise the fire escape on the front of the building?   That's the fire escape Richard Gere climbed to get to Julia Roberts at the end of the movie 'PrettyWoman'!

Well that was the end of our tour of LA/Hollywood so all that was left to do was to go get showered and changed and go eat dinner, after which we retired to bed (early) in preparation for our onward journey the following day.

I hope you enjoyed our first days in LA and hope you'll join me for Wonders of The Golden West Part 2.


Beach Bum said...

Great pictures!

As for Beverly Hills I hear there are some very strange animals living there.

I see they did William Shatner with a tight stomach and a full head of hair. Can't get too close to fact for him, it would ruin teh character of Kirk.

Went to a Star Trek convention in the late 90's where James Doohan spoke. The stories he told about Shatner were a riot, and no, the original Scotty did not like him at all.

Valerie said...

I enjoyed the tour, Pearl, and all the information that went with it. I feel I know the place now. Loved ALL the pictures, and isn't that Disney Auditorium fantastic? Can't wait for the next batch of pics. Trusting you've settled down to normal life now...grins.

Daryl said...

what fun .. tho i have to wonder about Marilyn haunting a residence she didnt die in ..

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

lovely start to a wonderful trip!

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

Some 'characters' live there for sure Beach! I never liked Shatner.

Glad you enjoyed the pics and words Valerie. The disney Auditorium is a fantastic piece of architecture. We've caught up on our sleep now thanks. x

I thought that too Daryl but apparently Marilyns reflection is often seen in the mirror in the room she used for three months, maybe the hotel held good memories for her.

Indeed it was Bee x

Winifred said...

What an amazing set of photos? Who was the first woman in the Madame Tussauds photos?

A Lady's Life said...

Boy you had a wonderful time !!We always have a great time when we go to Cali.
It's one of our most favorite places to visit.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I lived part of my childhood in the Bay Area and we used to take camp at Tahoe. Love that area.

Travis Cody said... sure got to see a lot of stuff in a couple of days.

Dan's Fi-ver said...

Great pictures, Mum. Looking forward to seeing more! x

Akelamalu said...

That's supposed to be Jennifer Aniston Winnifred!

Oh yes we did indeed Lady's Life!

Lucky you SAW, Lake Tahoe was amazing.

We did Trav and there's lot's more to come!

Dan when you call round you can see the whole 600+ if you want. LOL

Ron said...


*thunderous applause*

What a faaaaaaaaabulous tour post, m'dear!

Can you believe I live in the U.S. and yet, have NEVER been to Hollywood? In fact, I've only been to the west coast once, and it was Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe.

Your photos are AWESOME! I especially love the one of you in front of the Hollywood sign! Yes, I knew at one time it read HOLLYWOODLAND, but didn't know the history as to why they changed it to HOLLYWOOD, so thank you for sharing that info.

Holy cow, the photo of MWM with Jennifer Aniston blew me away because it REALLY looks like her, as well as Eddie Murphy and you!

Terrific post! Can't wait to read part 2!

Again, fabulous post!


Akelamalu said...

Oh Ron you would adore Hollywood, you must go! We loved Lake Tahoe, in fact we absolutely L.O.V.E.D. it all! I have so many photos to sharem, it's going to take me weeks to blog about this trip, I hope you enjoy it all. xx

Melanie said...

Wonderful pictures!! I loved my time out there and one of these days, I might just make it back there!!

Akelamalu said...

We enjoyed every minute Melanie but we won't go back, there's too many other places to see in the world. :)

CrystalChick said...

It certainly looks like you got to see many interesting things on your trip. Great photos and information.
I didn't know who MWM was posing with but from the comments I see it's Jennifer Aniston. I guess it looks like her now that I know. The eyes, yes definitely, but something about the mouth threw me off I think.
Looking forward to more photos!

Mama Zen said...

This looked like an amazing trip!

Cloudia said...

WOW! Excellent post. Hooray for Hollywood

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Maggie May said...

That must have been a fabulous holiday. You took some lovely photos and thank you for showing us your trip.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Dianne said...

you look great with Eddie Murphy :)

I love the Capitol Records building

I've been to LA twice and didn't see this much
you go girl

Gledwood said...

America looks dazzlingly clean and bright. The buildings look almost like film sets, kind of semi-unreal... is that what it feels like being there..?

Thanks for your message:

It's my friend. In a mental unit. She's not doing my head in, but the unit is. It's making me feel depressed!

Mike Golch said...

Now that was fun! thanks for taking me along,even if it was just by viewing the photos that you guys took.

tony said...

HA! STAR TREK !!Brilliant! Thanks For sharing these great photos & good to see they beamed you back safely!

Pam Johnson said...

wow, you really did see a lot just in two days. some of these places i have been to, but some of the others i haven't. never been to rodeo drive or the la brea tar pits. i don't know if i could go down rodeo drive...would probably drive me batty lol looking forward to your next installment :) btw there was actually a special about the hollywood sign on the telly not long ago, that's how i knew the story. it's a pretty interesting one. i love the capitol records building...that's how you KNOW you're in L.A. :)

Pam J. said...

:O didn't realize my whole name would show up when i commented lol i haven't commented on blogger blogs in so long :/

Akelamalu said...

Oh yes we did Crystal Chick. The Jennifer Aniston model wasn't very good in my opinion.

Yes indeed it was Mama Zen

Glad you enjoyed it Cloudia x

We did see a lot Maggie and there's lots more photos to come.

I like the Eddie Murphy photo too Dianne. The beauty of an organised tour is that you get to see so much more than you would organising it yourself I think.

It is very clean and bright and yes, you're right Gleds, it does all seem a bit like a film set, especially in LA.

I'm so pleased you enjoyed the photos Mike x

The Star Trek set was cool Tony, glad you enjoyed it.

You should go see the tar pitts next time you're in LA Pam, they're really interesting. We only saw Rodeo Drive from the coach, no time for shopping unfortunately.

Winifred said...

You're right. It didn't look much like her. Her hair looks so tatty & it always looks so gorgeous in the photos. Never mind those other places look great. That Disney building is so striking.