A relaxed schedule today, mainly sightseeing around the place and ending @ Santa Monica.
Kids were not rushed to wake up, me and Vik headed down to Hollywood Blvd Starbucks to get our morning Coffees & Chai Latte fix. Back in the apartment time to get everyone sorted and ready for the day.
Like every morning in this apartment, Vik had bollywood music running on the TV, it was great having ROKU TV, every morning a different hindi filmi stream.
Me and Meeta worked out the optimal route on google maps on what sights to see and in which order – this was essentially the same itinerary the other tour operators were using, since we already had our own BUS there was no need to use them!
First stop of the Day, the Griffith Observatory, it had a good vantage point to view LA and the Hollywood sign.
The Griffith Observatory is sitting on the south facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. It was about a 30 minute drive from our apartment.
With a clear day, it was a perfect setting for viewing Downtown LA and the Hollywood side of LA. Stayed up there for over 30 minutes.
Next on the list was Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. Driving down from the Observatory, Vik took the scenic route, a bit longer but much better views. It was well worth coming here.
Navigated our way to Sunset Blvd heading towards Beverly Hills. Aaria & Pooja were getting a bit hungry, stopped by at McDonalds, we all decide to grab a quick bite there.
Back on the road, drove through a few suburban Beverly Hills streets, lots of large houses with manicured gardens and lawns. It did put my lawn to shame . And then it was Rodeo Drive.
Did not hang around there too long, could not risk the ladies going shopping here !!
Arrived at Santa Monica just after 2pm. Drove around for a bit to get our bearings and the best place to park.
Found a car park that had a clearance of atleast 8feet! Vik drove the Van in and moving on to the second level I noticed the ceiling significantly lower that what it was when we entered, not a problem for normal cars but definitely an issue for our oversized VAN. Quickly stopped and looked around, there was a sign stating ahead was only 6 feet clearance! U –turn in a tight spot, Vik was having fun maneuvering our large vehicle , heading down again, we were in luck, someone in the lower levels (in the 8 feet clearance area) was just vacating a spot, parked in there! Now to explore the place.
First to the Third Street Promenade, an open air mall for foot traffic only.
Ladies got excited with the opportunity for more shopping, me and Vik along with the kids headed our own way. It was visiting candy stores, Converse stores to see how you can order you own custom printed shoes, Guess store and finally at the Apple store, Vik wanted to check out the apple watch, still not sure what the big deal about that watch is. At the Apple store we noticed a new tool which our Soccer boys may be interested in!
Met up with the ladies, the Promenade was done, now to head to the Santa Monica Place (another mall) for afternoon tea and cakes! Found a small french patisserie in the open area – UGO Café, had an amazing Chai Latte and Cheesecakes! Just the right afternoon pick-me-up! Kids opted for the Gelato. Ladies were soon gone to explore more shopping opportunities….again! Me and Vik hung around with the kids, roaming about.
This also gave the kids a good break before our walk down to the Pier. Ladies joined us just after 5pm, we all headed down to the Pier. We were hoping to have dinner on the Pier @ a Italian restaurant recommended by Deepa Jamnadas.
Onto the Pier, it was a Carnival atmosphere, lots of people, stalls, rides, food and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. The Italian Restaurant was open which we were hoping to go to, made a reservation for 7pm, giving us an hour to explore the Pier.
Headed to the restaurant, was so good to simply walk in and not have to wait! Restaurant was called “Ristorante Al Mare”.
Got a great table with views to the ocean and the Sunset!
Food was very good, everyone enjoyed it that night!
Time to head back, tiredness was creeping into kids
Loaded everyone back into the VAN, headed back home via Sunset strip, we wanted to do a drive by and see what it was like at night.
Passing that, it was quite a let down, not many people and not many restaurants/pubs, in comparison our apartment was in a more buzzing area! From all we had heard, the Sunset Strip was supposedly a very buzzing place!
Back in the apartment, it had been a good relaxing day, not much running around, this time our VAN was doing all the running around!
Tomorrow our LAST FULL DAY in LA