Discovering Santa Monica, Hollywood and Santa Barbara

This was the week we were waiting for. After we finally found a place to stay and rented a car it was time to use the rest of our summer vacation to travel. We decided to take a road trip along California State Route 1 from Los Angeles to San Francisco. We chose to drive up Route 1 instead of taking Interstate 5 because stops along California’s coast like Big Sur and Cambria offer incredible ocean views.

Our first stop was Hollywood. We walked down Hollywood Boulevard, visiting the Walk of Fame, with the stars representing different celebrities on the sidewalk. We also went into the Kodak Theater, the home to the Academy Awards, which we had only seen on TV before. Another nice spot is the Chinese Theater because you can compare your foot and handprint to those of celebrities imprinted in the cement.

The most impressive part of West Los Angeles was driving through Beverly Hills and seeing the houses of celebrities that we recognized like Jennifer Aniston, David and Victoria Beckham and the Hugh Hefner. Afterwards we made a quick stop on Rodeo Drive, to do some window-shopping and admire the great designer clothes, before we continued on to Santa Monica.

You can spend a relaxing day walking around Santa Monica’s small shopping streets in the downtown area. You shouldn’t miss going to the famous Santa Monica Pier where different TV shows have been shot. There are little booths, a Ferris wheel and many places to get something to eat on the Pier. This is just a very typical touristic place. The beautiful, wide beaches of Santa Monica are worth setting aside some time to relax.

The next stop was Venice Beach, known for its extraordinary people and Muscle Beach. Walking down the Promenade you’ll see all kinds of people ranging from the normal tourist to muscular men working out right on the beach.

That same night we drove up to Santa Barbara which took us about two hours and spent the night in a Motel 6 (www.motel6.com). We decided to stay at Motel 6 because it fit our rather low budget. We had dinner at one of the many restaurants that you can choose from. Santa Barbara has a European village character with its many unique stores, its art and restaurants. Walking through Santa Barbara you get a very similar feeling to being in an old town in Europe. It’s full of people walking, not as many cars driving by and one store next to the other, with little restaurants sticking out in between. We definitely recommend visiting Santa Barbara since it was one of our favorite places, because it reminds us of European culture and of home. Next week we will continue with the second part of our journey to San Francisco.

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