I’d initally thought, y’know, about 3-4 posts would be adequate to cover my American adventures. PAST ME, YOU ARE WRONG. In total, I took around 1500 photos somehow. Yikes. Okay, most were where I took the same shot six times to make sure I had a good one and probably around 100 of them were of deer. But still.
So, I’m gonna split this business down into the areas/cities of America I visited, which serves the purpose of a) not boring you guys to death with the longest posts in history and b) giving good ‘content’ for anyone who wants to visit a specific bit of the U S of A.
I’m starting off with Santa Monica.
Actually, that’s a lie.
I’m starting this off with the GORGEOUS super Instagram-friendly breakfast I had at Carluccio’s in Heathrow. Because I turned up mega early for my flight and thought I’d treat myself to a bit of sustenance in the form of Eggs Benedict before taking on 11 hours of plane food and gin. Oh, and a bellini. Because when you’re on holiday, bellinis at 7am is TOTALLY ALLOWED.
Despite what all the dirty-lookers around me may have thought.
Once I’d arrived in LAX, almost cried over not being able to find a shuttle bus, spotted a celeb that I’m pretty sure was Cara Delevigne being followed by some paps, jumped in a taxi and arrived at my hotel to freshen up, I was ready to EXPLORE.
As it was quite late in the afternoon, I didn’t really have time to go into Central Los Angeles (LA is SO HUGE guys) so I went for a bit of a walk. And had a Japanese-infused mega awesome hot dog at Humble Potato, which is getting its very own post later on. Then got on a bus. And ended up in Santa Monica. ADVENTURES!
I pretty much took to Santa Monica really quickly – it felt smaller than the behemoth of Los Angeles but still with plenty to see and do. One thing I picked up on pretty early on is how clean it is – no rubbish bags tossed out into the streets or cigarette ends littering the pavements. Streets were lined with trees, and a pedestrianised street running through a few blocks with restaurants and big name shops, one of which hosted my first ever visit to Sephora. An honour, obviously.
One of the major tourist destinations in Santa Monica is the famous Santa Monica pier – and being the tourist nerd that I am, it was one of my first stop-offs. Due to it being a weekday in April with less-than-summery weather, it wasn’t as rammed as I’d have expected it to be, so I could take in the sights at a bit of a leisurely pace. I passed on Bubba Gump’s Shrimp and took a little stroll, taking in the sea views, buskers and dodging the effing huge seagulls whereever possible.
It’s definitely the kinda place I could have seen teenage me hanging out if I’d been born on the other side of the pond, and despite being touristy as heck REALLY, there were still plenty of locals hanging out on the benches and doing some fishing.
On my jaunt down the pier, I came across an old-school seaside arcade and just had to go in – giving myself a ten dollar budget to have as much fun as possible. I actually got so much joy out of just playing along with the arcade games on my own. Growing up in a small seaside town, the arcade was the place to hang out when you weren’t old enough to sneak your way into the pub yet. Although I didn’t QUITE recreate my youth to the point of smashing out some DDR on the dance machine, I loved playing around on the old, slightly worn-down games.
I ended up getting ridiculously invested in playing ‘Down The Clown’, where you basically throw balls at lit up clowns. So either dreadful or perfect if you have a clown fear.
Anyway, I spent far too much time playing this, got quite good, and ended up winning lots of tickets, then giving them away to a family hovering near the prize counter. Because, really, does an adult in her twenties with limited suitcase space REALLY need a plastic snake? Plus, getting all the karma points in the direction of me, hopefully.
At the end of the pier, I found a little gift shop and picked up a 99cent magnet as my first souvenir – and also dug an English fiver out of my bag to go on their wall of currencies. Obviously, with me being the social media dork that I am, I left my travel hashtag, #millyfornia. Along with a shoutout to my wonderful gang of travel-loving best gal pals – you can see all our travel pics together on Instagram using the hashtag #bangarangtravels!
I’d actually spotted the row of beachfront houses from the pier, but had to walk over to get a closer look (and feel slightly paranoid that a crazy American would come running out and yell at me for taking pictures of their property). But seriously, HOW amazing is this cute little house? Made even more amazing by the fact that the owner must wake up every morning, step onto their balcony and have an incredible view of the ocean. And fall out of their front door on a weekend in swimwear and sandals for a beach day, with no pee-in-the-sea dramas needed. Seriously, this is actually my dream home. Someone buy me one?
On the way back up, I also just HAD to get a picture of this sign. Because Yellowcard. (Alright, so the original song is actually about Jacksonville, Florida…but this one’s close enough, right?)
For my first dinner of the trip, I was drawn in by the bright lights and exciting, fun decor of Barney’s Beanery. Booth tables plastered with pop culture icons and a wall of hub caps honouring the historic Route 66 – this definitely looked like my kinda place. Although it was most definitely food o’clock, I was still quite full from my earlier hotdog adventures so just went for the chilli cheese fries. Which was a good shout, as the plate was HUUUGE. Really tasty though, and the homemade chilli was just great. I also ordered up a super strong cocktail, and had to decline a second one through fear of forgetting how to get ‘home’ that night…
After dinner, I was definitely feeling the effects of a long-haul flight and busy day exploring, plus I’d planned to get up early the next day to fit in as much LA sightseeing as possible. So I toodled on over to the nearest bus stop, jumped aboard and rode back up to the hotel. After some Instagramming and catching up with things from back home, I fell into one of the best damn sleeps I’ve had in a long time.
Next up in my America posts: jumping aboard the open topped buses, Los Angeles rain in Beverly Hills, and a hell of a lot of photospam. Stay tuned!