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Old 4 Mar 24, 04:59 PM  
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Travelling From Coast To Coast August 2023: Day 9 - Beverly Hills, Academy Museum and The Rainbow

Day 9: Tuesday 15th August 2023

Today was our last day in Los Angeles (for now) as we would be heading out to Disneyland the following day. After the absolute high of yesterday, today did not start off so great as unfortunately Mat and I were hungover. I don’t usually get hangovers unless I drink wine, which I rarely do and certainly hadn’t in this case, so I’m putting it down to not drinking enough water with my alcohol the previous evening. I usually drink loads of water every day and being on the tour and then at the gig, I had failed to do so.

The plan for this morning was to drive to Beverly Hills for breakfast and then hike Runyon Canyon in Hollywood. The girls didn’t want to get up and certainly didn’t want to hike, so we decided that just the two of us would go and we’d bring breakfast back for them. Honestly, (my) teenagers make me laugh; too worn out to go to the gig last night so they had an early night and then having had way less sleep than us (and obviously no alcohol), we were the ones up at 6 am to get back out there while they protested they were ‘too tired’.

We got ready and set off at around 6.30 / 6.45 am. We were heading for Chaumont Vegan bakery which opened at 7 am. As it was early, we hit the rush hour traffic on the way to Beverly Hills but once we were there, the streets were quiet as obviously nothing was open at that time. We managed to street park right outside the bakery.

Chaumont Vegan has a ‘normal’ bakery next door, Chaumont, so we would be able to get Freya something non-vegan. But first, we were focused on what we wanted to eat that might help with the hangovers. I’m not really a bakery person and definitely don’t have a sweet tooth so it was always going to be something savoury for me.

We ordered egg and cheese croissants with dukkah (vegan egg and cheese obviously) and Mat got an Americano with oat milk. The staff member asked if we were eating them here. We said we were so she said to take a seat and she’d bring the croissants to us. We went outside to one of the pavement tables. There was a group of construction workers at one of the other tables but other than that there was no one else around. It seemed to take ages for our croissants to be heated up and arrive but it possibly just felt that way because we were desperately in need of the grease.

The croissants were good. And they seemed to be just what the doctor ordered so we decided to get another one each to go since we had to go back in and get food for the girls anyway. This time we went for ‘ham’ and cheese and both got coffees. I had a black Americano and Mat had another oat milk Americano. We texted the girls to ask what they wanted and in true Seren fashion, she struggled to decide. Our bad for not giving her the options when we first arrived so she could have had time to think about it. We definitely do not always ace being parents of a child with ADHD. It ended up being a whole thing where we were trying to order with the staff member while Seren was texting and going back and forth. In the end we got her both a strawberry croissant and a pain au chocolat. While Mat sorted out the vegan order, I popped next door to the non-vegan Chaumont and got Freya a cinnamon twist and a chocolate croissant. While conversing with Freya about what to get her by text, she informed me that Seren had spilled most of my expensive nail oil in the hotel room. Excellent news.

Once we had all the goodies, we got back in the car and tucked into our second croissants. I couldn’t finish a second one so I had about half and then handed it to Mat for him to polish off. We were feeling a little better after eating. When we were all done, we popped the address of the car park we were aiming for in Hollywood into google maps and set off.

The car park, which was a church car park I’d seen suggested on Reddit, didn’t give us great vibes when we got there. It was an open wasteland kind of thing, with lots of trash. What I’ve learned from the Los Angeles Reddits is that locals don’t like paying a lot of money to park their cars to do things and fair enough. They’d rather park somewhere a bit sketchy but free or cheap. But for us as short-term tourists with a rental car and the inconvenience we’d have if something happened to it, we decided just to fork over the $$ to park at Ovation (Hollywood and Highland) again which was only a few minutes away.

Being early still, the parking garage at Ovation was much quieter than when we’d previously been here a few days before. We parked up and headed out onto Hollywood Boulevard. The entire ‘handprints’ area outside the Chinese Theater was completely closed off as they were setting up for the Blue Beetle premier. So my second attempt at getting a photo of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s handprints for my ‘La La Land sights’ collection had failed. We’d now been unlucky with the area being shut on both our visits this trip although the first time it had just been the right hand side of the handprints area that wasn’t accessible.

I did get a decent photo of the Slash star on the Walk of Fame because Hollywood Boulevard was quiet.

But I also failed at the second attempt with getting a photo of the Olivia Newton John star as she was also roped off. Mat did get one of John Travolta’s, the much less iconic half of the Grease duo.

I plugged Runyon Canyon into google maps and we headed up North Orange Drive onto Franklin Avenue. There were some nice apartment buildings up here and I thought once again that Hollywood isn’t as ‘bad’ as people say it is. I know that’s a huge overgeneralisation and we weren’t here at night and didn’t venture far in Hollywood itself but, yeah, I liked it.

We stood at the pedestrian crossing at the intersection with La Brea Avenue for what felt like ages.

Then when we got to the crossing at N Fuller Avenue it would have been comical how long we had to wait if it wasn’t for our hangovers. Eventually the lights changed for us and we crossed and continued along Franklin for a few moments until I realised google maps was having a mare and we actually didn’t need to cross N Fuller in the first place but should have turned onto it to access Runyon Canyon instead. Hilarious.

The apartments up by the entrance to Runyon Canyon looked really nice too. I know there’s an issue with parking up here though as people want to drive up to the entrance of Runyon Canyon and park right in the residential area. The walk was supposed to take 19 minutes according to google maps but it definitely took us at least another five with all the waiting around at traffic lights.

We walked through the gates of Runyon Canyon. It was pretty spectacular and despite having been in Los Angeles over a week at this point, I was still finding it surreal that the mountains just kind of exist behind the busy streets. One of the many things I love about this city. We took a few photos and then looked at the hiking trail way up high in front of us. I said to Mat that I didn’t think I could manage hiking the trail with my hangover. We agreed we would put it back on the list for next trip instead.

We walked back down onto Franklin and Mat got a good photo of The Magic Castle.

Walking back to the car took longer than it should have, again because of how long the various traffic lights took to change in favour of pedestrians (it seems LA really is a car-centric city).

But eventually we were back at Ovation where we made a quick restroom stop, and then we left the car park to drive back to the hotel.

Back at The Montrose, we had texted the girls just before arriving to tell them to come down and meet us at the car outside. They ate their pastries in the car pulled up outside the hotel which was preferable to having to drop off the car with the valet again and go upstairs to meet them. Freya ate both her pastries but Seren only fancied the pain au chocolat. Mat ended up eating the strawberry croissant for breakfast the following morning.

Pastries consumed, we all set off for a little (well big) drive. The plan was to drive part of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Mulholland Drive and stop at a couple of the overlooks and some sights I had on my list. The girls were very on board with that as they’re at that teenage stage of loving just driving around and listening to music.

Our first stop on Mulholland Drive was Mulholland Scenic Overlook. The views were beautiful and we took some photos.

After that we made the decision to not do the full route I had planned. We still weren’t feeling one hundred percent, and Mulholland Drive is not the easiest road to drive with all its bends and high elevation. Mat was not loving life driving up there. Also, we’d realised a few days before when we’d found ourselves on Laurel Canyon Boulevard that it’s not the quaint, quiet street I’d always pictured. As we’d headed up it today, it had been full-on traffic both ways. I’d guess people use the canyon roads to avoid the 405 and the 101.

So instead of continuing along Mulholland to the next overlook, we went back the way we came in the direction of the Canyon Country Store in Laurel Canyon. There was no way we were missing visiting that as it was important to both Mat and I but I also had another must-see spot (for me) close to the store / cafe in Laurel Canyon so we decided to just do both and then move on.

I think we attempted to park at the Canyon Country Store initially but there were no spaces so we went back up the hill a little to the other must-do spot first. The place we were visiting is an address on the incredibly busy Laurel Canyon Boulevard. We made the decision to turn down the residential side road right next to the property and I would just jump out while Mat kept the car running. I asked Freya to come with me which she wasn’t over the moon about as she is a teenager and therefore would always choose sitting in the car and listening to music over walking 100 yards and back but she knew how important it was to me so agreed to come.

We were here to visit - well, be in the vicinity of - The Mansion, which is a property that is owned by producer Rick Rubin (or was, I can’t find out definitively whether or not he still owns it). The house has a recording studio in it and is where my favourite album of all time, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, was recorded. I’ve known about The Mansion for pretty much as long as the album has existed, 33 years, so it was first on my list of places to visit on my first LA trip as an adult (well second after Thunder Road from Grease.)

Obviously as The Mansion is a private residence I knew I would only be able to get as close as the sidewalk outside but that was fine with me, I just wanted to breathe in the air where the best album of all time was brought to life. I reminded Freya that her favourite band (and my second favourite band) My Chemical Romance had visited The Mansion and had tea with Rick Rubin in the early 2000s so this pavement was important to her too.

The side street we’d parked in was called Tianna Road and Tiana is the name of one of our four cats so we all got a bit sad thinking about how much we missed them. I try not to think about them too much while we’re away whereas Freya likes talking about them all the time. By the end of our 26 days away, they were the one reason I was ready for the holiday to end.

Anyway, Freya and I turned onto Laurel Canyon Boulevard. It was evident which one was the property I was here for because it’s so private and discreet.

From the road, all you can see is driveway entrance / exit gates at either end of the huge estate plus a pedestrian gate in the middle. The house is concealed by thick, tall bushes all the way along Laurel Canyon Boulevard. We basically walked along the sidewalk to the other end of the property, and all the while I was snapping photos of the bushes like a crazy person.


At the other gate I took a photo or two and then we went back to the car. I was extremely happy to have been there.

The pedestrian gate as snapped from the car:

We drove back down to Canyon Country Store and missed the turning for the parking lot so had to go around the building and parking lot for a second attempt.

There were now a couple of available spaces in the car park so we crossed our fingers that would still be the case by the time we had driven around again. Luckily there was still a space free when we finally made it into the parking lot.

Continued below...
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