Pacific Coast Highway Stop 5: Santa Monica

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Pacific Coast Highway Stop 5: Santa Monica

Leaving Santa Barbara heading down the PCH to beautiful Santa Monica my favourite place in the states and the last stop our trip was bittersweet.

Our first stop in L.A. was the Hollywood sign, as the last time my Mum went it was missing an O so it seemed only fitting that we make a trip up through the hills to check out the sign.

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We arrived fairly late in Santa Monica so we headed out to Third Street for some food and a wonder, it was so nice to be back in Santa Monica.  I love the promenade it’s always so buzzy, I especially love the street performers the ones third always seem to have a unique angle to others around the world.

The next day I convince my Mum that we should hire some bikes and cycle down to Venice.  I wanted to see if it had changed in the three years since I’d last been and also to see how it changed since my mum last went.

It had changed a lot even in three years, there were a lot more homeless there and a lot less street vendors than usual.  It still had a good vibe though and I got a few cool souvenirs.  There wasn’t anyone at Muscle Beach this time, which was a shame, I love watching the guys working out there makes me feel like I’m properly in L.A.

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Our second full day was spent on third street, literally shopping until we dropped.  With a few stops at the many Coffee shops on third street to reenergise before we headed back out and spent some more money.  My best purchase was a pair of personalised Converse from the Converse shop, not sure where else you can get them so I always make sure to stop off there.

I also made a stop at my favourite shop on Third Brandy Melville another only on third street store that is a must for anyone who love their clothes a little bit quirky and original.

Our last day we went down to Malibu and had dinner in this amazing restaurant where the pacific was literally outside the window, I could see the waves crashing as I ate my dinner.

This was the night of Brexit so we got taxis down and back from Malibu and surprisingly for American’s they knew what was going on and how the vote was going.  Mum and I were sat in the restaurant looking at the results coming through in a little bit of shock.  It suddenly got more expensive in to be in the States.

All in all we had an amazing time, it was so good to spend some quality time with my Mum in my favourite place and get some Summer, New Zealandswinter is fairly harsh especially in Wellington when you add in the wind chill.

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Auckland:

I flew into Auckland and 

On my first full day I met up with a girl I’d met in LA a few years ago who’d always offered to be my tour guide if I was ever in Auckland so I took her up on her offer.  

She drove me round to some beautiful little bays on the Eastern side of Auckland, you can see the difference between Oz and New Zealand, there are a lot of little islands in Auckland’s harbour one of which is dormant volcano! Although Auckland is actually on two harbours just to one up Sydney, so there is water everywhere in the city, the water is the same as Oz beautiful turquoise and the beaches are beautiful white sand as well.

The next couple of days were seeing the sights of Auckland.  I went up to the sky tower which is the tallest building in Auckland, it was a bit of a spur of the moment thing but I got there in time for sunset, but unfortunately it was too cloudy to see the actual sun which was a shame, but it had great views of the city.

On the Friday evening I met up with Tamlyn another girl I’d met in LA who also offered to be my tour guide, she picked me up early and took me to one of the most famous sites in Auckland one tree hill, although a Maori got angry and cut the tree down so it is no longer one tree hill.  

The views from the top were amazing though and you could literally the weather fronts moving in off both harbours, luckily we were in the middle so missed the rain.

Next stop was Mount Eden it’s another Auckland landmark and you can see it from most places in the city.  Once we got up to the top I learnt that Mount Eden is an extinct volcano, you can still see the crater -middle bit- which is now all covered in grass, you aren’t allowed to walk down into it, but I think you still get a sense of it from above. There were 360 views from the top as well, luckily by that point the storm and blown over and it was lovely sunshine! I’m learning that you never quite know what the weathers going to do here because of the two harbours and all the mountains.

After mount Eden we headed to the Auckland museum where I got to see some examples of  the Maori art work which as really interesting.  I also saw a simulation of what would happen if Auckland dormant volcano were to erupt, it was pretty scary actually defiantly an eye opener. The museum has some beautiful gardens so we wandered around those before heading down to the harbour to get some dinner.