Pacific Coast Highway Stop 4: Santa Barbara

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Pacific Coast Highway Stop 4: Santa Barbara

Both my mum and I had been to Santa Barbara before, she had loved it me not so much so we were both curious to see how we felt about it second time around.

On the way down from Pismo along another beautiful stretch of the PCH we stopped off at Solvang a random Danish village right in the heart of California, that had been originally created by some Danish pioneers in the 1700s,  It was pretty touristy, but had some cutesy souvenir shops and we had a nice traditional Danish lunch in one of the restaurants. Definitely worth stopping at in you’re in the area.

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We arrived in Santa Barbara to beautiful Southern California sunshine,late afternoon on what happened to be the Summer Solstice.  We decided to have dinner at our hotel as the restaurant overlooked the water so we could see the sunset over the pacific on the longest day of the year.  It was so worth it (see picture above) mother nature put on an amazing display.

The next day we decided to have a wonder along the pier and the waterfront, it had changed a lot in the 4 years since I’d been there and in the 20 years since my mum had been it was a lot different. There was a Sunday market which had some cool artsy nick nacs which is how my mum remember Santa Barbara being like very arsty (think all those artsy types are now in Venice) it’s pretty up market these days.

Our second day we decided it was time to hit the shops and see if State street had changed much, it hadn’t apart from a few different shops, it was still as Spanishy and beautiful as we both remembered.  It’s not very often these days that you get reminded that California was once a Spanish colony but parts of Santa Barbara and State Street especially make you feel like you could be in Spain.

Day three was a beach day to make sure we perfectly tanned ready for the last stop on our road trip Santa Monica.

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.