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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Pacific Coast Highway – Stop 1 – San Francisco 

I’ve been extremely lax in updating this blog about the adventures I’ve been having whilst in NZ.  To make it up to you I’m finally getting around to blogging about my recent PCH (Pacific Coast Highway in California) road trip for those of you who follow me on Inst (86Kates) or Twitter (@justagirl08) here are the stories behind the pictures.

As little background information I did this two week road trip with my wonderful Mummy who I hadn’t seen since April last year.  She flew in from London, I flew in from Wellington and it was so lovely to see her and felt like no time had past It was also my Mum’s second time doing this particular road trip she and my Grandma had done it in the 80s so for her it was interesting to see how things had changed in 30 year.

We had 3 nights in San Francisco so our first full day was spent shopping – when in America – we hit all the Union Square shops and got some good bargains in the morning.  Then we sent the afternoon down at Fisherman’s Wharf which was heaving, this was my third trip to San Fran and I had never seen it so busy down there. It was obviously a lot busier than my Mum remembered but we still had a good wonder, saw the Sea Lions and my mum tried some of the Clam Chowder (I don’t eat meat or fish).

Our second and last full day in San Fran we got our tourist on and did an open top tour of the city, to get around as I wanted to do the bridge and my Mum wanted to go to Sausalito a city just over the bridge where we stopped and had a coffee.  It was a really fun day we got to learn a bit more about the city drive over the Golden Gate bridge and see Sausalito which is a beautiful little city just the other side of the bridge, where you get stunning views over the bay to San Fran, and obviously not forgetting ‘The Rock’ that is clearly visible in the middle of the bay.

Our next stop was Monterey.

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North Island Road Trip Day 6:

We spent a few days in Wellington, on the first morning we went to the National Museum Te Papa, it was massive 7 levels of exhibitions everyone I’d met had said they loved Wellington and Te Papa is a must when there.  We spent hours in there it was interesting as they exhibitions on all the Maori culture along with exhibitions about the first settlers in New Zealand from Europe and had a time line right up until modern day kiwis.  

My favourite exhibition was a photography one which was an insight into Kiwi life in the late 70s/early 80s and some of the cultural events that happened during the time.  The photos were immaculate and really did give you a snap shot of life at that moment. All the other stuff was interesting as well and there was even a test to see how well you’d have done as a British captain bringing people over from Europe, I did pretty well in that maybe I’ve missed my calling in life?

That evening we decided to go up to the botanical gardens which involves getting a cable car.  The cable car journey was pretty fun it went through a couple of tunnels which had light displays as the cable cars passed through.  We were aiming to get up to the top for Sunset but got there just after though, which was a shame.  The views from the top were absolutely stunning though, you could see right out over the harbour.

Wellington is nick named windy Wellington and it lived up to its name when we were in the botanical gardens it was freezing at the top.  A guy from the hostel came with us and told us there was a free concert in the gardens somewhere, we could hear it but couldn’t find it which was a bit of shame, so we decided to head back down to the city as we were cutting it fine to catch the last cable car back.