Saturday morning and we set off along Sunset Boulevard to Chateau Marmont for brunch.
Built in 1927, Chateau Marmont has a history of appealing to writers and artists with several celebrities suffering illness or death in connection with it. Brunch seemed relatively safe so we sat on the lush outdoor terrace and enjoyed the ambience and the delicious food. (www.chateaumarmont.com).
Leaving Chateau Marmont feeling replete, we drove down Hollywood Boulevard passing Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (www.chinesetheatres.com), the Walk of Fame, Madame Tussaud’s, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and other famous landmarks. Hollywood looks a lot better these days than it used to but is definitely too touristy for my taste and so we decided to press on.
It was at the Griffith Observatory that we finally came to a stop. High up in the Hollywood Hills above Los Feliz, the observatory gives one of the best views of the city and only from there is it possible to truly appreciate the sheer expanse of the urban sprawl. Endless miles of streets stretch below, east from Downtown to the ocean and as far as the eye can see. And the great icon of LA, the Hollywood sign overlooks it all.
We sat for a long time absorbing the view, appreciating the rural setting of the observatory set so close to one of the largest urban sprawls in the world.
|Hollywood sign, Hollywood Hills|
Leaving the observatory we braved the LA freeways, heading north on the 101 to Topanga Canyon. Driving back through the winding canyon, we could see even more of the suburban sprawl in the form of the San Fernando valley. The Valley as it’s known, extends for miles into the foothills of the surrounding ountains and was the inspiration for such classic and memorable films as “Valley Girl”.
Winding through Topanga Canyon, the hidden community is a throw back to the Sixties as old hippies congregate and life moves a little more slowly.
Emerging at the bottom of the canyon, we turned left on to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and, feeling a little peckish, headed to Santa Monica to the Border Grill, a contemporary take on Mexican food. After a margarita, some guacamole and black bean empanadas we were ready to move on to the next social event… dinner at Lia’s (www.bordergrill.com).